fsuphoto3.gifWhen asked to describe the ideal applicant to Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture, Dean Frank Patterson replies, “You know the kind of person who is compelled to shoot photos from inside a crashing plane as it’s plummeting to the earth? We are looking for filmmakers who, even in the face of death, feel compelled to capture the human experience.” It follows then that FSU is a school whose reason for being is to fuel the passion of its students.

Offering both graduate and undergraduate programs in film production, as well as a minor in film studies and an MFA in professional writing, FSU is the only film school in the country that fully funds all films produced by its students.  This, Patterson explains, “create[s] a level playing field for students, so that they may focus on art, craft and imagination—instead of fundraising.” Now, with a program that has already been commended by the Directors Guild of America for its contribution to American culture, FSU is expanding even further with the creation of Torchlight Pictures.

Torchlight Pictures, which will be headed by a top New York distributor, will give FSU students the chance to learn the business side of moviemaking and get their work seen by a larger audience. While Torchlight will distribute student works, its primary function will be to provide hands-on-experience in the business side of moviemaking, as students work with faculty to actually distribute feature films that are picked up by the company. After all, notes Patterson, “A filmmaker who doesn’t understand distribution doesn’t understand filmmaking.”

For more information on FSU’s graduate and undergraduate film programs, visit www.film.fsu.edu.

Sound Off: FSU’s newest innovation is the creation of a distribution company to help students learn the business of moviemaking. Do you think that it’s key for students to learn about distribution while still in school, or is it better to simply focus on developing your own moviemaking style? Talk back in the comments section!