UNCW's Film Studies Program Enjoys Blockbuster Success

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When it comes to filmmaking, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is on geography's good side. In addition to being mere miles from the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River, Wilmington is home of EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest studio east of California.

A recent article in USA Today highlights the advantages UNCW's film studies majors have by attending a university nestled in "Hollywood East." The program's 280 majors get to start making movies as soon as they declare their course of study. Students create more than 500 motion picture projects in 22 production courses each year. With 80 local internships each year, the department has the largest internship program in the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences.

After graduation, UNCW film majors find ample opportunities in both "Hollywoods." Gavin Dorman interned at New Line Cinema before getting his master's in entertainment business at Full Sail University. He moved to LA and worked for Vertigo Entertainment, the company that produced "The Ring" series, "How to Train Your Dragon" and the "The Lego Movie." This year, Dorman formed his own production company and is now developing several projects.

Caroline Roberts has been the personal assistant to Oscar-winning director Rob Marshall since she graduated in 2008. She interned as an undergrad for The Weinstein Company in NYC. When Marshall was looking for some help on "Nine" he went down the hall to The Weinstein Company and inquired about an assistant. She got the job and jetted off to London in August to work for Marshall, then on to "Pirates of the Caribbean 4," and now his latest: "Into the Woods," with Johnny Depp and Emily Blunt.

Adam Gilbert founded Blueberry Creative, a company in Wilmington that specializes in high-end wedding videography.

"When we educate students, we're investing in what they do with that education after they leave UNCW," wrote current film studies chair Dave Monahan, in an Op-ed for The [Wilmington] Star News. "Local businesses and the talented, creative people who run them have helped generate and populate a multi-layered community of motion picture professionals and artists that mentors and employs still more emerging filmmakers."

"The Longest Ride," based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, is currently being filmed in the Wilmington area. Popular television series "Sleepy Hollow," "Under the Dome," "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill" all called Wilmington home as well. As the film production scene continues to unfold in the Port City, the UNCW Film Studies Department is poised to continue to not only benefit from, but contribute to the local professional film community.