Students take advantage of new film school offerings

By Alex Pikturna

For the first time this semester, Cleveland State University’s School of Film and Media Arts (FMA) opened its doors to students. The School is located on the sixth floor of the Idea Center at Playhouse Square. With its proximity to Ideastream, Cleveland State’s Department of Theater and Dance and Playhouse Square, creative minds are bound to meet. The location has already helped cultivate professional opportunities for students. Ideastream, The National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, and the Owens Group have all reached out to the film school looking for students interested in internships.

“It’s great to have a space specifically crafted for us, and to be in the Idea Center where the Cleveland area PBS operates out of is especially exciting as it provides a lot of opportunity for the film students to collaborate with real-world professionals,” senior film student Andrew Ahlgren said.

Originally part of the School of Communication, the old broadcast-oriented program allowed students to learn many of the skills needed to work on a set, albeit one for a television show. Now, students have the opportunity to follow focused learning paths that concentrate on their desired field of study in relation to the fine arts.


“All of our classes are in communication with each other, so our projects will be collaborative, and each member can focus on the area of the film that their class is about—be it producing, directing, acting, editing,” Ahlgren said.

Accompanying the new facility is an entirely new curriculum, unique to the film school. Students will take 72 credit hours of classes before being awarded their Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Since the film school can be described as a film trade school, students can expect a number of tracks geared towards current industry demand. Students have the option to study: post-production, interactive media, acting and directing, cinematography, writing and producing and writing and directing.

The school is currently in phase three of its four phase plan, with additional audio suites, a 75-foot screening room and a hairdressing room all on the horizon. State of the art editing bays, 4k cameras, and two separate studios are all currently available for film students already.

“I’d like to see a focus on cultivating a community for film students. It would be great if there were some spaces in the film school where students can hang out and socialize—maybe add a small theater with a film library attached,” Ahlgren said.

While still in its infancy, the school is now home to over 300 students with 111 freshmen alone enrolled this semester. According to Director Lahey, the film school is looking for students who are “enthusiastic, hard-working and above all else, storytellers.” Students who are interested in learning more can call the School of Film and Media Arts at 216.687.5080, you can also email Valerie Temple at, or go to their site,