Cornish's BFA in Film, launched in 2015, recognized the college’s decades-long incorporation of film across the disciplines. The actor Brendan Fraser for example, went on to star in blockbuster films and TV series; Colleen Atwood took her work in painting and made an important career as a costume designer in films from The Silence of the Lambs to Into the Woods.
With this new degree pathway you can pursue all aspects of filmmaking, from narrative film—including fiction and non-fiction—to experimental work. As in any discipline, the majority of your time is spent in making. You will have the opportunity create short films by yourself and to work with a larger crew, and graduate with a portfolio of work that showcases your range of talent.
Courses include narrative production, sound acquisition, editing, writing for the screen, and the first-person essay film. At Cornish, filmmakers collaborate with actors, scenic designers, costume designers, and art directors.
Real-world opportunities are folded into the program, moreover, including embedded internships in Seattle’s creative community and local film festivals, and even journeys abroad, to the South by Southwest Film Festival.
Letter from Chair Lyall Bush
"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to."
The Film program provides students the opportunity to make work in narrative film (which includes fiction and non-fiction) and experimental work. Using all the tools available to them – cameras, lights, sound recording – and learning the history of film as a language and as a story of visionary innovations, students will learn to write screenplays, storyboard, direct, frame, photograph, edit, and create soundtracks for original films. Each will graduate with a portfolio of work that includes pieces made individually and as part of a crew.
The newest art form depends the most on the histories and practices of many other disciplines. Bend aspects of theater and you arrive at film writing, lighting, blocking and acting; turn music in new directions and you find the route to film scoring; think through the history of light in paintings and you are a cinematographer; through the lens of dance we see how Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Raoul Coutard, and Greta Gerwig make their moves.