We are preparing to launch the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Steiner Studios, the first public graduate school of cinema for New York City, and the only school in the country situated on a working film lot. Scheduled to open in fall 2015, the school was formed with the objective of providing affordable access to career opportunities in cinema while providing a pipeline of diverse talent to the industry. It is the result of an extensive public-private partnership involving notable Brooklyn College alumni, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Steiner Studios, the New York City Council, the Brooklyn Borough President's Office and the City University of New York (CUNY).
To date, the college has raised more than $21 million for the project, which includes a leadership gift of $5.5 million from Barry R. Feirstein '74; significant contributions from alumni Don Buchwald '59, Roy Furman '60, Jules Haimovitz '71 and Michael Lynne '61; $6.7 million from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment to develop a Made in New York Center for Digital Arts in the new school; and $3 million from the City Council and the Office of the Borough President.
As a brand-new school conceived and inaugurated in the 21st century, both the curriculum and facilities have been designed to prepare students in digital media. Construction of the facility is well under way, and in August 2012 we welcomed a distinguished and experienced founding director, Jonathan Wacks.
"Jonathan Wacks embodies two things: He brings the practical skills that we want, but he also brings the educational background," says Maria Conelli '80, dean of the School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts at Brooklyn College. "Anytime you're launching a graduate program, it's truly critical that the person heading it has these two qualities."
Wacks has served as the chair of the Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College for the last three years and has spent 20 years in the film and television industry, where he was a producer of the cult classic Repo Man and was director of the television series 21 Jump Street.