Lights, camera, action: Johns Hopkins film program expands to new space

JHU/MICA Film Center in Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District houses state-of-the-art production facilities

When the fall semester begins today, students taking classes in the Johns Hopkins Program in Film and Media Studies will be the first to make use of the university's brand new, state-of-the-art production facilities housed in the historic Centre Theatre.

The JHU/MICA Film Center, part of the university's growing presence in Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District, greatly expands the resources offered by the program and its partnership with MICA's Film and Video program. JHU's Film and Media Studies Program—which is part of the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences but attracts students from the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute who are interested in sound, audio, and film score courses—will also maintain a presence on the university's Homewood campus.

"Students can now have access to everything they need to make professional films from their first day at JHU," says program director Linda DeLibero, "all in a collaborative, creative space that celebrates the art of film—history, theory, culture, practice—and that brings together undergrads and grad students from these world-class institutions."

The 18,000-square-foot JHU/MICA Film Center occupies the second floor of the century-old Centre Theatre building, which opened in 1913 as a car dealership and operated as a theater from 1939 to 1959. The renovated building is now also home to the nonprofit Baltimore Jewelry Center and the future offices of video game developer Sparky Pants Studios. In addition to offices for both Hopkins and MICA faculty, the Film Center includes:

  • A 49-seat screening room, capable of presenting both digital video and 16mm films.
  • A 600-square-foot sound recording studio—designed by JHU Professor of the Arts Thomas Dolby and Peabody Institute Director of Recording Arts and Sciences Scott Metcalfe—that includes a smaller booth for vocal dubbing and foley mixing.
  • A 2,000-square-foot cyclorama green room soundstage, which is large enough to accommodate set building and studio shooting (previously most student films relied on location shooting).
  • A film room, which houses the 16mm Steenbeck film editing table.
  • Dedicated individual high-definition editing suites, a computer room with 25 Macs, an equipment cage, classrooms, and lounge and meeting areas.

Additionally, the Homewood-Peabody-JHMI shuttle has added North Avenue stops to its northbound and southbound routes.

This semester, the center also welcomes the first students in the Film and Media Studies Master of Arts degree program. Ten students make up this inaugural class, and program director Roberto Busó-García has put together an impressive roster of working film professionals as instructors, including:

  • Screenwriter Jeremy Pikser (who co-wrote Bulworth with Warren Beatty)
  • International acquisitions consultant Erica Motley (also an executive producer working on the Tom Hardy television mini-series, Taboo)
  • Veteran film and television assistant director Ricardo Méndez Matta (A Better Life, Homeland)
  • Eileen Rodriguez, vice president of legal and business affairs at Tribeca Enterprises

Busó-García and Peabody's Metcalfe will also teach classes as part of the program.