Film Studies gets Hollywood help

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A film studies class is getting real-world experience working with author/screenplay writer S.E. Hinton and Hollywood director Ed Ornelas.

The students are producing films based on short stories by Hinton, a TU alumna who wrote The Outsiders and Rumblefish. They are filming in downtown Tulsa and even on campus, where they transformed a dormitory basement into a somber prison visitation room.

film studies

Working with TV and movie pros


Student film-makers are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet and learn from some entertainment industry insiders.

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Ornelas (Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice), a friend of Film Studies Professor Jeff Van Hanken, flew in from California to help the students direct a key scene. "When I was a film student, I had a lot of questions about what it was like to work on these large-scale shows," Ornelas said. "And having lived in L.A. for 15 years now, I'm able to come out here and hopefully share some of that experience with the young filmmakers."

Ornelas said he was impressed with the students' abilities and enthusiasm, and he complimented the university on its commitment to the film studies program. He said the equipment and facilities were top-notch and give TU students a great starting point to launch promising careers.

film studiesThe students were appreciative of the opportunity to work with high-level professionals in the television and movie industry. "We're here in Oklahoma, so we don't get a lot of L.A. people coming down to see us and want to film here," said junior Bailey Ardies, who is producing one of the short stories. "So any time a movie comes to Oklahoma, and we get to work with somebody, that's really exciting for us."

Director Tim Hunter, who has worked on TV projects including Pretty Little Liars, Glee, Dexter, Saving Grace, Mad Men, House M.D. and CSI, also was scheduled to work with the class on the Hinton stories. Van Hanken said allowing the students to collaborate with entertainment industry insiders is great experience and builds their confidence as well as their résumé.