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Film School: Digital Opens Doors on a Global Cinema

See how global film trends will affect your filmmaking school experience.
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Digital Opens Doors

film camera lens superimposed over map of world

If you have a passion for world cinema, this is one of the most exciting times in the film industry.

Rapidly developing advances in digital technology have made filmmaking more portable and more affordable and given underrepresented filmmakers around the globe the opportunity to make movies where there have previously been no—or very limited—resources and funding available.

With this advent, students in the United States and cineastes attending film festivals around the country and in Canada are being treated to films from countries with new stories to tell—and ways to tell them.

The Impact of U.S. and European Film Is Changing

Cinema has long been influenced by dominant markets, such as the United States and Europe. Think of how this must appear to say, Asian or Latin American countries, whose cultures are very different than what has been presented in dominant market films. Our stories are different from their stories, and at its purest heart, that's what film is about: telling a story. How does this affect how they see themselves in the world?

But with the impact of digital technology, more and more stories are starting to emerge from lesser-seen film industries. Africa, Serbia, Croatia, Russia, and South Africa are becoming more prevalent in American and European art houses and film festivals. In India, independent filmmakers are bucking Bollywood's influence and returning to the roots of Indian cinema as defined by films from legendary Indian directors such as Satyajit Ray and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Even the 2022 Indian-Telugu film, "RRR," directed by S. S. Rajamouli, achieved global recognition by thematically casting off western Colonialism and embracing its own—and it won an Oscar for best song.

Conversely, we're getting access to stories apart from our own, and this lends to a healthy interchange of ideas, cultures, and more diverse stories that bring an awareness of what is happening in other parts of the world.

What Does It Mean for American Film Students?

What does this mean for U.S. filmmaking school students? If anything, these changes are positive for students. Students may continue to make indie films in their hometowns across America, but a strong global market may offer the opportunity to work abroad.

Film students should consider the following:

  • Study abroad programs
  • International film internships
  • Foreign film industry employment, in production or in the business angle of film production

As filmmakers in underrepresented countries begin to garner attention globally, their governments may begin to invest in and fund their filmmaking and grow a healthy, vital industry. And this presents more opportunity for all filmmakers to work using digital technology anywhere in the world they find a good story to tell.

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