Ole Miss BFA Film Production Major

By: Abbey Edmonson

The Department of Theater and Film at Ole Miss has started a new program during the 2018 fall semester for a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, or “BFA Degree,” in Film Production.


This major is the first of its kind in this region, and it is focused on teaching cinema production rather than only cinema studies.  A group of thirteen students make up the first group, or “cohort,” to claim this 4-year major. The cohort will take the same classes together and create a thesis-style short film during their last two years.  


Alan Arrivee, the head of the BFA in Film Production, said that the use of cohorts is to benefit the students both while they are in school and after they graduate.  He said, “One of the reasons for cohorts is because success often happens through groups rising versus individuals rising.”


Vivian Francis, a 19-year-old film production major, said “Filmmaking is a fundamentally collaborative process, so being able to work with people reliably is crucial to our success in the future.”


The creation of this major took several steps, beginning with brainstorming several years ago, and ending with the department officially changing its name from Department of Theater to Department of Theater and Film.  Arrivee said, “We very recently had a lot of discussion and voting on various small issues, leading to the final decision in this department to really change focus and start representing all aspects of theater and film.”


Anna Hill, a 21-year-old film production major, said, “I had stage 4 ovarian cancer a couple of years ago, and movies were the only thing that allowed me to escape from my treacherous reality at that time… I’ve delved into acting and writing in the past, and I think if I’m gonna do either of those two things in the future, it’s really important that I know all the different factions of filmmaking because it’ll make me a much more proactive actor and writer at the end of the day.”


Arrivee said that there are several plans for the future of this major.  He wants to hire an additional professor for sound design. The department will also be moving into the former Baptist Memorial Hospital, now called the South Oxford Campus Facilities, in order to expand next year.  


Arrivee said, “I think this is going to be a known program in a larger sense very soon because there isn’t that much offered on that scale in this area.  The fastest growing commodity on the planet is the moving image.”