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University of New Orleans

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<p> <strong>Attended</strong>: present<br> <strong>Recommend</strong>: Yes <p> I'm a third year undergraduate here at UNO. I've worked on over two dozen films, three of them my own. When I'm enrolled in a production course, I've got access to a 10,000 sq.ft. soundstage with props and flats already built, grip truck with generator, Steadicam, Arri SR, AVID, Sound Forge, complete digital audio workstation, and now they're adding a motion capture facility to go with their 3D graphics/animation stations. I'm in hog heaven. The tuition is cheap--and I'm out of state! I've been reading comments about other schools on this site and realize that the kind of cooperation between film students and teachers that's normal here is not that normal everywhere. Maybe it's just New Orleans. Maybe I shouldn't be writing this. Then everyone else will find out the best kept secret in film schools. <p> --------<br> <strong>Note</strong>: <em>This review was auto-imported from an older LOAFS database. A "Yes" recommendation has been translated into a rating of ten. A "No" has been translated into a rating of one</em>.<br> -------- <b>Review Submitted by:</b> Hog in Heaven (unverified)
Rating: 
10

Comments

Hi my name is Carlos I going to study there this fall semester. You can help with some questions? capuleto_28@yahoo.com

My score: 10.

My name is Kevin Hughes, graduate student at the University of New Orleans in my second year seeking an MFA in film arts. I transferred from LSU to the university in 2004 to start my studies in the film program; one of the best moves I could have made.

I found when coming to UNO that the film program was in rapid expansion and had many plans to obtain new gear and post production facilities. Soon I was graduating with my BA in 2007, and at that point had seen most all of the said plans be put into effect, and had been involved with some 20 or 30 different student film productions. Each film gave me the chance get some real production experience that I consider at this point and invaluable set of opportunities.

I found the UNO Filmmakers along the way; a student run filmmaking club closely associated with the film program and its professors. In the club I was able to work with other students and graduate students to write, produce, shoot, and edit a new film each semester. The club allowed us to use the school's equipment for the shoots, and the amount of filmmaking going on was remarkable. At this point, the surprisingly free club only had about 15 to 20 members and shot once each semester. Now days, there are some 70 members, and 2 films shot each semester. There are even more chances now to get experience than before. I have been able to work in the club as a member, student representative, secretary, vice president, and am now president of the club. Each semester has been more exciting than the last.

Currently all of the plans for improvements have been implemented, and I have been able to take full advantage of all of it as a filmmaker. Just recently yet another round of improvements has been put into effect, and I'm already seeing those changes happen and loving it.

I am now fully trained on all of our grip and lighting gear, stedicam, jib arm, dollies, film cameras, HD cameras and post production workflow, writing, producing, directing, sound recording and designing. I am working with the latest versions of Avid Media Composer software, in conjunction with AVID unity ISIS, and finishing my films in HD or 16mm film in either an avid Adrenaline or Nitris DX. For my thesis, I plan to take full advantage of our brand new full loaded grip truck, the NIMS center studio where I will have access to an avid Symphony Nitirs suite and full HD color correction, and last but not least - I will be working with a network of people that I have met in my time here that are just as enthusiastic about making films as I am. These times have been the greatest of my life, and I only see it getting better as the years go by.

UNO Professors are truly some of the best mentors one could hope for through this creative process. They give you the chance to choose your own path for training so that if you are really interested in one particular subject of filmmaking you can take more classes that focus specifically on that. What’s great though is that the cross training is offered so that you can customize your own education.

There is even a class offered called Spring Film that allows for students to work all together on larger scale production, much more closely resembling that of a professional set. We did a feature film last year, and this semester we are doing 3 separate shorts. There are often working professionals brought in for us to learn from and work with.

If you’re thinking of coming to UNO to learn about filmmaking, you’ll be making a wise choice. I highly recommend it. My first hand experience here, I can attest, has been one of the most fulfilling and challenging enjoyable experiences one could hope for. I’ve said a lot, but I still feel that I’m leaving so much out…

-Kevin Hughes

First of all, I was an MFA student at UNO. I love Kevin Hughes whose review is below, and consider him a close friend, but we disagree on this issue.

Let me preface this by saying I had a 3.95 grade average, was president of UNO Filmmakers, directed an award-winning spring film for the department, and played a small hand in helping start the UNO Film Fest (although Kevin was much more integral in that!). I say all this to explain that I'm not a "sour grapes" or "F" student who couldn't hack it, I was a huge supporter during most of my time there, and forgave a lot of what I saw happening.

Professors were frequently unprepared for class, the hands-on part of the syllabus was often abandoned for lack of preparation on professors' parts. Only 2 out of around 10 MFA students in my grade decided to complete it -- and none of them within a year of when they were supposed to graduate.

I once caught a professor bad-mouthing me to another grad student with his office door open as I was walking by the office. I later called him out on this and was told I better watch what I say. He then demoted me from my position managing the media center without being able to tell me a single thing I had done wrong.

I eventually had to report my professor for misconduct for letting me make a 96-minute feature film over the course of 2.5 years then being told out of the blue at my defense that I was failing and not even allowed to defend! It turned out professors had not watched the 3 preview cuts of the film I'd delivered them over the course of those years, they were "too busy."

I was told I could make a whole new film at my own expense of around $10-15,000 (and without loans since I was no longer a full-time student)! Initially, I had been told they weren't allowed to grade me on the artistic quality of my film, so I guess I was being graded on its politics (which my professor made abundantly clear he disagreed with).

I mentioned that they had passed some much worse films in my time at UNO, professors even agreed with me. One giggled sheepishly. They wouldn't say specifically why mine was being failed, but its my opinion that politics played a role (my thesis chair was fond of discussing his Christianity and right-wing politics with students).

All I wanted was a chance to complete my degree -- even at my own expense -- but by the time I saved money to return my first semester's credits were about to expire. So, the university would have to approve my re-entry -- which they chose not to, despite my good record. They said whatever I was taught by them years ago was no longer relevant in the industry -- as good a reason for not attending UNO as I can think of!

We were assigned thesis professors, rather than given any input on our thesis committee. It's a very top-down, authoritarian department with a lot of politics, and my experiences trying to take the issue to the university lead me to believe the whole university is structured that way. The number of graduate students who proceed to graduation on-time are almost non-existent, and there are a really high number who decide not to graduate at all because of the departmental BS.