“The Film Studies Program at Wesleyan made such an enormous impact on my future career in film. Courses on the history of the western, comedy, and auteur directors taught me to look at film on many different levels—as historian and critic, as audience member and lover of the movies. Studying and appreciating the history of film rather than only learning the technical art is what makes the program at Wesleyan particularly strong. Understanding character, story, lighting, editing, camera work, music, acting—essentially understanding the spirit and collaboration behind making a great movie—is what makes good future writers, directors, producers, actors, editors, and even film executives.”
—Trea Hoving, acquisitions executive at Miramax from 1989–1997
“When I encounter a fellow Wesleyan grad, it doesn’t tell me they’re talented or they’re artistic; it tells me they know how to think. I know that a Wesleyan alum is going to be open-minded, passionate, and articulate. Additionally, the Wesleyan people I’ve worked with as writers, agents, or producers have all been far more concerned with the creative product than the financial product...a rare commodity in Hollywood.”
—Jon Turteltaub, director of Cool Runnings, Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, and National Treasure
The success of Wesleyan’s Film Studies Department is evidenced by the way it inspires its students to incorporate what they learned as undergraduates into the rest of their lives. More than 400 Wesleyan graduates have careers in the film industry. Many others continued their study of film on the graduate level and now teach Film Studies themselves. Others are archivists, journalists, or entrepreneurs. All carry with them the critical skills and love of cinema they developed at Wesleyan.
The Wesleyan alumni network is exceptionally strong within the film industry. Alumni continue to work together long after they have left Wesleyan, offer internships and entry-level positions to recent graduates, return to campus to speak with students and show their work, and tirelessly support the Film Studies Department in myriad ways. It is through the generosity of the alumni and their families that Phase I of the new Center for Film Studies opened its doors in September 2004, and Phase II opened in 2008.
Pete Binswanger '11 talks about his experiences working in Los Angeles one year out of college.