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The independent filmmaking major addresses communication through digital storytelling. You'll begin with a foundation in communication principles and media production, followed by advanced filmmaking techniques as well as study in aesthetics and film theory.

Why should I study independent filmmaking?

Because of the increasing accessibility of digital technology, the barriers to entry in the film industry are falling. From cross-media storytelling to crowd-sourcing, the digital revolution has rewritten the rules for filmmaking.

Bethel University filmmakers are bringing fresh ideas and novel techniques to fill the ever-growing appetite for film content as well as serving the important role of advocate for stories in need of a voice. Independent filmmaking enables students to share their lives and the experiences of others through grassroots digital media.

What can I do with this degree?

This innovative major is designed to equip students for careers as independent filmmakers and for possible graduate study in the cinema arts.

  • Launch independent film productions
  • Create media content for corporations and ministries
  • Enter the mainstream cinema industry
  • Pursue graduate work in cinema studies or film production
  • Work within independent film production companies
  • Screenwrite for film and television

This degree pairs well with courses in film studies to help you explore the area of film criticism and film as an artform. 

What skills will I develop?

  • Ability to take projects from concept to execution to distribution
  • Techniques and strategies for producing projects with limited resources
  • Critical and creative thinking to solve problems
  • Screenwriting and storytelling
  • Understand the entire production pipeline including story development, writing, shooting, editing, and securing proper rights and licensing
  • Collaboration with small teams, outside vendors, and contacts
  • Ability to navigate the complexities of the film industry

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Gain real-world experience in Los Angeles

This major has been designed to encourage spending a semester at the LA Film Studies Center, where students acquire skills in creating, developing, and producing compelling stories through film. This off-campus program includes an internship in Hollywood.

Note: all students majoring in independent filmmaking are required to complete an internship at some point during their study. 

Benefit from hands-on learning

Several areas of Bethel Student Government need student filmmakers to produce the promotional videos for major events on campus. This provides great additional experience as you apply your studies, develop your craft, and make great friendships.

Learn from experienced filmmakers

Our professors are experienced teachers and have had many of their own professional successes. Most recently, Associate Professor of Communication Studies Nicholaus Swedlund's screenplay, titled JUNK, was a semifinalist in The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2017 competition. JUNK was also a top ten finalist in the FilmNorth Screenwriting Residency Competition (Minnesota) in 2017.

Academic Plans and Courses

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Bethel students have won more research awards at regional scholarly undergraduate conferences than any other university in the Midwest.

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