You learn by doing. That old axiom still holds true today. Film student Sam Baer recently took that advice to heart by opting to make a day-in-the-life movie to illustrate what it’s like to attend one of the nation’s premier visual arts schools.
Sam is enrolled at the Academy of Art University located in the heart of one of America’s most vibrant and cultured cities, San Francisco. His approach to making his documentary was to leave nothing out. That meant recording the moment he rolled out of bed to crashing back to his mattress at the end of the day.
Sam’s film presents a stimulating portrayal of his rigorous but fulfilling class schedule. It documents the rich and textured environment of the school grounds, facilities, fellow students and the ancillary amenities that is the unique cultural milieu of San Francisco’s diverse culture. Employing the artist’s dictum of “show don’t tell,” Baer draws his viewers in and portrays attending the Academy of Art University as an enriching experience that demonstrates what it’s like to be learning at one’s “dream college.”
The venerable institution was established in 1929, and it is the only privately-owned art institution in the United States. It’s founder, Dr. Richard Stephens, was an accomplished painter and served as the creative director for Sunset magazine. The Academy of Arts University is still operated by the Stephens family today. It enrolls more than 5,000 students.
What has made the Academy of Arts University among the most successful institutions of higher education in the nation is its policy of hiring instructors who are not just “book smart,” but professionals who have achieved recognition in their respective fields. That means if a student, like Sam Baer, is studying experimental filmmaking, his teachers will have made significant contributions to that art.
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