SFTV | The spotlights are shining brighter on the School of Film and Television. Two weeks after a blockbuster arrangement with Netflix was announced, Movie Maker magazine ranked Loyola Marymount University’s SFTV as No. 1 for industry access, and the Hollywood Reporter again ranked the film school in the top 10 in the nation.
Having the Hollywood Masters series available to Netflix’s global audience will have a positive impact, says SFTV Dean Stephen Ujlaki. “I believe we’ll get another bump in applications,” he said. “We will be more widely known than we are now, which is really a lot of the intent of the deal: to brand us as a global presence. President Snyder talks about global imagination and worldwide presence, and [the Netflix deal], in a nutshell, does that — they have global rights to this for five years.”
Since its inception in 2014, this series has provided LMU students and alumni with invaluable experience and access to some of the film industry’s top talents. Among the artists who have sat for an interview before an auditorium of students, faculty and staff are: Clint Eastwood, Jane Fonda, Michael Caine, Oliver Stone, Kenneth Branagh, Hilary Swank, Norman Lear, Sean Penn and Ethan Hawke. The production is crewed by SFTV students and alumni.
“We have a very international graduate program,” Ujlaki added, “and we’re becoming much more national as an undergraduate school, so this will just accelerate that trend.”
The Hollywood Masters series is a prime example of the access that was lauded by Movie Maker magazine. “When I came here [seven years ago], the rap on our film school was that we had no Hollywood connections,” said Ujlaki. “You know, ‘why would anyone come here, as opposed to USC or UCLA?’ or ‘what did we have to offer in terms of career help?’ Well, we just became ranked by Movie Maker as No. 1 in terms of access to Hollywood.” Ujlaki added that though the Hollywood connections are vital, SFTV teaches that there’s much more to filmmaking than what takes place in Hollywood; they aim to be as international as possible.
Being ranked No. 8 nationally by the Hollywood Reporter again for 2017 is another testament to hard work of the faculty and SFTV’s growing reputation.
Ujlaki sees the intimate setting of the Hollywood Masters series, and the interview format of the program, as important methods for the students to get behind-the-scenes insights into filmmaking. It also puts a personal touch on sometimes-distant movie stars who have opened up to the LMU audiences. “I think that adversity is often the key for the worldly success for the people we’ve had on the show,” said Ujlaki. “Clearly, when they talk about those moments in their lives, you can tell that has absolutely defined them in their minds” and the result can be therapeutic for both the subject and the audience.