Film Professor at UMass Amherst Wins Equipment Grant Worth $350,000 from Panavision/Kodak

AMHERST, Mass. - Students in an advanced film production course in the University of Massachusetts communication department will work with a top-of-the line motion picture camera plus lenses and accessories this spring, thanks to an equipment grant worth $350,000 from Panavision/Kodak.

The equipment will be on loan to the University during the spring semester and will be used to prepare students for careers in the motion picture industry.

The Panavision/Kodak University Outreach Program Grant was awarded to C. A. Griffith, a Five College assistant professor of film/video production who teaches in both the University''s Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies and at Smith College.

Griffith is an independent filmmaker/videographer and one of the first black women in the film industry to work as a professional camera assistant and cinematographer. Her credits include "Eyes on the Prize II," "Juice," and "A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde." Most recently, she directed a feature film, "Del Otro Lado," which is currently in post-production. She is also currently co-directing and producing "The Angela Davis Project," a documentary series on women of color as cultural workers.

Students enrolled in Griffith''s course will work with a Panaflex camera for two weeks, beginning with a two-day seminar taught by a representative from Panavision''s New Filmmaker Program. Later in the semester, the students will learn about motion picture film stocks from a Kodak representative. By the end of the course, they will produce a group film, 10-15 minutes long, based on a script selected from an open competition. (Actors and writers interested should send queries and scripts to Griffith, c/o the UMass film studies program in South College by Feb. 5.) All the film stock used in this production will be donated by Kodak as part of the grant.

"This grant is particularly exciting since the UMass Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the year 2000," says Catherine Portuges, program director. "This grant shows that in less than a decade, our program has come to rank among the top film studies programs in the country."

Panavision/Kodak will present a plaque to the UMass program at an as yet unspecified date early in the semester. The film studies program was also awarded smaller product grants from Kodak in 1992 and 1995. Other recipients of the equipment grant include UCLA, New York University''s Tisch School of the Arts, and the University of Michigan.