Boston University Launches Mobile-Phone Movie-Making Course

in College of Communication, Humanities/Social Science, News Releases
September 26th, 2006

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

(Boston) – With an eye on the future of movie making, Boston University has launched an experimental course in its College of Communication in which students are developing the esthetics and production methods for making films specifically for distribution on mobile phones and handheld devices.

Guided by award-winning director Jan Egleson, the production laboratory will conceive, write, product and edit 10 short “mobilette” narrative films during the semester. They will be distributed on Amp’d Live, Amp’d Mobile’s third-generation (3G) wireless entertainment service. Amp’d is providing camera phones and editing equipment for the course at BU.

“No one has figured out how to produce a long form narrative specifically for portable devices,” said Charles Merzbacher, chairman of the BU Department of Film and Television. “With its strong production program and rich intellectual environment, BU is the perfect place to explore this question. This is an attempt to broaden film students’ frame of reference beyond the two-hour feature or the one-hour TV serial and get them thinking about the shape of things to come.”

The course was created after 1997 graduate Seth Cummings, now senior vice president for content at Amp’d Mobile, approached Cathy Perron Eaton, his former professor and director of the BU television program. She suggested that the Film and Television Department offer a course that would be a collaboration between Amp’d and BU to both train students for such filmmaking and provide content for the Amp’d Network. Egleson, who has produced and directed feature films, television series, and concert videos, would teach the new course.

“As technology accelerates, so do the opportunities and challenges for filmmakers,” said Egleson. “This is an exciting opportunity for BU and its student filmmakers to explore a new frontier of film production, and to share their work on what will most certainly be one of the important distribution networks of the future.”

Los Angeles-based Amp’d Mobile offers traditional wireless services such as voice and text messaging, while substantially differentiating mobile data services with a user interface designed specifically for 3G content programming. The company aims its services to the youth, young professional and early adopter demographics.

Boston University, with an enrollment of more than 30,000 in its 17 schools and colleges, is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. The College of Communication has nearly 2,500 students enrolled in the Departments of Journalism; Film and Television; and Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations.

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