Navy Yard

Brooklyn College opening new graduate school of cinema at Steiner Studios

November 28, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A brand new graduate level school of cinema, operated by Brooklyn College, is opening at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard this September. Rendering courtesy of the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema

Only public grad school in nation on working film lot

Film students now have the opportunity to attend a graduate school of cinema located on a full-production film studio in Brooklyn – at about one third the price of a private university.

The Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, operated by Brooklyn College, is opening at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in September 2015. The school is taking 70,000 square feet in a totally renovated building at 25 Washington Avenue on the Steiner complex, where films like “American Gangster,” the Fox series “Gotham” and the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” are shot.

Feirstein is the only public graduate school in the nation to be “seamlessly integrated into a working film lot and the first public graduate school of cinema in New York City,” according to the City University of New York (CUNY).

Students will specialize in areas like screenwriting, directing, cinematography and other film-related disciplines at the new grad school. Feirstein will be accepting applications through Jan. 15 for the 2015-16 academic year. A school spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle that student interest is high.

The fact that Feirstein is located at Steiner Studios, the largest film and studio complex outside Hollywood, will offer an enormous advantage to students, assistant VP Jason Carey said. “This will immerse students in all aspects of filmmaking in a facility that is second to none, as well as provide students with a level of access to professionals working in the field and they might not otherwise have access to.”

“A film school, located on a film studio in New York City, and run by Brooklyn College, will be a distinctive institution that prepares students for today’s competitive entertainment industry,” founding donor and alumnus Barry R. Feirstein ’74, said in a statement. Feirstein is the founder of Feirstein LLC, an investment management firm.

“It represents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to be educated amid the very industry for which they are being groomed,” Douglas C. Steiner, founder and chairman of Steiner Studios, said in a release.

The film school is another sign of Brooklyn’s rising star as a center of tech and media. In November, Carnegie Mellon University announced an agreement with the city and Steiner to being a new master’s level Integrative Media Program to 16,000 square feet in the same building.

“New York City’s production industry has grown exponentially in recent years so it’s incredibly fitting that Brooklyn will be home to the first public graduate school of cinema to be located on a film lot,” Commissioner Cynthia López, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment said in a release.

The Navy Yard site houses soundstages, photo studios, post-production spaces, set-construction shops, wardrobe workshops and other spaces for TV and film production.

The school’s advisory board, made up of well-known directors, producers, and actors, includes actor, author, and director Ethan Hawke; directors Steven Soderbergh and Darren Aronofsky, actor/producer Fisher Stevens; and Emmy Award-winning producer Celia Costas.

Film credits of the school’s founding director, Jonathan Wacks, include producer of the cult classic “Repo Man,” director of the television drama “21 Jump Street” and the award-winning film, “Powwow Highway.”

Funding for the school is the result of a public-private partnership among notable Brooklyn College alumni, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Steiner Studios, the New York City Council, the Brooklyn Borough President, and the City University of New York.