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Global BFA in Film Art Graduates First Cohort

students pose in front of French building
Members of the first cohort of the Global BFA in Film Art. Photo courtesy of Samantha Garzon ’22

This story is excerpted from “A World of Film,” published in the online-only Summer issue of Expression magazine.

Two weeks after graduating from high school, as his friends in Los Angeles were just kicking their summers into gear, Isaac Harris ’22 was “shipping off to Boston” to begin an international adventure that at the time, he couldn’t fully appreciate.  

Harris was part of the first cohort of students to enroll in the Global BFA in Film Art (GBFA): a unique dual degree program from Emerson and Paris College of Art (PCA) that combines filmmaking, fine art, and the liberal arts, spanning three countries on two continents.

Following a commencement ceremony in Paris in May, members of that original cohort were back in Boston for the last time this summer, putting the final edits on their thesis films, before heading off to put their singular—and singularly international—artistic vision into the world. 

man films on Paris street
Filming on the streets of Paris. Photo courtesy of Isaac Harris ’22

“I think [that artistic vision] shows in the movies that we’ve produced as a class in the last three years,” Harris said. “There’s a lot of experimental work. There’s a lot of work that is questioning the structure of film and questioning the relationship of the filmmaker to the audience—a lot of really avant garde work, to use a French expression. If I had gone [solely] to Emerson, if I’d have gone to USC, my work would be totally different.”

The partnership between Emerson and PCA, though complex, is rooted in former President Lee Pelton’s vision of a “borderless campus,” with students getting the value of an Emerson education, compounded by the intellectual and creative benefits of living and studying abroad.

The Global BFA in Film Art was the first of three “Global Portals” Emerson currently operates with other institutions: Global BAs in International and Political Communication and Business of Creative Enterprises (BCE), as well as a combined BA/MA, with Franklin University of Switzerland; and a Global study abroad partnership with International College of Management, Sydney.

Read the full story at Expression Online.

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