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Ben Rodriguez '05, a graduate of the T.I.M.E Department at The Cleveland Institute of Art, has been accepted into the competitive MFA program that educated Academy Award winning directors including Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Ang Lee.
Ben Rodriguez ‘05, a graduate of the T.I.M.E Department at The Cleveland Institute of Art, has been accepted into the competitive MFA program that educated Academy Award winning directors including Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Ang Lee. Rodriguez was recently accepted to the only graduate program he applied to, the very exclusive Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Rodriguez, from Middleburg Heights, is planning on following his filmmaking passion in studying documentary and narrative films. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Tisch's MFA program in film accepts only 5 percent of applicants for an annual incoming class of 36 students. It is one of the nation's leading centers of undergraduate and graduate study in the performing and cinematic arts.
"The application process was rough," Rodriguez said. "I had to go through committee after committee and interviews before I found out if I was in or not." The application process seemed intimidating, but fitting for the three year program of this magnitude. Rodriguez filled out a general application, submitted a time- specific digital portfolio, wrote a two- page dialogue script, a one- page thesis idea, and a four-page synopsis of a four minute silent film set outdoors.
Initially not knowing what to major in, Rodriguez took an interest in film during a Video Basics class offered at the Institute. He discovered that the Institute had the equipment and the software for editing and creation of short films. "I learned that you can make films very easily. You don't need a big budget, crews or 35mm cameras. All you need is the camera, the computer and the software," he said. After that, he started using film in every project that he could during his classes at the Institute.
Provost Nancy Stuart's Studio Lighting class Rodriguez also found to be particularly useful. He discovered that he could treat photography like films, and that lighting could create mood and character in a still image. He used this tool to help create his BFA project creating a 12-minute documentary of his brother-in-law pretending to be a boxer. "I used still images and created a documentary. No one knew that it was my brother-in-law. Everyone thought I was documenting the life of a real boxer."
Both excited and nervous about his upcoming endeavor, Rodriguez says that it wouldn't have happened without the help of some key professors at the Institute including an Art History teacher from Alabama who so graciously wishes to remain nameless.
The Institute wishes Ben the best of luck!
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