Augustana College alumnus, filmmaker moving company to campus
Successful filmmaker and Augustana College alumnus Estlin Feigley’s advice for Augustana undergrads is to obtain a liberal arts degree no matter what career they desire as he brings his company right onto the Rock Island campus.
The young entrepreneur’s Fresh Films is a nonprofit branch of Dreaming Tree Films Inc. of Chicago. Feigley, a 1993 grad, and his wife, Kelli, will team up with the college to develop a new media and film major beginning in fall 2017. Two recent graduates, Macy Hernandez and Josh Malone, served internships and now work as assistant producers for the company.
"Augustana students are already involved in the scripting process, and then this summer, another six to 12 students will be hired as production interns and paid staff, which provides a pretty dynamic learning experience," Estlin said. "Then this fall, we'll work with the faculty across disciplines to begin to develop the film/media concentration."
Kelli said the huge scale of the entertainment industry offers potential career avenues for many fields beyond creative writing or theater, including accounting, pre-law and computer science. Fresh Films produces science-oriented features and a kids’ TV show, “Moochie Kalala Detectives' Club.”
"The opportunities that Fresh Films brings to Augustana students are incredibly rich," Pareena Lawrence, Augustana’s provost and dean, said. "Some of our recent alumni already have been involved with Fresh Films, and we look forward to expanding these opportunities for our current students from across the disciplines."
Estlin, who majored in history and minored in theater arts, said he recommends liberal arts training for next-generation filmmakers.
"You can learn the technical skills in filmmaking, but to tell a story, you have to have a broader knowledge base," Estlin said.
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