This is the fifth installment of a blog series we’re calling “Sarasota Sizzle.” What’s “sizzle,” you ask? The Blink;Tech team’s definition of “sizzle” is what happens at the local intersection of creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship. The more we look around us in Sarasota, the more we discover people, businesses, projects, and initiatives that “sizzle.” And when something sizzles, it’s too good not to share.
For years there has been a murmur among creative types who recognize what a beautiful and versatile backdrop Sarasota can make for film and television. They’re murmuring about turning Sarasota into the next Hollywood. Fortunately, we already have a Hollywood, and we don’t need another one. Sarasota may never be another Hollywood, but it is home to one of the most popular film festivals in the world. And thanks to the Ringling College of Art and Design, this city still has the opportunity to make some really great films.
Founded by John Ringling in 1931, the mission of Ringling College is to “provide programs leading to degrees that prepare students to be discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners in their chosen area of art and design.” As the Red camera digitized creativity over the last decade and changed the way films are made, Ringling College met this new opportunity for visual artists by starting the Ringling Studio Lab in 2010. Not only that, the school also managed to become one of the best in the biz. The Hollywood Reporter boosted Ringling’s five-year-old film program seven spots last year, ranking Ringling College #17 on the publication’s list of top American film schools.
With a campus of just under 50 acres and an average undergraduate enrollment of about 1,200, Ringling College’s boost in ratings comes from offering tremendous educational depth while it pushes the technological envelope and introduces students to key players in the industry. In talks and workshops with industry luminaries such as Andy Garcia, Matt Dillon, Werner Herzog, Richard Dreyfuss, Marisa Tomei, Anna Paquin, Forest Whitaker, Luke Wilson, Ed Burns, and Dylan McDermott, students are exposed to a plethora of experiences, challenges, and insights to better prepare them for the road ahead. The education is paying off as evidenced by last year’s Academy Awards, when alumnus Patrick Osborne (’03) won best animated short film for Feast and 30 other alumni worked on three of the nominated animated feature films, including Best Animated Feature winner Big Hero 6.
Ringling College’s film school has expanded with Stage 41, which includes classrooms, a 14,000 square foot production facility, 30,000 square feet of soundstages, and a state-of-the-art post-production facility. While the production facility is designed with the student in mind (as it should, with tuition and fees adding up to just over forty grand), the facility will also be used by local, regional, and Hollywood professionals. As Ringling continues to strive for excellence in creative education, they may also not-so-inadvertently create jobs for their alumni, answering the seemingly age-old question of how to get Ringling students to stay in Sarasota after graduation.
We’re very excited to see the ways in which Ringling makes Sarasota sizzle with creativity and technology in its cultivation of the next generation of visual artists.
Image courtesy of the Ringling College film department.
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