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That's a Wrap!

From behind the scenes to the big screen, the first class of Digital Filmmaking students graduate from the College of Art and Design.

Anni Abbruzzese, Adam Holguin, and Nuno Pereira, the first class of Digital Filmmaking students at Lesley’s College of Art and Design, had the unique opportunity to set their own path and cultivate an individual style of filmmaking. The new alumni reflect on the personal growth that came along with shaping a new and evolving program.

Unlike many other arts disciplines, successful filmmaking relies on the power of teamwork. And for Anni Abbruzzese, that was one aspect of the program they appreciated most. “We all work on each other’s projects and are driven by the same goal,” they say of the growing Digital Filmmaking community at the College of Art and Design.

“In film, we’re thrown into situations we’ve never experienced before, so we need to learn and adapt together,” shares Adam Holguin. "This collaborative environment fosters a certain compassionate and competitive friendship on and off the set." Taking a hands-on approach, the learning process integrates independent and collaborative elements. Sets are constructed entirely by students, and every aspect of filmmaking is driven by their vision.

“The program is a hands-on experience, geared toward cinematic film,” says Nuno Pereira. “We learned by making our own mistakes.”

From grip work to acting, students drew from the Digital Filmmaking community for the support needed to develop their own films. This collective approach to creating also meant that the filmmaking students took on multiple roles, empowering them to identify their strengths and narrow down areas they wish to pursue in future careers.

"I learned that I enjoy camera and visual work,” says Abbruzzese. "I’ve done a lot of directing and gained confidence in my leadership and organization on set.”

Having the opportunity to explore areas beyond their initial interests, Abbruzzese honed their skills and envisioned a path for after graduation. "I want to freelance and be on the list when a crew is called in for production. I want to start climbing the ladder, working my way up through the crew.” The idea manifested after graduation for Anni, shortly after graduation they landed a job at the Boston ABC affiliate, WCVB Channel 5.

Defining their interests also enabled the group to further solidify their personal styles of filmmaking. “Living in Dorchester, Massachusetts—an urban setting—I often hear lovely or disturbing stories. From these stories, I withdraw ideas that assist me in making my films,” says Pereira. "Through my films, I aspire to bring these stories to life and allow the audience to connect with my characters as people.”

"I hope the program’s sense of friendship and community continues to be as strong. I hope students’ confidence in themselves and in their technical and professional abilities grow through the roof.”
Anni Abbruzzese ’18, Digital Filmmaking

Looking to the future of the program, the group agreed that maintaining and developing a strong community, both within Lesley and studios in Greater Boston and beyond, is needed if the hands-on approach to filmmaking is going to continue.

"I hope the program’s sense of friendship and community continues to be as strong,” says Anni. "I hope students’ confidence in themselves and in their technical and professional abilities grow through the roof.”

As their time as undergrads has come to an end, the three seniors screened their final films at the Brattle Theater on May 3. Their senior thesis films were a culmination of their personal style and technical skills that have developed over the past few years.

Learn more about the Digital Filmmaking program.

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