Friday, September 5, 2014

UNO Film Students Visit Nims Center Studios

Twelve Years a Slave was one of many blockbusters filmed and produced at the University of New Orleans Nims Center Studios.Twelve Years a Slave was one of many blockbusters filmed and produced at the University of New Orleans Nims Center Studios

University of New Orleans students aiming to become filmmakers have a chance to visit behind the scenes at a leading film studio in Hollywood South. The University of New Orleans Nims Center Studios has been home to films ranging from Runaway Jury to Dallas Buyers Club -- and tomorrow UNO film students will see the set of NCIS – New Orleans.

"It's a state-of-the-art facility. That's why most big budget films are done there," said Kevin McLin, Vice President of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing at UNO.

Students from the UNO Film Department, the Filmmakers' Club and the Lakefront Players drama club are invited tomorrow for a tour of the Nims Center Studios, located on the Harahan campus. Students will learn more about the filmmaking industry in Hollywood South and spend time behind the scenes on the set of NCIS New Orleans. The event is the first of its kind and administrators are hoping to host similar events at the beginning of each semester.
The informal get-together is a chance for the studios and filmmakers on campus to connect, said Roger Benischek, director of the Nims Center.

"We'll be showing film club students and drama club students what we are doing and getting to know them a little bit," said Benischek. "It's just the first step in some of the activities we're trying to get going between the campus and the NIMS Center."

"The Nims Center Studios are an important asset of the University and a home for filmmakers in Hollywood South," said McLin. "Hollywood South gives our students real-life opportunities to work on actual television series and motion picture sets, gaining valuable career experience as they apply what they've learned in the classroom and hone their crafts."

The Nims Center, a Key Player in Hollywood South

Originally a Campo furniture warehouse and with no production amenities, the Nims Center Studios served 10 years ago as production home for Runaway Jury, a 2003 American drama adapted from a John Grisham novel by the same name. The film, which starred John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz, instantly raised the profile of the UNO film program and the Louisiana film industry.

Known formally as the University of Orleans Robert E. Nims Center for Entertainment Arts and Multimedia Technology, the Nims Center Studios subsequently helped to launch the local film industry, drawing major motion picture productions to Louisiana with the emergence of state tax credits for the film industry, now estimated to bring the state more than $1 billion in annual revenues.

Operated under the direction of Roger Benischek, the nearly 100,000-square foot Nims Center Studios boast five stages totaling more than 50,000 square feet, four green screens, 45 production offices, editing suites, a mixing room, state-of-the-art sound and film equipment.

A state-of-the-art sound stage designed for shooting movies built at the Nims Center was completed this year. The Nims Center soundstage and Second Line Stage uptown are the only stages in New Orleans that have been designed as sound stages and built new from ground up. Others in the city are located in modified warehouses.

"This is basically the first six months that it's been in operation. It's more of a state-of-the-art facility than most any stage in the city," said Benischek. "It's not a huge stage but it's a stage that has got extra height and some features that aren't found in stages that are just retrofitted warehouses."

Located in the heart of the Orleans/Jefferson film district in Harahan, La., the studios were expanded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to include a 5,000-square foot incubator facility where young and talented film industry entrepreneurs now work and UNO students, staff and alumni are able to take advantage of the studios' technology, industry internships and project development opportunities.

Recently, the Nims Center Studios has been the film production home to Oscar-Nominated 12 Years a Slave, which recently won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama and a BAFTA award for Best Picture. The Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers' Club, which has brought home a raft of critics' awards, was also filmed and produced at the Nims.

Over the last 10 years, the Nims Center Studios has been film home to a variety of other films and popular television series including: the award-winning film Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Failure to Launch, Glory Road, the Gossip Girl CWTV Series and many more.

 

Read More

Department of Film and Theatre
Star-Crossed Series Filmed at University of New Orleans' Nims Center Studios
The Search: University of New Orleans Rolls Out a New Commercial Campaign
Heartbeat of the Crescent City: UNO Debuts New Commercial on WWL-TV
Doubly Blessed: How Bob and Jeri Nims Helped Spur Growth and Innovation of the Louisiana Film Industry, UNO Magazine