Local Educators Empower Young Filmmakers

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — As we see an increase of directors coming to Northwest Arkansas to shoot movies, teachers are giving students tools to make it in the entertainment industry.

From high school to collegiate level, there is a lot of effort being put into building leaders who will become the future of the film industry and help put NA on the map even more than it is now. 

Trent Jones, the Director of Media at Springdale Public Schools said, “We’ve seen a huge influence of students wanting to be digital influencers, students wanting to be in the film industry, particularly in Northwest Arkansas.”

Behind these passionate students is a passionate teacher.

Trent Jones built the Springdale Schools’ media program from the ground up.

He said, “Ten, 15 years ago there just wasn’t much of an infrastructure so what we did was we tried to build a pathway from high school to college to industry.”

That’s where Steve Snediker comes in.

He’s another passionate educator dedicated to building a bridge between aspiring filmmakers and professional projects.

Snediker, the associate professor of Digital Cinema at John Brown University, said, “I was a professional working in the business when I had the opportunity to come and teach. I realized what an exponential opportunity I had to influence the next generation of filmmakers.”

He said 10 of his graduates became full-time employees on True Detective, five worked on F.R.E.D.I., and three are currently working on Max Winslow and the House of Secrets.

“We know that our kids, our students are ready to work on these sets, he said. 

Many of those students came through the local school system, including the one in Springdale.

Jones said, “I’m focused on the front end where we’re taking young people and saying, ‘Here’s your options’, and then on this side over here,  you have people like True Detective or F.R.E.D.I. or Rockhill, where they’re hiring the people.”

The pair both agreed that the more prepared their students are, the more they can turn around and help the community.

“Because when the media is strong, communities are strong,” Jones said. 

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