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    Tuesday, January 16, 2018-12:50:50A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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CNMI

Corrections

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Variety Features

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NMC hopes to create local film, TV workforce

HAVING Chamorro or Carolinian film directors, actors, or television and commercial producers is no longer a dream. Right here on the island, a private film outfit has forged a partnership with Northern Marianas College to offer professional training services to local residents who wish to pursue a career on TV or film.
On Jan. 21, Pacific Rim Academy, in conjunction with NMC, officially opened a new course training on movie, commercial and television production, under the college’s continuing education, vocational and special projects.
“We are creating a local workforce. This is all economic-related. This will boost tourism and the economy as a whole,” Dr. John Jack Angello, NMC program director said.
Right now, 22 students are enrolled with the film program.
The course, a two-year certificate program, aims to offer “Hollywood edge” training with state-of-the-art technology and under Hollywood-trained instructors.
Pacific Rim Academy is managed by cousins Butch Wolf and Leslie Wolf, who are Emmy award winners for best audio and sound editing categories.
In the first quarter of the year, four professionals from Hollywood—two of them based in Hawaii—arrived on Saipan to teach post production courses at the college. Leslie Wolf, PRA vice president, said starting a film project in CNMI had always been their dream.
“We always wanted to work with the college and make the ‘Hollywood edge’ training available to future film and video technicians here on Saipan,” he said.
Called Film and Audio/Visual Production Certificate Program, the course aims to focus on the techniques of post production and includes courses such as sound mixing and sound editing.
The two-year curriculum offers courses that teach all phases of film production such as script writing, acting, directing, producing, casting, location scouting, directing, location and stage shooting.
Second year students would also have an opportunity to earn while they learn when they work as interns on actual films.
Film students can have hands-on work in two regular TV programs on the island.
The academy aims to attract students from all parts of Asia including Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.
Wolf said PRA makes use of modern digital and fiber optic technology, which is used in the actual filming of movies in Hollywood.
“Our students can expect the best training possible from us,” Wolf said.
PRA executives Butch and Leslie Wolf have been recognized for best sound editing work in various Hollywood movies and TV productions.
Butch Wolf, PRA president, worked on “The Hunt for Red October,” “Star Trek 6,” “Robo Cop 2,” “Total Recall,” “Die Hard 2,” “Under Siege,” “Survivors” and several other movies.
Wolf worked mostly on animation films and TV series such as “Angry Beavers” for which he won an Emmy Award, “Garfield,” “L.A. Law,” “Doogie Howser,” “Sisters” and many others.
PRA’s film program at NMC runs consistent with the college’s thrust toward developing a film industry in the CNMI.
NMC’s Small Business Development Center, in early January, consulted with local and international companies involved in film production on the possible formation of a film association.
Having an organized film group would hasten the development of the industry, attracting more foreign film makers to choose the CNMI as a destination, the center said.
NMC-SBDC Director Eric L. Plinske said Saipan had great chances to be featured in Hollywood movies but due to “bureaucracy” and lack of an organized film industry, projects did not materialize.
He said the Northern Marianas was considered for the popular TV series, “Survivor.”
CNMI was also one of the destinations that was considered for the movie, “The Beach,” which was eventually filmed on a remote island in Thailand.
“Castaway” was filmed in nearby Fiji. SBDC earlier recommended to Gov. Juan N. Babauta and Lt. Gov. Diego T. Benavente the re-establishment of the CNMI Film Office, which existed from 1994 to 1997.
He said the Film Office can serve as one-stop shop for film permit issuance, act as liaison between all government agencies, enforce rules and regulations and promote the CNMI as a major film destination in the Pacific.
NMC said the new administration had expressed great interest to support the development of a local film industry.