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An Interview with Robert E. Davis, Consultant on Educational Programs within the Motion Picture Industry and former Director, The DeSantis Center for Motion Picture Industry Studies, Barry Kaye College of Business, Florida Atlantic University

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Robert E. Davis

Robert E. Davis is a special consultant on educational programs within the motion picture industry, including business programs, and is the former Director of the Carl DeSantis Business and Economics Center for the Study and Development of the Motion Picture and Entertainment Industry, Barry Kaye College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
As a consultant, Mr. Davis currently advises clients on education and scholarly activity within the industry. He is also an Associate Programmer for the acclaimed Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.

We recently interviewed Mr. Davis at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.

iStudioi: How important are academic programs in the film industry for students working toward business administration degrees?

Mr. Davis:  The programs at undergraduate and graduate schools are an important resource for the study of the motion picture industry. At the Kaye College of Business, students interested in film and entertainment as well as those studying the creative aspects of filmmaking took our film business courses as electives, including courses such as “Introduction to the Business of Motion Pictures,” “Contemporary Issues in Motion Picture Management” and “Entertainment Law.” We also offered guest speakers in filmmaking and film business expertise, as well as screenings, special events and scholarships. Our speakers included Don Murray, Michael Murray, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Leslie Iwerks and Marc Fienberg, among others. We hosted short film competitions of the Palm Beach International Film Festival and occasionally held advance screenings of feature films for our students, using the films as case studies in film marketing and distribution. We also provided scholarships for our students to attend film markets and seminars, both locally and in Los Angeles and Toronto. We awarded the Daniel Lieberfarb Scholarship in Motion Picture Industry Studies on an annual basis at the Center. This scholarship was established as a tribute to Mr. Lieberfarb by his son, Warren, who is universally recognized as the “father of the DVD." The Center hosted nine research summits, attracting professors and scholars from across the globe, and published two sets of proceedings containing some of the research presented at the summits.

iStudioi: How does the Hollywood business and studio elite view educational programs within the film industry?

Mr. Davis:  The response from the Hollywood community has always been one of support and enthusiasm for such work. Many Hollywood professionals are involved in education and mentoring within the industry, taking the time to speak with students who wish to begin a career in motion pictures. 

iStudioi: What is your vision for education and mentoring for the business side of the film industry?

Mr. Davis:  We must incorporate evolving film distribution models and other relevant current information into university curricula and continue to provide students and the community with interesting and important programs, partnering with regional organizations and expanding international outreach in an effort to emphasize and reinforce the concept of the global environment of the motion picture industry. Any such program should draw upon the expertise of creative filmmakers on a regular basis, because it is imperative to understand the creative side of filmmaking in order to understand filmmaking as a business. It is necessary for students to realize that the creative and business elements must work cooperatively in order to achieve success in the motion picture industry.



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