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Chapman launches first-of-its-kind Film Production Company

Going where no other film school has gone before, Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States, has launched a first-of-its-kind production and distribution company - Chapman Entertainment, LLC.


Chapman Entertainment is a sustainable, fully-functioning film production company designed to produce five to ten pictures per year in the micro-budget range (budgets in the $250,000 - $625,000 range). Utilizing Chapman University's unique film resources the company will be at the forefront of the emerging trend of micro-budgeted films in the independent film arena.


Current constraints of the traditional economic models of independent filmmaking, combined with enhanced and increasingly accessible technology, make Chapman Entertainment the answer for a new era of filmmakers and storytellers.


Chapman Entertainment will make, own and distribute an extensive slate of independent films all the while creating a new paradigm that will not only significantly increase the exposure of Chapman University but will also enable the company to control content at a time when multi-picture deals for independent films are limited yet emerging distribution technologies are becoming increasingly viable.


Funding will be provided through two sources: equity partners who will share in profits and donors whose philanthropy will support the educational mission and objectives of the post-graduate feature film experience. Dodge College will contribute facilities and equipment on a published rate basis factored into each film's budget.


Leveraging the school's inherent strategic expertise in the complete movie workflow (from script to screen, from producing to distribution), Chapman Entertainment is set up to produce, market and distribute micro-budgeted commercial motion pictures, television and new media.


Under the stewardship of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts' Dean Bob Bassett who will assume the role of President and CEO, Chapman Entertainment, LLC will uniquely fund and operate the new creative endeavors associated with the development, packaging, production and distribution of filmed entertainment for a global audience.

Chapman Entertainment aims to produce a slate of feature films that diversify product and investment opportunities and leverage the "home grown" talent that has emerged from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts over the years.


Films will be chosen primarily based on their appeal to a younger demographic that is more likely to embrace and access new media distribution channels. Films from the comedy, horror and thriller genres have proven to have breakout potential in this demographic regardless of budget. Employing a unique hybrid of Dodge College post-graduates and a select group of established industry professionals, the productions will all be designed to keep costs low while maintaining high creative standards. 


"We are not making student movies at Chapman Entertainment," says Bassett. "We have had some of the best and brightest students in the country pass through Dodge College and we are extremely proud of what they accomplish here and what they are now doing in Hollywood. Chapman Entertainment, however, is a commercial business enterprise dedicated to making films of the highest quality from the best storytellers, wherever they may come from. We do anticipate involvement from Dodge alumni but are firmly committed to producing films we feel can compete in the commercial marketplace. While the entertainment industry is very competitive, we see an opening for talented and experienced Dodge alumni."


"As we examined our operations, our resources, and the landscape of the independent film industry, we saw a tremendous opportunity for expansion and an opportunity to apply our business model to the new entertainment landscape. It is apparent that the formation of Chapman Entertainment is the logical and most practical next step in the evolution of the Chapman and Dodge brands. Our goal going forward is to combine standout literary material with star actors in both lead and supporting roles to ensure productions achieve premium artistic quality, with the strongest sales potential."


Bassett leads the executive group of Chapman Entertainment as President and CEO. Bassett successfully raised $52-million to build Marion Knott Studios, a 76,000-square-foot state-of-the-art studio complex, complete with sound stages and pre- and post-production facilities, which opened in 2006.  A visionary educator who pioneered the integration of digital technologies in film education, Bassett oversaw the conversion of the film school's entire curriculum to the use of digital technology in the early 90's, long before others followed suit. He has also assembled a world-class faculty with a combined filmography of more than 300 feature films, a record unmatched among full-time faculty at other film schools.


Harold Hewitt, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Chapman University, will serve as Chief Financial Officer of the venture.


Accomplished producer Travis Knox, a 1998 graduate of Chapman University, has been named Vice President of Production for Chapman Entertainment and will oversee development, production and all day-to-day operations. Knox's recent credits include Warner Bros.' "The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and New Line Cinema's "Hairspray" starring John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Queen Latifah. Knox previously served as Executive Vice President of Feature Development at Storyline Entertainment.


Barbara Doyle, Chair of the Film Division at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and a former production associate at Tri-Star Pictures where she was involved in the production of more than 40 feature films, will serve as Executive in Charge of Production.

Bassett adds, "The educational component of the Chapman Entertainment business model is crucial as it not only enhances Dodge College's reputation as one of the leading film schools in the country while increasing the profile of Chapman graduates in the professional community. Thus I am particularly delighted to have alumni such as Travis Knox as my partner in launching this important new venture."

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