$500K Gift Boosts Film Studies at Penn State Behrend

A $500,000 gift commitment from the Samuel P. Black Family Fund of the Erie Community Foundation will support film studies at Penn State Behrend by providing access to high-end cameras, lighting kits and editing software, among other equipment.

The gift advances efforts at Penn State Behrend to create a curriculum and secure capabilities in digital media, arts and technology. Students and faculty members will have access to professional-caliber equipment, including Epic-M Red Dragon Pro cameras, lenses, tripods and stage legs; six-channel sound mixers; shotgun and wireless mics; a 1,200-watt Fresnal lighting system; and Mac Pro, Adobe and DaVinci Resolve editing and rendering software.

“This gift is path-breaking for Penn State Behrend,” said Sharon Dale, associate professor of art history and chair of the arts program. “For the first time, state-of-the-art equipment, comparable to that used in major film productions, will be available locally. In addition to providing new opportunities for our students, we hope to use this gift to develop a means of making the equipment available to area filmmakers, jump-starting a creative industry in Erie.”

The college plans to develop courses in every stage of film production. This will support efforts to create a new interdisciplinary curriculum in digital media, arts and technology, blending creative arts and new digital technologies to develop and support an advanced media industry in the Erie region.