Motion Picture Arts and Comparative Arts programs change names effective February 2020

  • An Arts Academy student film student works on-set during the 2017-18 school year.

  • A scene from the 2019 performance of RESOLVE, which was produced by interdisciplinary arts (formerly comparative arts) students.

This February, the Motion Picture Arts and Comparative Arts divisions at Interlochen Arts Academy will adopt new names. Motion Picture Arts will become Film and New Media, while Comparative Arts will become Interdisciplinary Arts.

“These changes will bring the divisions’ names up-to-date and more accurately reflect what the programs are actually doing,” said Provost Camille Colatosti. “Motion Picture Arts was a name that became outdated due to changes in both the industry and the program; the program is now focusing on all kinds of new media, and we wanted to have a name that reflects that shift. With Comparative Arts, current and prospective students felt the name was difficult to understand. ‘Interdisciplinary Arts’ is easier for our prospective students to find and understand.”

As Colatosti alluded, the change to ‘Film and New Media’ is a harbinger of exciting changes for the Motion Picture Arts division. “We’re growing in a lot of different ways,” said Director of Motion Picture Arts Michael Mittelstaedt. “As we’re growing, we’re launching a number of different initiatives. We’re working with Marc Lacuesta and the Music and Sound Production program to focus more on sound, and we’re working with the Visual Arts division to develop an animation program. The new name enables us to think more openly about the things that we’re doing and developing relationships with other departments.”

‘Film and New Media’ also positions the program for the reality of future technological developments. “In the long-term future, ‘Film and New Media’ sets us up to incorporate things like augmented reality, virtual reality, and game design,” Mittelstaedt said. “These are all ways in which students would be able to conceive of and practice visual storytelling.”

For Interdisciplinary Arts, the name change will clarify both the program’s mission and the type of students it seeks. “The name ‘Interdisciplinary Arts’ represents the kind of students that I currently have in the program,” said Director of Comparative Arts Clyde Sheets. “These students not only have the skills to work in many art forms, but also have the desire to work across disciplines. This name is much more reflective of who we are.”

The switch from ‘Comparative Arts’ to ‘Interdisciplinary Arts’ also reflects trends in other secondary and post-secondary programs of a similar nature. “This name more closely aligns with what is happening at the university level, where ‘interdisciplinary’ is the pervasive term for the type of work that students are doing in our program,” Sheets said. “It will also help prospective parents and students understand we designed this program for young artists who want to combine artforms or practice more than one artform. We’re looking for students who want to learn how to collaborate with others on interdisciplinary projects.”

The name changes are effective Feb. 3, 2020. The Motion Picture Arts division name change will be reflected at Arts Camp 2020; students who enrolled under the division’s previous name will study in the Film and New Media division at Arts Camp 2020. General arts programs, which are not a part of the Comparative Arts division, will remain the same.