Touring ASU's new Sidney Poitier New American Film School

Posted at 5:14 AM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 08:33:21-04

TEMPE, AZ — After years of planning and construction, the Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU is gearing up for its big blockbuster debut this Fall.

"You can build any fantasy world you want," explained Jake Pinholster, Associate Dean and founding director of the Media and Immersive eXperience Center. "You can build or design projects up to and including a full-scale house. You can shoot a feature film in here. You can do performance work. It's just a playground for the imagination."

This isn't Hollywood - this is happening right here in Arizona, in the middle of Mesa! "There aren't many places like this in the world." Pinholster added.

Pinholster says the space is designed to be a community showpiece and event center where everyone can access it.

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the project; ABC15 is told it will be ready for students starting with the Fall 2022 semester.

During our exclusive tour, Pinholster showed off some of the school's more prominent, mind-blowing features, like a gigantic green screen, 24-feet tall.

"This sound stage is really built to be that one where if you walk off a Hollywood set, let's say a sound stage for a Marvel action film closed down and they needed a place to go, they could come here and not see anything they're missing."

There's even a special room to re-create sound effects.

"These pits on the floor will be filled with water and gravel and sand asphalt and wood and steel to give us different surfaces."

The school will also have a massive 285-seat theater where students will attend class, show off their own work, and celebrate their achievements on the big screen.

"I don't think there are a lot of universities that can boast having something quite so nice for students to show their work. That's what I'm looking forward to... the first time we do a showcase at the end of every semester."