Downtown studio makes Hollywood accessible


Student Reporter

Sharpened Iron Studios in downtown Amarillo is offering a new program known as the Film Foundry, which will provide opportunities to get hands-on with various aspects of filmmaking. 

Sharpened Iron Studios is Amarillo’s first big budget film studio. The company operates from a building leased from Amarillo College and, at the request of the studio’s owners, worked with AC to create new cinematic arts degrees and certificates to prepare students to work there.

While the studio provides space for shooting commercials, holding events and filming of big budget movies, it also provides the space for two different educational programs. The first is several classes through Amarillo College’s media, arts and communication department and the second is the Film Foundry.

Devenie Graham, the Sharpened Iron Studios’ chief creative officer, said that the Film Foundry is not a traditional type of school. 

“The Film Foundry is focused for each and every department specifically,” Graham said. “It allows people to have set time and it’s very different from what you would think of as a school. You know, school has class time where people go for a couple of hours and they have that goal of graduating with a degree and a higher ed. At the Film Foundry you don’t have class time, you have call time,” Graham said.

 “You have a call sheet, you know, every day before it starts you come in and whether you are going in as a grip, wardrobe or as a camera guy or something and you go in and have your call time. You actually get to see what it is like working on set,” she added. 

The Film Foundry’s goal, Graham said, is meant to be a training grounds to give people experience and job opportunities.

“What this could mean for AC students is they get the same access to professionals as other industry people just looking to hone their skills,” Graham said. “They get more one-on-one time to come in and get to be a part of the industry. Even if students are only able to come in on days where they don’t have class, the Film Foundry helps apply what you learn in your classes at AC immediately to working on a real-life film set,” Graham said.

The first sessions will be starting in March, according to Graham. “The courses are opened to people of pretty much every experience level but to get the most out of them, it’d be best if you had at least a decent understanding of the film industry,” she said. “The cost of the sessions will vary based on the quality of necessary equipment and things like that,” she added. 

Sharpened Iron studios, while still maintaining their cinematic operations, is working to get ready for the Film Foundry’s opening.

“I don’t know much about the Film Foundry but from what I can tell it’s going to be a huge thing for Amarillo,” Dene Coble, Sharpened Iron’s facilities manager, said. “Just the opportunities alone sound like big things are about to happen for everyone involved,” Coble said.

The news about the Film Foundry is just starting to spread but its potential has piqued the interest of AC students.“The sheer amount of opportunity that’s going to be developed for folks to get excited about this industry is going to wild, man,” David Lavender, an AC motion picture production major, said. “It’s going to be exciting times for everyone,” Lavender said.

There will be a limited number of spots for the program. Each class will have room for between 6-15 students to allow for more personal training. “The classes should last about three weeks or so apiece but a feature of the program is most of the classes take place on the weekend,” Graham said. 

Signups will be available on the Film Foundry’s website when it releases in mid to late February but until then, reaching out to Sharpened Iron Studios on their website, is the best way to begin the process, Graham said.

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