Film Education: Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center Established at NYU

Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center Established at NYU

The institute was initiated through a gift from George Lucas and Mellody Hobson’s Hobson-Lucas Family Foundation.

The Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts, an academic and production institute which will encompass a new Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center, the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies and support for student scholarships — will be established at the alum’s New York University Tisch School of the Arts, through gift from George Lucas and Mellody Hobson’s Hobson-Lucas Family Foundation.

In Tuesday’s announcement, NYU said this is the largest gift in the school’s history.

In a statement, Lucas and Hobson said, “We are thrilled to be able to honor our dear friend Martin Scorsese. Through this gift in his name, the Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts deservedly highlights his legacy as a quintessential American filmmaker and will inspire generations of diverse, talented students. Through time-honored scholarship and hands-on instruction on the state-of-the-art digital technology at the Institute, artistic vision will come to life where storytelling meets innovation.”

The Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center will house studios and soundstages for training in cinematography and virtual production technology at the intersection of digital and physical visualization, including video animation, performance capture, live compositing and live in-camera visual effects.

With the gift, NYU’s Cinema Studies Department, which encompasses film preservation, will be renamed the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies.

The department will include a new endowed Martin Scorsese Chair of Cinema Studies and expanded student support through the establishment of a new permanent, endowed scholarship fund and yearly internship stipends.

Scorsese, who also serves as founder and chair of the Film Foundation, has long extolled the importance of film preservation.

The filmmaker thanked Lucas, Hobson and the Foundation in a statement, saying “their generosity of spirit and deed is deeply moving for me and doubly so since this state of the art Institute will be housed at my beloved alma mater, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“At this stage in the technological development of cinema, when filmmakers of all orientations and obsessions use digital alteration for all kinds of reasons, virtual production represents a quantum leap forward,” Scorsese continued. “It allows us to visualize as we work. Whether we’re creating an imagined world or recreating a world gone by, the speed of virtual production allows us to see what we’re creating in real time. We can think with it.”

NYU president Andrew Hamilton added, “Scorsese’s ability to probe the human condition with depth, finesse, and nuance is unparalleled. Few, if any, filmmakers can match his stunning legacy or his talent for experimenting with new technology while staying true to a signature storytelling vision.”

Added Tisch dean Allyson Green, “This remarkable gift will enable our diverse, global graduates to study the cinematic past, and to create our cinematic future.”