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Mark Berrettini
Mark Berrettini

Critical Eye

Perceiving the many facets of film

Film is equal parts art, technical wizardry, and big business. It’s an industry that employs a cast of thousands. Mark Berrettini is head of Portland State’s film program and he helps students understand the nuances of the film industry – its history, its many genres, and the art of screen writing.

Growing up in the small town of Dixon, IL, Mark Berrettini watched whatever movies he could, whether from the town's single-screen theater or the VCR tapes available at the local appliance store. Over time, a film buff was born.

Berrettini wanted to be a writer when he headed off to Notre Dame after high school, not knowing that "film studies" was something you could actually major in. But after taking his first introductory film class, he discovered his true calling.

He is now the Director of Portland State’s School of Film, newly established in 2017 after 10 years of significatn growth as the Film Program. From just a handful of majors when it started in 2007, the program now has more than 350 and has graduated over 300 students. Graduates of the school have worked on TV shows such as "Portlandia", "Leverage", and "The Librarians"; on independent and large-budget films in Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City; and have gone on to Ph.D., MA and MFA programs at institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Chicago, Brown University, Concordia University (Montreal), the University of New Mexico, the University of New Orleans, and Florida State University.

Studying film has value in unexpected places. Berrettini says students sometimes go on to law school and social work, having been prepared by the writing, critical thinking and communication skills their film major provided.

Berrettini teaches courses in film history, theory, genre and screenwriting. The common denominator is helping students understand the many facets of this industry that combines art, technical wizardry and big business.

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