April 10, 2013
Houston Baptist University’s Cinema & New Media Arts major will debut on campus in August 2013. HBU has recruited California-based independent filmmaker and new media entrepreneur Joshua Sikora to develop and head up its new program.
Sikora has served as a writer, producer or director on a number of feature films, TV series and documentaries. As founder of New Renaissance Pictures, he has partnered with Hulu, Netflix and YouTube for a variety of new media productions. In 2007, he created WebSerials.com, an online network for serialized media. The Web site is host to several series produced by Sikora, including The Black Dawn—a multi-platform franchise that includes a Web series, feature film, comic book and internationally syndicated TV series. With millions of viewers around the world, Sikora’s productions are considered by YouTube “some of the best dramas the Web has to offer.”
On Hulu—the leading Web site for studio-produced content—Sikora’s shows have been some of the most popular independent series available, on occasion outperforming network TV shows like The Office and Chuck. He is a pioneer in low-budget production workflows, and his commitment to excellence has ensured that New Renaissance productions have been successful both in viewership and artistic quality. He is regularly asked to speak on the development of online media and the trajectory new technologies are taking the media industry.
Through New Renaissance Pictures, Sikora has also actively mentored many film students through internships, which was one of the primary motivations for his move into full-time academic work at HBU. In recent years, Sikora served as an adjunct professor at Biola University and co-taught a number of film and literature classes with HBU Provost Dr. John Mark Reynolds when Reynolds was serving as director of Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute.
“I am excited to see Josh Sikora join the HBU team,” Reynolds said. “He is an innovative film maker and an excellent teacher who has done a great deal with little and understands new media film making. He is the first of an exciting team that will be assembling here to make HBU a center for video production.”
Now in collaboration with Dr. J. Matthew Boyleston, dean of the HBU School of Fine Arts, and other faculty, Sikora is designing the Cinema & New Media Arts program to best serve a new generation of film students. Rather than simply replicating an outdated Hollywood-centric film education, HBU’s program will harness developing technology and media opportunities, giving students a plethora of new ways to utilize their artistic skills anywhere in the world.
“Working as an independent filmmaker, I’ve had extraordinary success and freedom as an artist,” Sikora said. “I am excited to now empower our students with the experience and knowledge they need to create the next great films and media, whether they be small-budget independent films, large studio productions or anything in-between.”
The new major will offer its first classes in August 2013 and is currently accepting students. For more information about HBU’s Cinema & New Media Arts program, visit http://cinema.hbu.edu.
Houston Baptist University is an independent, private Christian liberal arts institution with a diverse student body. The University is dedicated to the development of the intellect, the moral character and the spiritual lives of its students. It has access to all the cultural advantages of one of the largest metropolitan centers in the country.