August 23, 2023

SCA’s First Look Film Showcase

By Benjamin Pola

First Look is the annual unveiling of advanced projects at the School of Cinematic Arts. Organized by the SCA Industry Relations Office, students get to screen their projects for friends and family, garner additional faculty recognition, as well as feedback from a panel of industry professionals.

An awards ceremony, which takes place in the Spring semester, encompasses recognition for exceptional achievements in Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design, Screenwriting, and Sound, all decided by faculty; while the industry panel distinguishes outstanding projects across categories such as Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Social Change, and Thriller/Sci-Fi/Horror.

This year, O’Shea Myles, SCA’s Film Festival Coordinator, introduced a new element: a live pitch competition for students before the awards ceremony. This gave four SCA students a platform to present film and tv show concepts to industry insiders who offered valuable feedback on how to potentially bring the ideas to life, which was beneficial to everyone in attendance. 

First Look 2023 Pitch Panel: (L-R) Liliana Granados (Director of Development at 3PAs Studios), Kate Oh (Development Exectuitve for TV & Film at Monkeypaw Productions), Abi Damaris Corbin (Writer, Director, Producer), and Lamonia Deanne Brown (Creative Executive and Film Festival Specialist, current producer of the Essence Film Festival)

The pitch competition will be back this academic year, with students chosen based on their First Look submissions. Myles envisions First Look, including the pitch competition, as a way to bolster students' confidence and support as they enter their careers. The showcase not only presents films but also serves as a link between academia and industry, which makes it a valuable experience for SCA filmmakers, even post-graduation.

The biggest perk of First Look is that all submissions, regardless of awards, are listed on the Industry Relations online database, open to SCA's industry partners who are always searching for new and emerging talent.

To help students prepare for First Look submissions, which open in October each year, Myles will be hosting a First Look Bootcamp on September 21st, 2023 at 1:00PM in SCA 255 to answer any questions. Applications close in mid-December 2023, with the ceremony scheduled for April 2024. Don't miss this opportunity!

For more about the Industry Relations Office, visit or SCA 235 in person.