Premiere Night Features Films Made by BestSemester Students

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LAFSC students on Premiere Night (Photo provided by Carly Marconi, Southeastern University).
LAFSC students on Premiere Night (Photo provided by Carly Marconi, Southeastern University).

LOS ANGELES--Normally the stars shine brightly in Hollywood, but it was students of CCCU member institutions who had their opportunity to shine April 30 when the L.A. Film Studies Center held its festival-ready films “Premiere Night,” an end-of-semester tradition for students of the domestic BestSemester program.

Premiere Night features films written, cast, directed and edited by LAFSC students as part of their Hollywood Production Workshop (HPW) coursework. 

The student films included “Kat,” the story of a road-worn trucker who fights her family to give her grandfather the burial he told her he wanted when she was a little girl; “Maxwell,” the story of a boy who utilizes a school talent show and his magic kit to win the heart of a young girl; “The Ghost of Pailthorpe,” the tale of a new teacher who must battle the ghost of the man who had his job before his tragic death; and “The Ancestry of Thomas Waylebarry,” which tells of a boy who rescues a ballerina from her difficult family circumstances, only to find the circumstances were caused by the girl he rescued.

This year, the film screening was held in the Chaplain Theater on the Raleigh Studios Lot in Hollywood. Charlie Chaplain once owned the studios and made many of his most famous films there. 

“Our goal is to give students the opportunity to have a true Hollywood red carpet premiere of their films,” said LAFSC director, Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran. “Holding it at the Chaplin Theater offers the opportunity of screening on a studio lot in a lovely theater. We've used other interesting venues in the past, including the Sunset Laemmle and the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater.” 

Approximately 150 attended the event, including LAFSC students, faculty and staff, program alumni, actors from the films and even some parents. 

“Two of the films featured children this year, so the entire front row of the theater was filled with excited child actors,” said Ver Straten-McSparran. 

LAFSC faculty member, John Bucher, looks forward to viewing the students’ capstone pieces and finds that seeing their hard work come to fruition is fulfilling for students as well as the faculty and staff.

“Our Premiere screening has become not only a significant event for our students but also for our alumni,” Bucher said. “It is not uncommon for industry professionals, actors and alums from our program to attend the premiere. It is an opportunity for our best and brightest from previous semesters to mingle with the up and coming filmmakers of tomorrow.”

Of course, participating in a real Hollywood film screening is a nice addition to any students resume, Ver Straten-McSparran adds.

“This event offers a unique experience that is not replicable in any other part of the country,” she said, “and is a great way to celebrate the end of the semester.”


About BestSemester: The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities offers 12 off-campus study programs, collectively branded BestSemester®, which expand learning opportunities for students from CCCU campuses and are designated as culture-shaping or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping BestSemester programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.); Contemporary Music Center (Nashville); Los Angeles Film Studies Center (Los Angeles); and Washington Journalism Center (Washington, D.C.). Culture-crossing BestSemester programs are: Australia Studies Centre; China Studies Program; India Studies Program; Latin American Studies Program; Middle East Studies Program; Programmes in Oxford; and Uganda Studies Program. Visit for program details.

About the CCCU:  The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 172 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 118 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 54 affiliate campuses from 20 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit