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NYU sets up the Martin Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center

The contributions of Martin Scorsese to the world of cinema are unparalleled, especially the work that he did to usher in the new wave of American cinema. Through films like Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Scorsese established a unique aesthetic framework with which he explored the prevalent socioeconomic and philosophical problems imposed by modernity.

While growing up, Scorsese was influenced by a wide variety of films he saw by auteurs like Satyajit Ray, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman as well as the French New Wave. A year after New York University’s School of the Arts was founded, Scorsese joined to pursue an MFA degree during which he made some of his famous short films like What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? and The Big Shave.

Scorsese also made his first feature Who’s That Knocking at My Door at NYU which was partially funded by his professor and starred Harvey Keitel. The film was screened at the Chicago Film Festival where it was highlighted by Roger Ebert who called it a “great moment in American movies” and solidified Scorsese’s reputation as a filmmaker to watch out for.

As a tribute to one of their most influential alumni, NYU has decided to set up the Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts which will have a visual production centre and offer scholarships through the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies. The funds for this endeavour have been provided by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson’s joint foundation.

The new facilities will be well-equipped with studios and soundstages for studying cinematography and experimenting with virtual production technology, along with live-in camera visual effects, performance capture, live composting and video animation. The department will also guarantee yearly internship stipends for students to support them.

“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 said in a statement while thanking NYU as well as Lucas and Hobson. He believes that the new facilities will allow students to approach cinema in new ways.