David Scheerer

There's nothing conventional about the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance's David Scheerer. Let's start with his education. For most aspiring filmmakers, a two year stint at graduate school in Los Angeles is de rigueur, but not if you're looking to avoid the crowded, urban lifestyle and corporate filmmaking style of Southern California. For someone who connects more with nature than with traffic and smog, heading to Utah to study film was a good choice.

"Sundance was 20 miles up the canyon and Sterling Van Wagenen, who founded the festival, was also founding the MFA in screen writing at Brigham Young University at the time. This person who was strategically critical in building the independent cinema movement 20-plus years ago was my mentor. I had so many more golden opportunities in Utah than in L.A," says David. "It launched my career as a director and producer of independent films that never would have happened if I had gone the traditional route."

Life outside L.A. opened up opportunities for David to pursue his work and his education, and inspire the schooling of others. At Montana State University David worked to establish a Master's of Fine Arts in Science and Natural Filmmaking—not only the first program of its kind, but David was right there developing the curriculum and working with the Discovery Channel and Sony to make it a world-class program.

David also takes his unique approach to the business side of filmmaking. On The Music Inside he's worked with other filmmakers to create a cooperative form of financing that aims to benefit everybody working on the film. Soon, David will be heading into the studio and on location to finish shooting the film and he's extending the opportunity to his students to be a part of this revolution in film financing.

He's the faculty mentor behind America's oldest student-run film festival »

For more than 40 years the Humboldt Film Festival has been an annual highlight for the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance at Humboldt State. Now, as the faculty advisor, David is working one-on-one with students to make it even better. First off, David and his students have brought the festival back to our own Van Duzer Theatre (the biggest on the North Coast) and found a way to make it free to anyone with a student I.D.

Brings the world of film making to his students »

On David's latest film, The Music Inside, he pioneered the concept of a cooperative production model. After seeing this business model work in other industries, David is working on a piece of art in which everybody, from the lead actor to the caterer, has a piece of ownership.

He's been in the vanguard of indie film since before Sundance was Sundance »

David has been studying and working in film since he interned at what was then known as U.S. Film & Video Festival (now the internationally-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival). That means David's seen just about every trend and innovation to come from the world of independent filmmaking since its inception. This kind of insight gives students the scoop on what makes a great film.

David Scheerer
Professor of Film