Rutgers student Zack Morrison talks about the expansion of the Rutgers film department

By: Jenny Kim

MGSA Cinematography Class 11-1-11Photo Credit:

Zack Morrison was only a sophomore in college when the short comedy film he directed and wrote, “Don’t make me sing,” was featured in France’s Cannes Film Festival. Since then, his films have been viewed in a variety of festivals in Los Angeles and New Jersey.

A senior now at Rutgers University, Morrison studies Journalism and Media studies, as well as an individualized film major that he developed with Professor Deena Sidel, now the head of the Rutgers Digital Film Department.

When he first came to Rutgers, Morrison was involved with RUtv, the Rutgers television station, and the broadcast communications living-learning community where students with a common interest in TV production live together on one floor of the Winkler suites.

“Our floor had a TV station Morrison said he and his floor had 24 hours access to cameras and equipment to utilize and that definitely kept me from transferring out, because I wanted to go to film school and at the time Rutgers did not have a film program,” said Morrison.

There were creative writing classes in Writer’s House learning community affiliated with the Rutgers English Department that Morrison initially took to gain more screen writing experience. One of the first classes he took was digital storytelling and writing for documentary film making.

“I took digital story telling my first semester freshman year and I absolutely loved it,” said Morrison. “I had the chance to go out there with a camera and shoot pieces for the class projects.”

Morrison was taking classes to meet the requirements to his individualized major, and many other interested students were eager to do the same, which ultimately led Rutgers to open a film certificate program that evolved from most of Morrison’s individualized classes.

“The last four years have just been crazy, coming to Rutgers my freshman year I couldn’t have imagine how much it would expand the way that it did,” added Morrison.

Morrison says it was very rewarding to be part of this and to open the door to the new digital film-making program.

“I eventually sat down with the deans of Mason Gross School of Arts in a meeting to lobby any concerns regarding the creation and push for the digital film program.” Morrison says

After graduating this year in May, Morrison plans on going to a graduate school for film and in the future hopes to establish his own film production. “I look forward to graduate and hopefully get larger projects under my belt,” Morrison says.