Film school receives grant for new computer lab

The Cinema and Media Arts school will use nearly $800,000 to invest in technology for its game design students.

Brittany Ung, News Editor

The School of Cinema and Media Arts has received $799,000 in grant funding, which will be used to invest in a computer lab for their burgeoning game design program. The lab will be housed in a temporary location before the new Cinema and Media Arts building opens.


Though the plans for the lab are still in preliminary stages, the school intends to use it primarily as a facility for courses in its game design and interactive media program. 

“CMA currently does not have its own dedicated computer lab, which has made scheduling our new game design courses difficult,” said assistant professor of game design Michael Steffen in an email. “The new lab will not only provide a venue for game courses, but also a workspace for student design teams to build and playtest their games. We also plan to move our existing VR equipment into this lab, making it more accessible to all cinema students.”

The lab will be equipped with 22 workstations and will support equipment for game design and virtual reality projects.

The grant’s donor requested anonymity, however, the foundation, located in Southern California, is a long-time supporter of Biola, according to Director of Foundation Relations Ann Shepherd.


The film school debuted its game design concentration in Fall 2019, in response to a growing demand for the subject. Game design has been approved to become a major next fall, but the school is awaiting accreditation before it begins advertising for the program.

“Because of where we’re located between Los Angeles and Orange County, with a lot of the major game players around here, we hope that’ll give great opportunities for internships, job opportunities and things like that,” said Gerald Fisher, interim director of the School of Cinema and Media Arts.

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