When UNCSA launched its film school in the fall of 1993, movies were king. Blockbusters
like “Jurassic Park” were bringing audiences out to a growing multiplex theatrical
market, while an independent cinema boom, driven by the rise of directors like Steven
Soderbergh (“sex, lies and videotape”), Quentin Tarantino (“Reservoir Dogs”) and John
Singleton (“Boyz N the Hood”), was opening up film to a whole new generation.
Meanwhile, at home, families were clocking most of their television hours in front
of sitcoms like “Home Improvement,” “Seinfeld” and “Grace Under Fire.” Though ABC
was prepping the launch of “NYPD Blue,” the police drama series that would plant some
of the earliest seeds of a new golden age for the small screen, television was still
very much seen as a lesser medium. It certainly wasn’t anywhere near today’s realm
“Peak TV,” to steal a phrase from FX Networks Chairman John Landgraf, and it wasn’t
a production paradigm that a new film school was likely to focus on, either.
By the end of the decade, HBO’s mafioso epic “The Sopranos” would change the TV game
in a big way, sparking a period of evolution and growth for the medium throughout
the 20 …