San Diego State University: City of Chula Vista, SDSU Set to Build Film & Television Production Studio

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The City of Chula Vista is preparing to break ground on an $89 million, 168,000-square-foot Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library project, which will be home to San Diego State University’s brand new, state-of-the-art Television, Film and New Media Studios (TFNMS). The partnership will educate a new generation of aspiring film students from Chula Vista, Southern California, and the world – realizing the shared vision of developing a multi-institutional university and innovation district in Chula Vista.

The cutting-edge facility will include the City’s first new library built since 1995, and it will fulfill a 19-year deficit of library space, as well as additional space that will be needed to accommodate population growth. The multi-use library will serve a larger vision of public, education and industry use. The building will be the first of its kind in San Diego County and is planned to include three new soundstages, a digital screening theater and additional amenities to support cinematic innovation and excellence.

“I am thrilled to announce our plans to begin construction thanks to amazing multi-agency partnerships. We are grateful for Senator Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assemblymember David Alvarez for securing the funding to launch the Chula Vista university and library development,” said Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas. “After decades of planning, we are ready to break ground with an SDSU program that will advance our vision for a 21st century university in the South Bay.”

The new Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library will be located at 1775 Millenia Avenue, among the burgeoning master-planned community of Millenia in eastern Chula Vista. The expansion will result in the creation of much-needed and long-anticipated higher education access in a region that is currently without a prominent four-year, research-centered institution.

The $89 million project budget will be funded via $30 million in state funding and $59 million from the City of Chula Vista. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins secured $5 million in state funding for the acquisition and entitlement of the project site. Assemblymember David Alvarez secured an additional $25 million in state funding.

“Libraries open up a pathway to a lifetime love of reading and learning. Chula Vista has not had a new library constructed since 1995, so it is exciting to see the vision of that project expanded to include this joint venture between the City and our educational partners, which will also expand additional higher education opportunities in the South Bay region,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). “Thanks to California’s strong economy and tax revenues, the Legislature was able to make historic investments in educationally-related facilities, including $58 million for libraries in the San Diego region, in this year’s budget.”

“I could not envision a better investment that the $25 million in state funding secured for the development of a new library for Chula Vista along with the Film & Television, and New Media Studios to be utilized by San Diego State University. I am thrilled to help our city and our region with this first step toward making the Chula Vista University project a reality,” said Assemblymember David Alvarez.

This SDSU Television, Film and New Media Studios (TFNMS) will include a 50,000-square-foot film and television teaching facility, containing sound stages, modern editing and mixing suites, brand new classrooms, meeting rooms, and administrative and faculty space. All will be equipped with the latest film and television technology.

“We are delighted to be part of this collaboration and to use SDSU’s renowned film and television program as the foundation of our formal presence in this vibrant South Bay neighborhood,” said SDSU president Adela de la Torre. “This builds on our 30-year commitment to the South Bay community and our longstanding partnership with the Sweetwater Union High School District. I am truly excited by what this will mean for our students, for our future, and for the economic impact this new film industry will drive in Chula Vista.”

SDSU’s new expanded location will advance the art of independent filmmaking and will become the premier academic destination for aspiring filmmakers worldwide. The facility also will be available for use by Southwestern College and industry partners.

“Southwestern College’s Film, Television & Media Arts program graduates dozens of talented students each year,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez. “This project gives students a clear pathway to San Diego State University’s program in the community they live in. It will be transformative and a catalyst to turn what is currently a university desert into a thriving ecosystem of higher education to address inequities and generational poverty in our community.”

SDSU faculty and staff at the site will elevate the academic and hands-on experiences of students to an unprecedented level. With a unique focus on independent filmmaking, the SDSU Television, Film and New Media Studio is designed to prepare students in all aspects of film & television production, including writing, directing, cinematography, lighting, sound, editing, special effects, and more – to include the business aspects of independent filmmaking, such as finance, distribution and marketing.

SDSU has been a leader in film and television education for over 50 years and has trained and graduated alumni who are now internationally known filmmakers and award-winning Hollywood executives, such as executive producer and president of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy, Coco producer Darla Anderson and director Destin Daniel Cretton, best known for the Marvel Studios film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

San Diego County historically is considered one of the top three filming regions in California but has been without access to adequate production facilities. Chula Vista’s Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library will provide advanced facilities to revolutionize the film and digital entertainment industries. The new expansion will also dramatically increase placement opportunities for SDSU students entering the film and television production industry by providing them with opportunities to graduate with an already accomplished film portfolio.

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