Chapman University’s Dodge College Of Film And Media Arts has formed a production and distribution venture, becoming what is believed to be the first film school in the US to do so.

Under the stewardship of college dean Bob Bassett, who becomes president and CEO, the new entity will produce five to 10 features a year budgeted in the $250,000-$625,000 range.

Funding sources are expected to include equity partners and philanthropists and it is anticipated that the bulk of product will primarily be genre titles aimed at younger demographics.

Dodge College will contribute facilities and equipment on a published rate basis factored into each film’s budget and will use the services of school postgraduates and industry professionals. The new company will explore emerging distribution channels.

“We are not making student movies at Chapman Entertainment,” Bassett said. “We have had some of the best and brightest students in the country pass through Dodge College and we are extremely proud of what they accomplish here and what they are now doing in Hollywood.

“Chapman Entertainment, however, is a commercial business enterprise dedicated to making films of the highest quality from the best storytellers, wherever they may come from. We do anticipate involvement from Dodge alumni but are firmly committed to producing films we feel can compete in the commercial marketplace. While the entertainment industry is very competitive, we see an opening for talented and experienced Dodge alumni.”

Chapman University evp and COO Harold Hewitt will serve as CFO and producer and 1998 Chapman University graduate Travis Knox is named vp of production. Knox’ recent credits include The Bucket List and Hairspray. He previously served as evp of feature development at storyline Entertainment.

Barbara Doyle, chair of the film division at Dodge College Of Film And Media Arts and a former production associate at Tri-Star Pictures where she was involved in the production of more than 40 features, will serve as executive in charge of production.