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Zeitgeist's North by North Film School comes to Duluth

Enrolled participants can take classes in video production, editing, documentary film, narrative fiction and screenwriting.

Students attending Duluth's pilot class for North by North Film School.
Contributed / Simone West
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DULUTH — Zeitgeist announced its North by North Film School expansion starting March 1. After a pilot class in summer, the Film School will host four- and eight-week programs at Zeitgeist.

In partnership with the Minnesota Discovery Center and The University of Minnesota Duluth, the film school is housed in downtown Duluth's Zeitgeist Arts Building and Chisholm's Minnesota Discovery Center.

Students can take classes in video production, editing, documentary film, narrative fiction and screenwriting. The courses are for any experience level and open to anyone 16 years old or older.

Matt Koshmrl, director of the film school, said it aims to provide a space, education and place for work to be screened. The school will take on a community-based filmmaking model, Koshmrl said.

Northland Film School will begin offering classes later this month.

"I feel like a lot of places outside of the coasts or major metropolitan cities — they really don't have access to this type of education and equipment," Koshmrl said. "There's a lot of barriers to filmmaking. It's a very expensive craft. We're trying to address these barriers by having affordable classes. We have scholarships. We really want people to tell stories about our community."


The film school collaborated with the Duluth NAACP and the American Indian Community Housing Organization in an effort to break down cultural, financial, and geographical barriers to film-making.

"Part of our responsibility is reaching out to communities and say, 'We want to hear your stories,'" Koshmrl said.

Enrolled students can access iMac computers with creative software for design and editing. Equipment for film, video and photography is provided.
Megan McGarvey, video production instructor at North by North Film School, said it's a way for people to get a taste of filmmaking.

"This is a great way for people who can't afford four-year universities to just learn something new," McGarvey said. "Everybody has a story to tell; they just don't have the tools to tell it yet."

Koshmrl said North by North Film School has discussed potential credit opportunities with UMD, although nothing is official.

There will also be a North by North Film Festival April 27 through May 1.

"I hope these classes inspire people to make art, and I think that telling other people's stories is so important to life and culture," McGarvey said.

For more information on the film school, visit zeitgeistarts.com.


This story was updated at 8:26 a.m. Feb. 17 to include the dates of the North by North Film Festival. It was originally posted at 4:46 p.m. Feb. 15. The News Tribune regrets the error.

Economic development authority aims to launch program with $200,000.

Abigael Smith is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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