San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec




San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU film and television studio to be built in Chula Vista

The School of Theatre, Television, and Film shares new details on the Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library
School+of+Theatre%2C+Television+and+Film+at+SDSU.
Isabella Biunno
School of Theatre, Television and Film at SDSU.

San Diego State University has recently announced its plans on building a state-of-the-art film studio in Chula Vista, as an extension of the film and television department. 

Within the past few months, the Television, Film and New Media Studios (TFNMS) and the Cinematic Arts Academic Center & Library project went from an idea being tossed around to a bona fide project with a fund of $89 million and a proposed size of 168,000 square feet

This new studio is confirmed to be an extension of the current home base for film and production students, rather than a replacement of the departments’ current home building, Hepner Hall. 

The studio is set to include three fully functional soundstages, as well as a library and a digital theater. The studio will also be equipped with updated production and film technology used in professional film studios, and is said to eventually open to productions outside of SDSU that may aim to film in San Diego. 

As told by Professors Brian Hu and Niyi Coker, who both teach in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film, this new studio will not only be a new opportunity for students, but for San Diego State University to extend its place amongst the most advanced film production departments in the country. 

This project aims to help increase student admissions, give current students experience with state-of-the-art equipment, and contribute to the economic and commercial flow in the greater San Diego area.

Hu shared his perspective on this project, describing the increased opportunities for film and production students to work in environments almost identical to places they may apply to in the future. 

“It’s exciting because it allows us to picture what our future can be,” Hu said. “And in our program, we have two new tenure track faculty members. So this is kind of a turning point for us.”

Hu shares his optimism for professors in the department ready to welcome new colleagues and eager to work with students in a new space.

Despite the fact that most details about the project have not been finalized yet, Hu also sees this facility as an opportunity for film and production majors to get a feel of what it is like to work in a real studio, in preparation for job opportunities they may want to pursue. 

“(Production and tech theater classes) are the kinds of classes that are going to be really enhanced by the opportunity to have newer equipment…we’re not doing new just for the sake of having new equipment, we want to have equipment that’s going to prepare them to get jobs when they graduate,” Hu said. “We want to create a studio that’s going to be like the kinds of places where they might be trying to get employment after they graduate.”

Coker also expressed his optimism for the project, clarifying that there is more to look forward to than to be hesitant of.

“This is very exciting on several fronts,” Coker said. “It’s going to allow students to be able to work with state-of-the-art equipment, state-of-the-art studios and what is current in the industry. The second aspect is that we’re going to be able to take in more students. The film program is impacted, and it’s very difficult for students to get in. We get more applications than we have space for.”

Coker also addressed some of the questions students had, including how students would juggle their time at the studio with their other classes.

“Those are good problems to have, especially when you’re dealing with facilities like this. I haven’t heard those concerns from students yet. Frankly, what I’ve heard mostly is ‘why aren’t we moving there, like right now?’”, Coker said. “All of those (concerns) are logistical, but they’re not really problems at all.”

Lizzete Flores, who is both part of instructional support tech and a graduate student in film, shared questions she has heard from students discussing the new studio.

“Mainly, the questions I get from students center around whether or not this plan is actually happening and how they would commute between the studio and the main campus. Last I heard, a shuttle service was promised in between the two locations,” Flores said. 

Ground is set to be broken into in 2023, and the studio is expected to formally open in 2025.

About the Contributor
Isabella Biunno, '23-24 Photo Editor
Isabella Biunno (she/her/hers) is a photographer for The Daily Aztec. She is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada where she was a part of yearbook and publications for nearly six years. She is a first-year Psychology major with an emphasis in neuroscience, and she plans to go to graduate school for Occupational Therapy. She loves photography, editing, and creating, and she can’t wait to continue shooting content for the DA. One thing she is passionate about outside of photojournalism is being involved in the disability/Autism community. She is a part of SDSU’s Adapted Athletics club, and she worked as an Instructor at a company back home called Inclusion Fusion where she was able to work with people with disabilities. Although her career-related passions fall in the healthcare field, she enjoys taking pictures and covering photo events just as much. She looks forward to expanding her experience as a photographer as well as capturing some astounding shots this year.
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SDSU film and television studio to be built in Chula Vista