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Honoring the spirit of Sidney Poitier by transforming film education

The Sidney Poitier New American Film School is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the legendary actor and director Sidney Poitier, whose legacy of excellence and barrier-breaking we uphold by disrupting the status quo and embracing students of all backgrounds who seek to learn and create. The Poitier Film School tears down barriers for entry, teaching all students who seek to develop their voice how to take a vision from script to screen with instruction from scriptwriting to post-production. Our students represent the creative diversity of the country, a new generation of strivers and doers, students who will use their voice and vision to tell important stories and break down institutional and societal barriers – just like Sidney Poitier.

– Cheryl Boone Isaacs, founding director

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Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Your support helps film students like Krystina Owens achieve their dreams.

At the end of her freshman year, Owens sought to gain experience working in the film industry. Rather than wait for Hollywood to come knocking on her door, she created her own film and animation studio, Innovelore Entertainment. She employs ASU students at her company and has a group of animators under her wing as well. The result was her senior project, “The Author’s Daughter,” a live action and animated film about a young author who brings stories to life in a future where fiction content is censored.

Krystina Owens

How you make a difference

film students directing

Investing in our students

Less than 26 percent of ASU's budget comes from the state of Arizona, making gifts from private investors, foundations and corporate partners essential. In creative programs, the cost can be even higher than standard tuition as students need to purchase art supplies, musical instruments, and design and fabrication materials to complete their classwork.

Your support can make or break a student's experience. You can choose to direct your gift to scholarships, student enrichment, or a variety of programs that allow students to explore and experiment in their disciplines. For many students, your gift makes all the difference to get them to graduation.

Investing in our faculty

The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has more than 700 faculty members who teach nearly 8,000 students in the disciplines of architecture and landscape architecture; art; arts, media and engineering; dance; design innovation; music; theatre and film. Your investment in faculty development and research is vital to maintaining and expanding the high-quality education we provide to students.

You can direct your investment to support faculty in the following ways:

Faculty chairs recognize the achievements of faculty over a lifetime of scholarly endeavor. Such named chairs carry with them a level of prestige among the wider academic world that allows ASU to attract and retain faculty of the highest level of achievement and teaching.

The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts wishes to increase the number of chairs in each of its schools, resulting in the continued artistic and creative development of its faculty.

Offered only to full professors, named chairs provide faculty with recognition, compensation and supplementary support for their teaching and research activities. These named gifts also strengthen the economic and creative well being of Arizona.

Named professorships, such as the Leonard and Patricia Goldman Professorship in Organ, help the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts recruit and retain the brightest and most talented faculty in the world.

Like endowed chairs, named professorships support teaching and research activities, but are typically provided to scholars and faculty at an earlier stage in their academic careers.

Part of the ASU Herberger Institute’s Annual Giving program, the Faculty Enrichment Fund is a pooled fund that supports the costs of research grants, supplies, travel fellowships and other essential activity that is part of the faculty’s creative leadership work.

Nonny de la Peña helping a student with a VR headset

One school, two states, three cities

Spread across three cities in two states, The Poitier Film School offers cutting-edge filmmaking facilities, access to industry professionals and three degree programs: BA in Film with a concentration in filmmaking practices; BFA in Film and Media Production; and MA in Narrative and Emerging Media.

Thanks in part to your contributions, we offer students a flexible and evolving learning space that is designed to prepare master storytellers and digital creators for a rapidly evolving industry. Our locations include the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center in Mesa and the ASU Tempe campus, both in Arizona, and the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles.

The Poitier Film School continues to grow in Los Angeles, where students can participate in the Semester in LA program, learning in the heart of the industry as they network, land internships and begin their careers. Beginning in fall 2024, we’ll begin accepting freshmen in LA, increasing the school’s foothold in the entertainment capital of the world.

Learn more about the school and its three locations.

Give to The Sidney Poitier New American Film School today.

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Contact us

Speaking with a development professional is like having a free, personal advisor to assist with your philanthropic goals. Development officers can assist you with crafting an individual strategy that fits your unique circumstances, philanthropic vision and financial budget. Please consider contacting a member of our team:


Senior director of development

Development director

Donor relations coordinator