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May 20, 2014/For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Lauren Whitaker, 336-734-2891, whitakerl@uncsa.edu



 Credit Union funding supports popular electives course on creating commercials and PSAs

WINSTON-SALEM – Narrative films are the bulk of what students learn in the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, but an electives course on creating commercials and public service announcements (PSAs) is gaining popularity -- not only with students but with companies and organizations who have helped to support their work.

One such company is Truliant Federal Credit Union, which has announced a corporate gift to the Film School to help finance the course’s various production and teaching costs. In exchange, juniors and seniors in John Adams’ “new media” course will get practical experience in working with clients to produce several commercials and public service announcements.

“It’s a remarkable partnership,” said Film Dean Susan Ruskin. “Commercial production provides an enormous value to our students to broaden their resumes. We are pleased that we can offer specialized training, and we are grateful to companies like Truliant who value the fresh ideas our students can provide for their brands. The gift from Truliant allows our students to work on several commercials, public service announcements and corporate videos.”

This year, students produced a 30-second commercial for Truliant, from developing the concept to writing the script to filming and editing. The ad is currently running on television stations serving the Piedmont Triad and Charlotte markets.

A scene from the Truliant Federal  Credit Union commercial produced by UNCSA School of Filmmaking

“Through projects like this, students gain real world marketing experience, learn a brand’s voice, meet deadlines, get professional feedback and understand the nuances of their future careers,” said Karen DeSalvo, chief marketing officer for Truliant. “Truliant is proud to contribute to and partner with the UNC School of the Arts, one of our state’s most admired and respected learning institutions.”

Previous “clients” for commercials include Flow Automotive, Bob King Automotive, and HanesBrands. Students in the course have also produced public service announcements. A recent spot for the North Carolina Production Alliance promoted the continuation of the state’s tax incentives for film productions.  Previous PSA clients include Partnership for a Drug-Free NC, the Mayor’s Council for Persons with Disabilities, and the Enrichment Center.

“Projects are chosen based on the curriculum,” Ruskin said. “If the corporate partners are interested in supporting the learning outcome for our students, then it is a match.”

Offered each term to 24 students, the course is always full, Ruskin said. “The students are loving it,” she said. “And it provides a good way for them to enter the field, with practical experience on their resumes.”


As America’s first state-supported arts school, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts is a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in music, dance, drama, filmmaking, and design and production. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.