Demolition began earlier this month to make way for Biola University to break ground in 2024 on a world-class studio facility for the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts. Scheduled to open in 2026, the three-floor, 45,463-square-foot building will rival some of the best educational facilities in the nation for media training — serving the needs of students as they prepare for careers in the film, television and gaming industries. 

Image shows a rendering of the side of the new building
The new building will feature an outdoor amphitheater

“This brand new 45,463-square-foot complex features a contemporary design reflecting modern-day Hollywood studios,” said Tom Halleen, founding dean and former EVP of Programming Strategy at AMC Networks. “We have open collaborative spaces together with state-of-the-art production spaces, supporting the full workflow of content creation from ideation to pre-production, production to post-production, all the way through final presentation inside our state-of-the-art theater.”

The Snyder School is Biola’s fastest-growing school, with steady growth every year for the last five years. New degree programs including Game Design and Interactive Media and Writing for Film and Television have seen enormous growth since their inception. Biola’s unique educational approach trains students not only in craft, but also character.

“Within Biola’s Snyder School, we understand that preparing students for the world of media isn’t just about having excellent technical skills. The entertainment industry also desires qualities such as teamwork, reliability, and follow-through,” said Halleen. “It’s why we focus on creating excellence in craft and character within our students.”

Image shows a rendering of an indoor theater in the new building
A rendering of a brand-new screening theater

Strategically placed between Biola's School of Science, Technology and Health and the Crowell School of Business, together these three schools reflect a trifecta of influence into the worlds of science, business and the media. In addition to the new studio facility, the existing 10,000-square-foot Production Center and adjacent Equipment Room will continue to provide industry-grade equipment, classrooms and production spaces for students. Together, these facilities will serve as a “campus within a campus” for Biola’s thriving community of storytellers. The new studio facility is entirely funded by donors.

“So many individuals and families have invested in the future of our Snyder School with amazing and sacrificial gifts,” said Halleen. “These donors believe in our students. They're investing in them to make a difference in this world.”

In 2023, Biola announced the film school’s name in tribute to Esther L. Snyder, co-founder of In-N-Out Burger, and to honor the Snyder family as a whole for a significant financial gift committed to the school as well as their legacy of godly virtues. The gift, which is the largest in the school’s 116-year history, is allocated toward the construction of the new studio facility and to establish a new scholarship — the In-N-Out Burger Scholars Fund. This expendable scholarship will help make it possible for foster and at-risk youth to study in the Snyder School.

Biola University is the only member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) recognized as housing one of the top film schools in the world. As reflected in Hollywood publications Variety, The Wrap and The Hollywood Reporter, the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts is noted as one of the world's best. The industry notes Biola's unique sense of community that champions "collaboration rather than competition" — and its record of equipping students to be effective storytellers and leaders across film, television, game development and interactive media.

Watch a video update from Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts founding dean, Tom Halleen.

Learn more about the new studio facility.

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