Ithaca College Included in Variety’s List of Top Film Schools and Educators

By Grace Collins ’23, May 8, 2020
Idrissou Mora-Kpai was recognized for his innovative teaching and development of experiential learning opportunities.

Idrissou Mora-Kpai, assistant professor of media arts, sciences, and studies, has only taught at Ithaca College since this fall, but his impact on the Roy H. Park School of Communications and its students is already being recognized.

In April, Mora-Kpai was named to Variety magazine’s annual “Entertainment Education Impact Report,” a list of the top film programs and professors from around the globe. The report recognizes the schools and professors who best prepare students for successful careers in the entertainment industry.

An award-winning filmmaker, Mora-Kpai earned praise for his development of a mini-course that will bring interested IC students to the Cannes International Film Festival to connect with industry professionals and attend events catered to young filmmakers.

“Professor Mora-Kpai quite literally brings the world of filmmaking right here to Ithaca.”

Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications

While the coronavirus crisis has delayed the implementation of the program, Mora-Kpai has still made an impact on his students — and vice-versa.

“I’m lucky to have talented students who make me want to teach, because of their openness, their curiosity and their passion for filmmaking, their maturity, and their creative spirit,” he said. “I have been thrilled by our students these last weeks, how they have coped with the challenges of remote classes during the pandemic. I’m truly grateful for having had the occasion to work with them during this difficult time.”

Mora-Kpai, who called it an honor to be featured on the list, also praised the efforts of the Park School’s faculty and staff.

“It is fruit of the leadership and the vision of Park School and IC administrators,” he said. “As a result of their efforts, our students and our alumni perpetuate the reputation of IC through their creative work and their professionalism.”

“Professor Mora-Kpai quite literally brings the world of filmmaking right here to Ithaca,” said Diane Gayeski, dean of Park School. “He is able to share his decades of experience as a successful independent artist, and he brings an extremely valuable perspective through work that focuses on telling the stories of marginalized populations.”

In addition to shining the spotlight on Mora-Kapi, Variety praised the Park School for offering a degree program that immerses students in all aspects of production. As one of only three undergraduate-focused film programs in the list, IC is able to provide students something they can’t get elsewhere.

“We truly have a distinctive offering — the resources and reputation of a large university or graduate film school coupled with the focus on a broad undergraduate preparation that you’d find at a small liberal arts college,” said Gayeski. “Not only do we have excellent professors and courses, but we also have opportunities for students to practice their skills in our co-curricular student media outlets and to perform at a professional level in internships.”