Western Kentucky University has added a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production program, which will begin in the fall.

The program is the first of its kind in Kentucky, according to a WKU news release.

Travis Newton, film program coordinator, said the new program will be separate from the current Bachelor of Arts that WKU offers in film.

Newton said the program has been in the works for several years and that the BFA is a professional degree designed to help students be prepared to enter the workplace.

“In terms of credit hours, a BFA is typically twice the number of hours of a typical BA, and so it’s very intensive,” he said.

Newton said the Film Production BFA will be a delayed acceptance program. That means that after a freshman’s first semester, he or she will be able to submit a portfolio of their work, which the faculty will review before an interview process to determine which students are admitted to the program.

Students in both the Film BFA and Film Production BFA programs will spend their freshman year taking the same courses, Newton said.

“Ultimately, by their sophomore year they’ll be along whichever path they choose,” Newton said.

Sara Thomason, co-coordinator of the program, described it as hands-on and industry-driven and said students will work on their own productions.

“We’ve worked with a lot of industry professionals to make sure that our sets and our classes are running as close to how they run in the real world as possible,” Thomason said.

Thomason said renovations were finished before the COVID-19 outbreak that extended the school’s film production lab, which contains a full working set.

“We’ve added dedicated space for a pre-production or production office, and that’s for students to use to work on their projects for pre-production and development, then we also have our post-production hallway, which includes four editing suites and key finishing suites, meaning sound mixing and editing and design, as well as color grading,” Thomason said.

Thomason said WKU tried to make the facilities as close to film industry standards as possible and that students in the program can access the facilities 24 hours a day.

Coni Sheppard of the SOKY Film commission said that the university’s BFA in film production will benefit the organization, which promotes the region to filmmakers.

“I think it will really help ... because when the producers come in, they’re always looking for people to hire,” Sheppard said.