The Film Program and the College of the Arts at Portland State University are pleased to announce the Koerner Camera Film Scholarship, the inaugural film scholarship in the School of Theater + Film. This scholarship will provide access to high quality film education and pre-professional training for two undergraduate film students with a course of study emphasizing cinematography. Two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded each year for five years.
Michael Koerner is the founder of Koerner Camera Systems Inc., the largest motion picture camera rental house north of Los Angeles. With offices in Portland and Seattle, Koerner Camera Systems’ notable clients include “Grimm,” “Portlandia,” “Wild,” “The Librarians,” Nike, Adidas and Wieden + Kennedy.
Koerner was working as a camera assistant when he first saw the need for a camera rental house in Portland, and founded Koerner Camera in 1996 to provide high-quality gear to film crews working locally. The business has since become an integral part of the thriving film community in Portland, and he greatly values the ongoing relationships with his clients.
Founding this scholarship is his way of giving back. “This community of filmmakers has gotten behind me over the years,” he says. “If ‘Grimm’ and ‘Portlandia’ and the dozens of local production companies hadn’t supported me, I wouldn’t be able to make this gift … I see this scholarship as coming not just from me, but from the whole film community in Portland. We’re all in this together. It’s no secret that Koerner Camera has the majority of the market locally, so I feel that this PSU scholarship gift is the result of that success.”
For 2015-16, the Koerner Camera Film Scholarships have been awarded to Film majors Jaden Fooks and Sean Burns, two outstanding students who recently completed coursework in cinematography. Jaden Fooks will enter her final year at PSU this fall and has a strong interest in film production. This scholarship will allow her to focus entirely on her studies next year and reach her goal of graduating in June 2016.
Like Jaden, Sean Burns has focused his studies on film production; he also works as a student employee in the Film Program equipment room. Sean is a junior Film major and is also enrolled in PSU’s Urban Honors College.