Students Joe Fidler, left, and Reesa Ishiyama pose for the camera at International Academy of Film and Television in Burbank on Thursday, May 3, 2012.

Students Joe Fidler, left, and Reesa Ishiyama pose for the camera at International Academy of Film and Television in Burbank on Thursday, May 3, 2012. (Cheryl Guerrero/Staff photographer / May 4, 2012)

An international filmmaking and acting school has opened in Burbank and plans to create opportunities for students and graduates by developing connections with local production companies and studios.

The International Academy of Film and Television opened its doors last month at 635 S. San Fernando Blvd., offering filmmaking workshops, acting classes and a new visual effects program for teens.

The academy initially launched in the Philippines in 2004, said Kacy Andrews, a Glendale resident who is chief executive of the academy.

She said about 50% of the students at the original school are from the Philippines, while the other half come from other countries.

The academy expanded to take over an existing film school in Miami in 2010.

“We’ve had students from 30 different countries attend the schools,” Andrews said.

And at the end of this month, the academy will open a school in Hong Kong, extending its international reach, she added.

Andrews and other academy officials chose the Burbank site for several reasons, including its proximity to major film studios and a wide range of production companies.

It is also near the Golden State (I-5) Freeway, in a safe area of the city and within walking distance of downtown Burbank, she said.

While the acting classes are basically divided evenly between males and females, the filmmaking classes are 60% to 70% male, reflective of an industry standard where it’s primarily men behind the camera, Andrews said.

However, schools like the International Academy of Film and Television will hopefully give more women the chance to take roles on the production side of filmmaking, she added.

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-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Twitter: @LAMarkKellam