Minerva Schools is designed around a new vision of higher education founded upon decades of research into the science of learning. At the core of its approach to education is the Active Learning Forum (ALF) where the school’s rigorous pedagogy and innovative technology meet to create an advanced learning environment designed to facilitate face-to-face interaction between professors and classmates. This short film tells the story of three students and a professor as they come together on the platform during a typical seminar at Minerva. 

Runtime: 05:20


Directors:  Jessey Dearing, Andrew Hida
Cinematography: Jessey Dearing, Andrew Hida
Editors: Jessey Dearing, Andrew Hida
Animation: Jeremy Solterbeck
Composer: Jim Greer
Featured Students: Sultanna Krispil, Guillaume Picard, Haziq Azizi Ahmad Zakir
Featured Professors: Vicki Chandler, Stephen Kosslyn
Client Side Producer: Jules Shell
Production Intern: Eynat Grof

Client:  Minerva Schools
Services Provided: Director, Production, Editing, Cinematography
Publication Date: April 23, 2015


Minerva Schools is an accredited four-year liberal arts university. In its second academic year, Minerva’s enrollment has more than quadrupled. As interest in the school explodes, Minerva often receives questions from prospective students and parents about how they conduct their seminars. This film aims to break the misconception that Minerva is an online university (which it is not) and to distinguish itself from massive open online courses (MOOCs). 


The goal was to re-invent the typical tech product video by telling the story around the product through four main characters that is experiential at its core and informative at its periphery. In addition, we needed to feature the advanced set of tools at the hands of both the professors and students, feature the dynamic and flexible student-to-student and professor-to-student interaction, highlight the rigorous academics, and most importantly, show that the virtual environment is an incredibly powerful model for instruction and learning inaccessible in the traditional classroom of typical universities. 


Produced by Hida Visuals Inc and co-directed with Jessey Dearing, The Active Learning Forum: A new way to learn is a dynamic 5.5-minute short film (with an abridged companion version) featured in one of four main verticals on Minerva Schools’ website for prospective students. In addition, the film will be used for corporate presentations and student orientation events. 

Minerva required the authentic, cinematic documentary style of shooting and storytelling that has come to define their brand. As a result, we decided to shoot a real class seminar to capture genuine moments and real interactions. The logistics required to shoot four students and a professor simultaneously proved incredibly complex. The two months of pre-production leading up to the shoot set us up for success in the field and laid the foundation for an intricate edit combining live action and animation. 

The result is a film that tells the story of the impact that the Active Learning Forum has on student learning and professor instruction. We explore not only the depth and breadth of the platform tools, but also highlight the real relationships that develop both inside and outside the classroom.