What is the current status of film production in Arizona, and how much might it mean to our state's economy?

Tucson-based film maker and film instructor Robert Loomis, who has worked in the industry in several different capacities for over 20 years, is uniquely equipped to answer those questions.

Loomis studied art and art history as an undergraduate, and received a master's degree in media arts at the University of Arizona, where he later taught film production and film financing courses. He is currently a full-time instructor with the Art Institute of Tucson.

He has been involved with dozens of media projects in both Tucson and Los Angeles, focused primarily on independent film making.

In addition to many shorts, videos and commercials, he has produced three - and directed two - feature-length films, all produced in Arizona: Catastroph (1994), Dog Years (1998) and Angry Young Man (2002). He is currently producing and directing his fourth feature film under the working title Dropkick.

Prior to the current feature, Robert also developed a DVD series for children, called Monkey Presents Kid Smart Classics, which features puppet show adaptations of classics from the world of literature.

The series includes versions of Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Herman Melville's Moby Dick , and Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. The Monkey Presents interpretation of Moby Dick was recently invited to screen regularly at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Learning about the distribution and financial struggles of the independent film maker firsthand has taught Loomis many lessons he seeks to pass on to his students. Those lessons also lead him to make the statement that "independent film making is in a state of crisis, but it has been for over a century."

The public is invited to attend a special screening of some of Robert Loomis' student's films on Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Crossroads Cinema, located at Swan & Grant in Tucson.