POCATELLO, Idaho – Former “Gilligan’s Island” star Dawn Wells is opening up a film and television studio in eastern Idaho to teach the multiple disciplines of show business.
Wells played Mary Ann, a perky, ponytailed farm girl who was cast away with six other characters in the iconic 1960s television comedy.
The Film and Television Institute will be an accredited partner with Idaho State University and Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. It will offer instruction in screenwriting, cinematography, sound engineering, set design, editing, costuming, makeup and hairstyling.
The project will be housed in a former Ford car and truck dealership. No opening date has been announced, but remodeling of the 22,000 square-foot building is expected to begin immediately.
“It has exactly the right blend of large spaces and intimate offices to enable us to convert it to state-of-the-art soundstages and classrooms,” said Wells, president of the institute’s board of directors.
Wells, who spent childhood summers with her father in Idaho, returned to the state in 1992. She bought property in Driggs — a tiny but trendy eastern Idaho enclave — and has conducted a “boot camp” for actors there for years.
Last year, she was a driving force behind the Spudfest Film Festival. The Film and Television Institute is an outgrowth of that effort.
The institute’s production area will carry its own name — Tri-Power Studios — with a fully equipped professional soundstage and editing facility.
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