My time as a film student gave me confidence that I could make a real contribution in the film industry without compromising my beliefs. I continue to draw strength from the principles taught to me as well as from the friends and associates I made as a student at BYU. This spiritual and creative community is a continuing blessing in my life.
Ian Puente is a filmmaker, attorney, and vice-president of business development at Samuel Goldwyn Films in Los Angeles. Puente’s interest in film began when he was a child. Starting as a freshman at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, he was eager to learn about how movies were made and the business operations behind them.
After returning from an LDS mission, Puente transferred from Sierra College to Brigham Young University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in film in 1999. Puente was impressed with BYU’s filmmaking facilities which he said were among the best of any university in the country. The program gave Puente a basic understanding of the film industry that served as a foundation for his later career.
“It gave me confidence that I could contribute to the film industry,” Puente said. “I found BYU to be invaluable.”
Puente appreciated being able to learn in an environment where he felt safe to share his own spiritual experiences with film. He considers one of the biggest advantages to studying at BYU was having a community of other people that were working toward similar goals without compromising their morals.
“Friends that I made at BYU are friends to this day,” Puente said. “It’s been a wonderful support network.”
Although his career path has been unconventional since his graduation from BYU, he has stayed close to film. He studied Hebrew and Jewish studies at Oxford for a year, doing his master’s thesis in Israeli cinema. Following that, he worked toward earning a degree from Columbia Law School where he focused on entertainment law. After gaining experience in business development in a variety of positions, Puente was tapped to become vice president of Samuel Goldwyn Films.