French filmmaker Robert Bresson once said, “Make visible, what without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” SFTV Professor John Stewart encouraged his students to honor these words, even including Bresson’s quote at the top of his class syllabus. After nearly a quarter century of inspiring students and the LMU community, Professor John Stewart has retired from the University. He will be missed.
Stewart joined LMU in 1989 after serving as the head of the cinematography department at the Australian Film and Television School. Over the years at SFTV he has taught classes in film and digital video production. Stewart regularly combined technology and art in his classroom and was praised for constantly keeping students and faculty abreast of cutting-edge technology and advancements in film production. He used his expertise in this arena to help usher in digital video production curriculum and was instrumental in developing Production 200 – the required foundational course that teaches digital film and visual storytelling.
Stewart was a mentor and advocate for his students, and in 2011, the Associated Students of LMU and the Student Leadership & Development Group honored him with the Professor of the Year Award. Fellow professors noted that Stewart was thoughtful and collegial, often collaborating with other faculty members on his own creative projects. Most recently, he recruited RECA Professor Rodger Pardee to create the sound design on his short film Notes from the Northwest, which Stewart shot in Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Northern California.
“My goal has been to foster creativity, teamwork and collaboration among my students,” said Stewart. “I will miss them and my colleagues very much, but I look forward to having time to pursue my interests in filmmaking and still photography.”
Stewart’s films and videos have been widely screened at film festivals and museums throughout the United States and Europe. In 2009, the humanitarian relief organization World Vision, Canada invited him to photograph areas of Indonesia that were ravaged by a devastating earthquake and a tsunami; the resulting photos have been used in various publications around the world. He has also received a grant from the American Film Institute.