After feeling the absence of a film community in his small rural town, Adam Thiele decided to open his own film school — Thiele Film Center — in the heart of Galesburg.
Growing up 30 miles from Galesburg, he felt that people who strive to produce movies in small towns often get shot down and overlooked. Thiele is hoping to change this narrative.
“I wanted to make movies, and there was nowhere I could go to learn how. The idea of it was not even just dismissed, but it was laughable. Even art isn’t necessarily supported that much in the rural communities … I always felt like it was something I had to hide. That’s not something you can talk about because it’s not really attainable,” Thiele said.
When Thiele was in school, his football coach gave him the privilege of editing a highlight reel for his team. This was the first time that Thiele discovered editing and production, sending him down his road to a career. Since then, Thiele has worked for many television productions and castings, including American Idol and Comcast Sports. Within the last three years, Thiele found his way in front of the camera and landed roles in shows such as Chicago Med and Empire.
“Acting on camera is a lot different than acting in a theater (…) I’ve spent most of my career directing people on camera and so I know how they need to act … and I want to share that,” Thiele said.
As far as his reasoning for opening this school in Galesburg, Thiele wanted to exercise the artistic community in the area. He has no intention of competing with Knox and Carl Sandburg, but rather tha offering what they lack as far as the production aspect of film. Thiele has intentions to partner with Knox as often as possible to reach the student population.
Currently, Thiele is working at the Illinois Media School in Chicago during the week and plans to come to Galesburg each weekend to conduct his classes. He plans to host six-week classes hosted on Saturdays on topics such as acting techniques, auditioning and filmmaking. Each class will repeat. On Sundays, he has workshops that cover his other specialty: journalism. Each week he will host different aspects of media production, such as blogging, sports broadcasting and reporting.
His hope is to create a connection from Galesburg to Chicago to offer more workers into the Chicago film industry.
“Chicago is booming right now with production, more than it ever has in its history, and they are short on workers. I know people who are really good workers and have never had this opportunity before. Maybe I can make some sort of pipeline to train people and give them the opportunity that I never had,” Thiele said.
What Thiele is most excited about in regards to his new studio is the possibility of completely original work being produced and shared within the community and at large. He feels that this opportunity is unlike other film schools because of the hands-on aspect and being taught by someone who has been involved in the business and started from the ground up, just as other people in the rural community.
“Everything we do is going to be original. Whatever the students want to create, I’ll foster that idea and we’ll make original content and then hopefully build a platform where we can show people and do showcases and go from there. I want people to not be intimidated and to have fun and learn a new skill,” Thiele said.
The Thiele Film Center is located across from the Beanhive on the second floor of the Weinberg Arcade. Registering for classes is available at thielefilmcenter.com or by calling 708-429-8311. Students must be registered before Feb. 14.