What has become the Colorado Film School at the Community College of Aurora started as a “Camera-ready” program initiated by the Colorado Film Commission and taken up by Red Rocks Community College in the early 1990’s. A few courses in the Theater department grew into the Film Video Technology program at Red Rocks headed-up by Frederic Lahey.
Lahey was recruited by Mark Heckler, founding Dean of the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, to create a film program for CAM at UCD. They created a “2+2” program under RRCC and UCD with a common curriculum, sharing facilities, equipment, staff and faculty with Lahey as the Director of the program for both institutions. From 1998-2008 the joint program offered Certificates, AGS and BFA degrees in Film/Video.
At the time of the UCD/RRCC merger (1998), the program moved to the Higher Education Advanced Technology (HEAT) campus at the former Lowry Airforce Base. The Associates side of the program migrated from Red Rocks to the Community College of Aurora, which already had a number of programs situated at the Lowry campus, around 2001.
In 2008, as Heckler moved on to become the President of Valparaiso University, there was an institutional parting of the ways due to the differing focus of the two programs.