Film professor gets Adjunct Professor of the Year

Elliot Tritto

Central Bureau Chief


William A. Ward Once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

Each year, Broward College provides a special award to one professor who shows that an individual goes above and beyond to help their students.

Throughout student nominations and interviews with BC faculty, this year’s adjunct professor goes to a very compassionate and gifted teacher, Zoila Millen.

If you haven’t heard, she teaches Film at Central Campus and informs students about the reality of what it’s like to be in the film industry. Also, teaching at Broward, she’s been credited to executing and producing 50 shorts from Broward and Miami-Dade College

She was also the location assistant to the 2016 Oscar-winning picture, Moon Light. She also advises the newly formed Broward College Film Club.

Millen has a lot on her plate and discussed her present-day life.

“The semester is doing great. I’m executing and producing 50 films between Broward College and Miami Dade. So, it’s pretty busy. It’s pretty hectic because in Miami-Dade, I’m doing the Upper-level Decision of Film IV and in Advanced Cinematography. So those films are more advanced where they have more equipment, more money, more time, and they shoot off-campus during the weekends. So, I have to go and shadow once or twice a week for the next three weeks in October while we shoot six films in Miami-Dade.”

From that, I further asked her how she manages her time from being a full-time teacher and filmmaker.

“I consistently repeat myself and become sterner in my execution of scheduling and accountability. As long as I can keep everyone scheduled and accountable; I can keep track of what’s going on. For instance, I have their schedule for the next five weeks. They have to schedule actors for shooting and letting them know it’s not a game anymore; now I’ve given you the tools and understanding the principles of storytelling, execution of film production, and how is it going to get done. Now students have work, so they’re alive and enthusiastic to get the job done.”

Millen pic

Professor Millen teaches film at BC. Photo Courtesy of Zoila Millen


Having been a student in her class for screenwriting, I asked about what’s the difference between screenwriting and film production. Also, what students feel they’re more inspired to learn.

“Screenwritings all about what’s the theme, what’s the point, who’s the character, what’s the dramatic need, and what’s the resolution. Does he get it, does he not? How does Neo end the Matrix? Film is all about how we are going to shoot it.

“Elliot gave me a screenplay. Now me as a director, producer, or a DP, I have to figure out logistically, how am I going to get a team to shoot this blueprint.? I have a script, now what?  With that being said, my students have a much better understanding of film production. But it always blows their mind of how much power they can gain in screenwriting. It depends on where they want their power to lie, where they want their career or journey to go. But you always get them awake in different areas when they didn’t realize that’s whose jobs and responsibility it was for that particular position.”

Every generation is different about why they want to be involved in film. Such as an individual’s ambition to tell a story or inform the audience about a new or old topic that should be looked into. Millen described what she sees in her students and what she wants her students to learn.

“International students seem to fight for the story or better understand the technique. Whereas the Americanized students in this day in age are here for fame. I have to break down and tell my students that “Hey guys, remember, we’re not here for the fame.” Please don’t come in here thinking its Kardashian land. You’re here to learn the intricacies and understanding of how to tell stories, and utilize that to sell products, to push a narrative or an objective for a client or company. Film can be used to make money, creatively as well. However, I think they’re thinking I’m here; I have a camera I’m going to be famous. That’s not what this is. So, I try to break down that illusion, to push a narrative for jobs. “

“Also, I want my students to learn from me, go out and get a job as soon as possible. From the tools I’ve bestowed on you, go out and do what you feel is right. Oh, and make sure you get paid.”