Hollywood director moves to Oskaloosa to teach William Penn University film students

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OSKALOOSKA, Iowa — A film veteran with experience in two countries is bringing his skills to Iowa.

Max Leonida, who has dozens of director and producer credits to his name in America and Italy, is now the film director-in-residence for William Penn University in Oskaloosa.

“The moment I got the chance to leave Hollywood and bring everything I’ve learned in my 25 years of experience here, I didn’t think about it twice,” Leonida said.

Leonida kicked off his tenure by directing a promotional film about the university on Wednesday. More than 200 students appeared as extras during the shoot, and several film students assisted Leonida as his crew.

Leonida said he is confident he can make William Penn a premier destination for film students in the Midwest and nationwide.

“I love all the values I found here — honesty and integrity — more than in other places, especially Hollywood,” Leonida said. “I think with this kind of foundation, anything will be possible.”

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