First Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television, and Digital Media Degree Launched in Georgia

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The University of Georgia (UGA) has launched the state’s first Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Television, and Digital Media (MFA). As Georgia’s entertainment quickly rebounds after the pandemic shutdown, this program will produce highly trained filmmakers ready to give voice to stories that matter in today’s competitive global marketplace.

UGA’s MFA in Film program combines classroom instruction, professional training, and hands-on filmmaking opportunities. It’s focused on writing, directing, producing, and post-production. The degree — a two year, six semester program — is taught on the UGA campus in Athens, through the Georgia Film Academy at Trilith Studios (formerly Pinewood Atlanta Studios), and at OFS Studios in Gwinnett County.

UGA has assembled an outstanding faculty team to teach the curriculum, all with extensive experience in television and film production.

  • Associate Professor Neil Landau, Director of Screenwriting, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, Melrose Place, Doogie Howser, M.D., and The Magnificent Seven.
  • Professor Nate Kohn, Director of the Roger Ebert Film Festival; Executive Producer, Bayou Maharaja, Zulu Dawn, Executive Producer, Somebodies (TV series)
  • Assistant Professor Shandra MacDonald, Executive Producer, East Point, JINN
  • Assistant Professor Booker T. Mattison, Director, “The Gilded Six Bits,” Ungubani (Who Are You?)
  • Associate Professor Bryan Cole, Editor, Who Killed Malcolm X?, The C Word; Co-Editor, The Pursuit: 50 Years in LGBT Civil Rights
  • Associate Professor Julie Ray, Set Designer, Mindhunter, Neighbors 2, Love and Other Drugs

“As production ramps up in Georgia following the pandemic, this is the perfect time for UGA to launch our MFA in Film, Television, and Digital Media. With 49 film and television shows currently in production, the industry in Georgia has never been stronger,” says Jeff Springston, Director of MFA Programs.

By the Numbers

  • During the 2019 fiscal year, Georgia was home to 399 film and television projects with a combined in-state expenditure of $2.9 billion
  • Most Georgia soundstages are booked through 2021 and some through 2022
  • Georgia currently ranks among the top three film and television production centers in the nation

UGA’s new program officially launched in the Fall semester of 2020 and currently has 12 students  enrolled. The program will grow to 30 new students each year by 2024. It unfolds over two years (six consecutive semesters):

  • Year One: Fall, spring, and summer semesters are spent at the University of Georgia in Athens, with one day a week at the OFS Studios in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth.
  • Year Two: Students study during their fall, spring, and summer semesters at the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) campus located at Trillith Studios. The GFA boasts a state-of-the-art 16,000-square-foot soundstage for use by its students.

Several current students in the program, Katy Warren and Kyle Hamlin, have just been accepted into a grant competition with theFilmmaker’s First Fund, an organization dedicated to helping finance new filmmakers with promising feature length projects.

“This is the only MFA program for film production at a public university in Georgia,” said Neil Landau, Director of Screenwriting. “We are so thrilled with the response from our participants, particularly that we’ve been able to assemble such a diverse group, with half being women and half Black.”

UGA will offer the degree opportunity to students at a comparable tuition rate to other graduate programs at the university, making it one of the most affordable programs of its caliber in the country. The program is housed in UGA’s Grady College  of Journalism and Mass Communication Department of Entertainment and Media Studies, and the Film Studies Unit in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

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