MFA Film students in their first year of class premiered their short films at the Fine Arts studio on Dec. 9, 2021. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)
First-year MFA Film students premiere short films
Many first semester graduate students spend the end of the semester stressing about finals, but students in the MFA Film program face another type of stress: producing films that will engage audiences.
Imagine the added pressure of creating a full story that is shown in 4 minutes or less, with three characters or less and that has no dialogue.
Such was the final semester assignment for the nineteen MFA Film students in Bryan Cole’s Introduction to Directing class who premiered their films in front of an audience of fellow students, professors, family and friends on Dec. 9.
Story plots introduced the audience to characters who learned lessons about themselves ranging from the agonizing struggle to make a connection at a match-making mixer to the fear of fighting addiction and the pain in losing a loved one.
The trailer above features short clips from each of the films produced by the first-year MFA Film students.
The first-year students spent weeks writing, blocking, recruiting, filming and editing their stories. And, since these projects were produced on very small budgets, the students had to rely on each other to serve as camera operators, sound engineers, editors and other roles required in film production.
Recruiting resources and exploring creative vision are some of the most important lessons of the program.
For Rebecca Myers, getting to know the cohort and learning to lean on each other has been the highlight of the semester.
“Truthfully, to learn to trust each other with tasks in a creative atmosphere that’s so welcoming and assertive and go-getting…I love that,” Myers said.
Albin Pepe, another first-year student, agrees.
“I wanted to avoid the culture of film schools in New York and LA,” Pepe said about his decision to apply to UGA’s MFA Film program. “I don’t see anyone in the program as my competitor. We are all collaborators. We are all like family. We are trailblazers. We are all friends.”
Pepe adds that the growth of the film industry in the state of Georgia is another draw to this program.
“Independent film in Georgia is growing and here to stay,” Pepe said.
“It’s a lot of work,” admitted Bryan Cole, who teaches the directing class to first-year students. “Balancing the production side with the writing side is work-intensive. As one of the students said, ‘I’ve never worked so hard in my life.’”