MFA Film program announces Distinguished Industry Mentor initiative; applications open until Dec. 1 for second year of program

MFA Film program announces Distinguished Industry Mentor initiative; applications open until Dec. 1 for second year of program

October 26, 2020
Amel Alyamani/Sarah

Details about the MFA Film program and the Dec. 1, 2020 application deadline can be viewed on the MFA Film website.

As the application timeline opens for its second year, the University of Georgia’s Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media announces a new addition: the start of the Distinguished Industry Mentor program.

The Distinguished Industry Mentors initiative will draw on top talent from more than 45 professional writers, producers and directors to work with the students by providing master classes, hosted conversations, special screenings of their work and networking opportunities. Mentors signed on to help include recent Emmy winner Damon Lindelof, co-creator/showrunner of “Watchmen,” “The Leftovers” and “Lost”; Amy Aniobi, executive producer of “Insecure” and “Two Dope Queens”; and Justin Hillian, showrunner of “The Chi“, among others.

Steven Canals, co-creator, director and executive producer of “Pose” will be a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence for the MFA Film program in spring 2021. Canals and “Pose” won a Peabody Award in 2018.

This spring, the program will host Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, Steven Canals, co-creator, director and executive producer of hit television series, “Pose,” to teach writing techniques and provide critique for students.

“Our goal is to provide students with a world-class education and that includes having contacts with some of the most accomplished television and film professionals in the business,” said Dr. Jeff Springston, director of the MFA Film, Television and Digital Media program. “Our faculty have invited their extensive network of Hollywood talent to the program through our Distinguished Industry Mentors and Writers-in-Residence initiatives. These connections not only set our program apart from others, but the mentors are sure to provide inspiration and motivation to our students.”

This fall, the University of Georgia and the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) rolled out the state’s first-ever professional Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program for Georgia filmmakers and content creators, in collaboration with film industry center, Trilith. Through this master’s program, the state is building a content creation industry to rival that of Hollywood.

“This is an unprecedented advancement in laying the foundation to create writing and content creation jobs in Georgia,” said Jeffrey Stepakoff, executive director of the GFA. “For the past five years, we have been actively training a robust workforce of Georgians in below-the-line fields, and this program will create opportunities for storytellers, who would otherwise have to leave the state for jobs in New York and Los Angeles.”

Joining the list of MFA Film faculty this academic year are industry veterans Neil Landau and Bryan Cole. Neil Landau joined the faculty as director of screenwriting. Landau’s screen credits include cult teen comedy “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” “Melrose Place,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” among others. Accomplished editor Bryan Cole, editor of “Who Killed Malcom X, also joins the program in January 2021 as associate professor, Department of Theatre and Film Studies.

“Drawing this level of talent to Georgia sends a strong message to the industry,” said Stepakoff. “Georgia means business.”

After spending their first year studying at UGA’s campus in Athens, MFA Film students spend the second year taking residence with GFA at Trilith, the 935-acre master development for the creative industries in South Metro Atlanta that is home to Trilith Studios, the second largest purpose-built studio in North America, where blockbuster films like “Avengers: Endgame” were produced. The studios feature 18 sound stages ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet with adjacent workshop facilities and an extensive 400-acre backlot. Immersed in the industry, students will gain real-world experience in advanced writing, production, advanced directing, computer animation and thesis films, and will graduate with a master’s degree from UGA.

Applications for the fall 2021 cohort are open until December 1.