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UGA students learning on the set

Alan Flurry

The MFA Film program prepares students for careers in writing, directing, and producing by equipping them with a broad set of skills, connecting them with seasoned professionals, and giving them hands-on experience with Georgia’s multibillion-dollar film industry. With one year in Athens and the second year at Georgia's Trilith Studios, MFA students get the opportunity to create alongside – and learn from – the best:

This fall, Shandra McDonald, an Atlanta-based independent filmmaker and a newly hired faculty member, taught a directing course at Trilith. She focuses on working with actors, understanding the impact a camera lens and angle can have on an audience, and bringing the most out of the script. Ultimately, she’s helping students express their artistic visions while being prepared for the chaos that comes with directing.

“Murphy’s law (‘anything that can go wrong will’) is this big old Godzilla monster of a beast who is going to be on every single set,” McDonald says. “But I try to teach them how to have enough preplanning and preproduction so that they can feed his belly, so that when he shows up on your set, he’s just not as hungry.”

In other words, McDonald, along with her colleague at Trilith, Sanghoon Lee, is preparing them to weather the adversity that comes with creating meaningful work. McDonald, who earned her MFA in film from Howard University, says graduate programs are a golden opportunity to learn the discipline, discover an artistic vision—and, practically speaking, create projects that win film festivals and jump-start careers.

Continue reading the Georgia Magazine feature on the MFA Film program...

Image: MFA faculty member Shandra McDonald

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