UGA to drive film industry workforce with new postgraduate programme

SOURCE: Avel Chuklanov/Unsplash
Georgia is a national leader in the american film and TV industry.

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

The University of Georgia (UGA) will foster a new generation of film industry talents with its new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film, Television and Digital Media programme, a product of a unique partnership. 

A first of its kind partnership between the University of Georgia, the Georgia Film Academy, and Pinewood Forest, a new creative community located adjacent to the acclaimed Pinewood Atlanta Studios, will contribute to the ever-growing workforce in Georgia’s film industry with the inception of the two-year postgraduate programme. 

The MFA programme combines efforts and expertise of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences together with industrial expertise from the Pinewood Forest and the Georgia Film Academy. 


The two-year programme involves students taking classes in an academic setting during the first year, and producing projects in a major studio setting during the second year. 

“The University of Georgia is uniquely positioned to house this interdisciplinary program that will make a lasting economic and educational impact on one of our state’s leading industries,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. 

“As Georgia continues to grow as a world leader in film and TV production, UGA will help to meet our state’s critical need for world-class writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors and other key personnel for years to come,” said Grady College Dean Charles N. Davis.

Georgia is already a very prominent state that contributes greatly to the national film sector. In the 2019 fiscal year, the state hosted 391 film and television projects that had a direct in-state spend of US$2.9 billion. 

Moreover, according to the Motion Picture Association, there are about 45,800 direct motion picture and television jobs in Georgia alone waiting to be filled. 

The Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media (MFA)  programme will nurture a skilled workforce of next-generation leaders to meet these industry demands. 

film industry
The programme will provide students with hands-on industry experience. Source: Kal Visuals/Unsplash. 

The programme will expand the university’s ongoing lineup of educational offerings related to the film and television industry which includes Grady College’s entertainment and media studies major and Franklin College’s film studies major. 

“This program is an important step in the evolution of film studies at UGA as we continue to broaden our students’ creative abilities,” added Dean of Franklin College  Alan Dorsey. 

“The collaboration between Franklin College and Grady College will produce many new imaginative projects and prepare a new generation of graduate students for exciting careers in global media.” 

UGA’s film programme is the only master of fine arts programme in film production to be offered in a public university in Georgia. 

The programme will also be offered to students at a reasonable tuition rate comparable to that of other graduate programmes offered at the university, this makes it one of the most financially accessible programmes of its caliber in the country. 

The programme is expected to welcome a diverse group of students ranging from recent graduates to experienced individuals who have worked a few years in the industry. 

The MFA Film programme will be a two-year (six-semester), 62-credit-hour programme which will combine academic teaching and learning with capstone experiences and professional internships. 

For the first year, students will take courses in writing for the screen, producing, directing, film history, audio production and lighting, and more at UGA’s campus in Athens. 

And for the second year, they will proceed to work on capstone projects and internships while living at Pinewood Forest, a 235-acre residential and mixed-use development that will house an urban community of storytellers, creators and entrepreneurs. 

Second-year courses will include advanced writing, advanced production, advanced directing, computer animation and thesis films. 

“The vision for Pinewood has always been to create an extraordinary environment for the next generation of creators, storytellers and entrepreneurs,” said Pinewood Atlanta Studios owner Dan Cathy, who has been instrumental to the inception of the MFA programme through providing personal financial support and accommodation at Pinewood Forest. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Jeffrey Stepakoff, President Morehead, Dean Davis and everyone involved by hosting these inspiring students and faculty at Pinewood.”


The programme will feature student-created films and television projects produced in collaboration with industry professionals each year. 

To add on to industry collaboration for the programme, industry-related workshops and lectures will be sponsored by the programme and, as the programme grows, partnerships will be established with additional professional production sites in Georgia. 

For now, the Georgia Film Academy will provide its existing resources and expertise as fundamentals and advanced courses in film and television production will be taught in partnership with the acclaimed institution. 

“Along with providing affordable, accessible, high-quality training, this critical new professional degree program will help ensure that Georgia has its own complete and sustainable entertainment industry,” said Georgia Film Academy executive director Jeffrey Stepakoff.

The MFA in Film, Television and Digital Media will be an exciting addition to UGA’s existing Master in Fine Arts programmes. For instance, an MFA in narrative nonfiction, which includes a screenwriting track, was launched in Grady College in 2015.

The Master in Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media will accept its first cohort of students in fall 2020 and applications will be accepted until 15 February 2020.