World Class Faculty

Screenwriting, Directing, and Producing

Our expert faculty selected to teach the MFA Film program are leaders in the art and practice of creative storytelling. They are innovators, motivators, educators and mentors. They are award-winning instructors dedicated to sharing the craft they are passionate about with the next generation of filmmakers, directors, producers and writers.

Neil Landau

Associate Professor

Neil Landau’s screenwriting credits include the cult teen comedy "Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead;" "Melrose Place," and "The Magnificent Seven," among others. His animated movie projects include "Tad: The Lost Explorer" (aka Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones) for which he earned a Spanish Academy “Goya” Award and Cinema Writers’ Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (2014).

Sanghoon Lee Headshot

Sanghoon Lee

Director of Cinematography | Assistant Professor, MFA Film

Lee has completed several award-winning dramatic features as the cinematographer and producer, including "Chicago Heights" and "Hogtown." His credits also include feature documentaries "Today We Saw the Face of God" and "Breakfast at Ina’s." In 2018 he wrote directed his first feature film, Banana Season. He has taught MFA and film production courses previously at Governors State University, DePaul University and Northwestern University.

Richard Neupert

Charles H. Wheatley Professor of the Arts and a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dept. of Theatre and Film Studies

Dr. Richard Neupert teaches film history and theory. His special areas of interest are French cinema, narrative theory and animation.

Nate Kohn

Professor, Entertainment & Media Studies; Director, Roger Ebert’s Film Festival

Dr. Nate Kohn teaches screenwriting, producing for film/television, and qualitative methods; directs UGA’s Cannes Film Festival Study Abroad Program; and has produced award-winning films that have premiered at Sundance, Toronto and SXSW.

Patricia Verducci

Instructor, Screenwriting

Pat wrote and directed the feature film True Crime, starting Alicia Silverstone, and has written screenplays for Touchstone Pictures, Witt-Thomas Productions, and Disney’s animation division. She has also worked as a story consultant for Disney/Pixar.

Shandra L. McDonald

Director of Production | Assistant Professor, Dept. of Theatre and Film Studies

Shandra L. McDonald is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer with more than 30 years of experience in the television and film industry. Shandra has created content that has aired on networks including Showtime, Oxygen, TV One, CBS, BET, NBC and more. Shandra's film projects have screened at many U.S. and international festivals including the British Film Institute, the Cannes Film Festival and the Fespaco Film Festival.

Leandro Tadashi headshot

Leandro Tadashi

Assistant Professor, MFA Film

Leandro Tadashi's short films have been screened in over 300 festivals worldwide, includingFestival de Cinema de Gramado (Brazil) and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival (France). In Los Angeles, he directed the short “Tomorrow” (2014), and co-directed the feature “Actors Anonymous” (2017).

Headshot of Carl Ellsworth

Carl Ellsworth

Instructor, Screenwriting

Carl Ellsworth has been a Hollywood screenwriter for 25 years. His feature film credits include “Unhinged," “Disturbia,” Wes Craven’s “Red Eye,” and the 2009 remake of “The Last House on the Left,” a film Stephen King called “the best horror movie of the new century.” His television credits include “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Xena: Warrior Princess,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

David Sigurani

Instructor, Producing

David Sigurani's current television credits as Executive Producer include Peacock’s upcoming “Dead Day” by Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec, AMC Network's "The Boulet Brother's Dragula: Resurrection," Netflix's "Bonding," Channel 4's "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared," and VRV's "Magic Funhouse." He has worked on over 20 television series including seasons of the “The Office,” "Orange is the New Black," "Mad Men," “Nashville,” “Devious Maids,” and “Chasing Life.”

Joey Siara

Instructor, Screenwriting

Joey Siara is a New York based screenwriter. He spent his twenties performing in an indie rock band and has seen nearly every state in the country through the cracked window of a Ford Econoline. The band played over five-hundred shows including sets at Lollapalooza and Coachella. His music has been featured in several TV series – from SONS OF ANARCHY to PARENTHOOD to GOSSIP GIRL. Post-band, he received a Master’s from Harvard, an MFA from UCLA, and worked on shows for CNN, PBS, and DISCOVERY before focusing on scripted work. In the last few years, he's been staffed on EMERGENCE for ABC, wrote a comedy feature for Limelight Pictures, and published a short-story -- The Last of the Goggled Barskys for Slate. He is currently developing a comedy-thriller with Littleton Road (DR. DEATH) for UCP and a new sci-fi comedy series with his brother Andy (screenwriter of PALM SPRINGS) and Drew Goddard (THE MARTIAN) for Hulu. And at this moment, he is staffed on THE RESORT, produced by Sam Esmail (MR. ROBOT) for Peacock. When not writing, you can probably find Joey teaching at UCLA, playing guitar, or searching for the best bagel in New York City.

Julie Ray

Associate Professor, Head, Dept. of Theatre and Film Studies

Julie Ray has more than 20 years of experience designing scenery for theatre, film and television. She has designed scenery for feature films including "Love & Other Drugs," "Abduction" and "13 Days."

George Contini

Performance Area Head, Dept. of Theatre and Film Studies

George Contini is a Professor in the University of Georgia's Theatre and Film Studies Department where he specializes in Characterization, Acting on Camera, Queer Theatre and Film, and Solo Performance.

Ivan Ingermann

Head of Design Area, Associate Professor, Dept. of Theatre and Film Studies

Ivan Ingermann is a professor in the University of Georgia's Theatre and Film Studies Department where he will teach the Costume Design for TV and Film class and is Head of our Design Area.

Ryan Farley and his dog

Ryan Farley

Instructor, Screenwriting

Ryan is Detroit native and an MFA graduate from USC’s Film School. His credits include "Ozark," "Cold Case," and FX’s upcoming limited series, "Gladiator," among others.

Sarah Watson

Instructor, Screenwriting

Sarah Watson is a writer/executive producer/showrunner who created "The Bold Type." Her TV writing/ producing credits include "Parenthood" and "About a Boy." She is a writer/creator/showrunner of the forthcoming TV project "Untitled Reenactment Project: The Goonies," for executive producers Gail Berman, Steven Spielberg and Richard & Lauren Shuler Donner, shooting in Atlanta.

Michael Narducci

Instructor, Screenwriting

Michael Narducci is a writer/producer/ showrunner whose credits include “Superman & Lois,” “The Originals,” "The Vampire Diaries" and "Medium."

Industry Mentors

Our students learn and receive mentorship from some of the best producers, screenwriters, filmmakers and TV showrunners the entertainment industry has to offer.


For more information about the MFA Film Program, please contact Sarah Grizzle.

Harika Bommana

MFA Film Program Coordinator

MFA program Film, Television & Digital Media

Grady College



This is the only MFA program for film production at a public university in Georgia and is offered to students at the same tuition rate as other graduate programs at UGA, making it one of the most affordable programs of its caliber in the country.

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