DISTINGUISHED INDUSTRY MENTORS
Steven Canals: Distinguished Writer-in-Residence
Coming in spring 2021, Steven Canals will be our first Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, teaching writing techniques and providing critique for students.
Canals is one of the most sought-after voices in entertainment. He is co-creator, executive producer, director and producer of “Pose,” which won critical acclaim with a Peabody Award, nominations by Emmy and Golden Globe and accolades as one of the Best TV Programs of the Year by the American Film Institute in 2018 and 2019. His latest project, “In the End,” is currently under development by ABC.
He was recently featured on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Issue and named to their list of 2020’s “50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood.” He has an exclusive deal with 20th Century TV to develop projects that highlight voices and stories from historically marginalized communities.
Distinguished Industry Mentors
A stellar ensemble of professional screenwriters, directors, producers and executives, our board of Distinguished Industry Mentors represent some of the most celebrated storytellers and filmmakers working today. Each of our mentors has pledged to support our MFA Film students by providing master classes, hosted conversations, special screenings of their work and networking opportunities.
Amy Aniobi is a writer/executive producer on Issa Rae’s Emmy Award-nominated “Insecure.” Additional TV writing credits include story editor for "Silicon Valley,” writer/executive producer of "Two Dope Queens," and the web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”
Thomas Carter is a three-time Emmy Award winner, including one for “Don King: Only in America,” which is also won a Peabody Award. Carter is recipient of a DGA Award for “Hill Street Blues.” His directing credits include the feature films “Coach Carter” and “Save the Last Dance,” and episodic TV credits include the pilot for “Miami Vice,” “Animal Kingdom,” “New Amsterdam,” and “American Gods.”
Chuck Hayward’s TV credits include writer/co-producer "Dear White People" and supervising producer on "Mixed-ish”; his film credits: “Step-Sisters,” and the upcoming remake of the movie "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead."
David Koepp is a screenwriter whose credits include “Jurassic Park,” “Spider-Man,” “Panic Room,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Mission: Impossible,” and “War of the Worlds.” Writer/director credits include “Stir of Echoes” and "Ghost Town.”
Noga Landau is writer/co-creator/executive producer/showrunner of “Nancy Drew,” and co-creator of its new spinoff, "Tom Swift." Additional TV writing/producing credits: “Wayward Pines,” “The Magicians,” and “See.” Feature film credits: “Tau” and the forthcoming “Sweet Tooth” for New Line.
Felischa Marye is writer/creator/executive producer/showrunner of “Bigger.” “Bigger Season 2” is currently in development for BET+. Felischa also wrote for two seasons of “13 Reasons Why.”
Jeff Melvoin is a writer/executive producer/showrunner whose credits include “Killing Eve” (Emmy Award nominee for outstanding drama series); “Designated Survivor,” “Army Wives,” “Alias,” and “Northern Exposure,” for which he won an Emmy Award. Melvoin is founder and chair of the Writers Guild of America’s Showrunner Training Program and the Writers Education Committee.
Chris Mundy is writer/executive producer/showrunner of the Emmy Award-nominated “Ozark” (which shoots in Georgia). He created and executive produced “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” and AMC’s “Low Winter Sun.” Additional TV credits include “Criminal Minds,” “Hell on Wheels” and “Bloodline.” Before television, Mundy was senior writer and contributing editor at "Rolling Stone."
James Ponsoldt's first feature, "Off the Black," premiered at Sundance in 2006 and his second, "Smashed," won a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Festival. Other films include "Refresh, Refresh," "The Spectacular Now" and "The End of The Tour."
Davita Scarlett is writer/co-executive producer of "The Good Fight" and "Evil." Additional TV writer/producer credits include "Queen Sugar" and "Animal Kingdom.”
David Semel has directed 23 TV pilots, of which 18 have gone to series. His directing credits include an Emmy Award nomination for the pilot for “Heroes”; he also directed the pilots for “Star Trek: Discovery,” “The Man in the High Castle,” "Goliath," "Code Black," "Madame Secretary", "Person of Interest"; he served as co-executive producer and episodic director during season 2 of “House, MD” (Emmy Award nominee). Additional directing credits include "Homeland" and "Watchmen.”
Veena Sud is an Emmy Award-nominated writer/executive producer/showrunner, who adapted/created “The Killing” and “Seven Seconds.” Sud was featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2011 Power Showrunners List.
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.
Two-time Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe winner, Bonnie Arnold is a veteran filmmaker and imaginative storytelelr. As an accomplished producer in almost every genre, she most recently produced the "How to Train Your Dragon" animated series. Her producing credits also include “Toy Story,” “Tarzan” and “Dances with Wolves.”
Writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s films have screened at the Venice, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals. Bahrani has won numerous awards including the FIPRESCI critic’s prize for best film in Venice ("Goodbye Solo") and a Guggenheim Fellowship among many others. His latest films are "99 Homes" and "The White Tiger," which he wrote and directed.
Stuart Beattie is a screenwriter, director, and producer whose credits include "Collateral,” "Pirates of the Caribbean," "Derailed,” "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Australia," and "I, Frankenstein" (which he also directed).
Kiley Donovan began her career as a staff writer on "Grey's Anatomy.” She is currently writer/co-executive producer of both “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Station 19” for Shondaland.
Justin Hillian is writer/executive producer/showrunner for "The Chi.” Additional TV writing/producing credits include writer/consulting producer: “Snowfall”; "I'm Dying Up Here" and "Superstore.”
Bo Yeon Kim is a writer/producer. Along with her writing partner Erika Lippoldt, she is he co-creator/co-executive producer on the upcoming “Star Trek” spinoff series starring Michelle Yeoh. Kim has also written for "Reign," and most recently an animated feature film for Mythos Studios.
Allison Liddi-Brown is a DGA-Award-winning director whose credits include "Friday Night Lights," “Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Good Doctor," "Shameless," "The L Word: Generation Q," "Transparent" (as director/co-executive producer).
Nancy Oliver is a writer/producer whose original screenplay, "Lars and the Real Girl," was nominated for an Academy Award. Her TV credits include "Six Feet Under" and "True Blood," for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Michael Narducci is a writer/producer/ showrunner whose credits include “Superman & Lois,” “The Originals,” "The Vampire Diaries" and "Medium."
Billy Ray wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay "Captain Phillips," for which he won the WGA award. He also wrote, directed and executive-produced Showtime's "The Comey Rule," which had the biggest debut of any limited series in that network's history. Ray's films as writer, co-writer, or writer-director include "The Hunger Games," "Richard Jewell," "Shattered Glass" and "Breach."
Francesca Sloane is a writer/supervising producer on Donald Glover’s acclaimed series “Atlanta.” Additional TV credits: writer/supervising producer on the fourth season of “Fargo,” executive story editor for “The First,” and staff writer on “Seven Seconds.” She will be making her directorial feature debut on "Headbangers" which was recently recognized by the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive (2020), as well as "Black List" and "NALIP," on their inaugural list of best unproduced Latinx screenplays.
Kit Steinkellner is a writer/executive producer/showrunner who created the critically acclaimed series "Sorry for Your Loss," starring Elizabeth Olsen, for FacebookWatch. She was also a staff writer on "Z: The Beginning of Everything."
Pam Veasey is a writer/executive producer/showrunner whose credits include “CSI-NY” and “In Living Color” for which she received numerous Emmy Award nominations. She was the co-showrunner for “LA’s Finest,” and is currently working on “Long Slow Exhale” for Spectrum.
Co-creator/writer/executive producer/showrunner of the Emmy Award- winning Unorthodox; Deutschland 83/86 (winner of a Peabody Award and International Emmy).
Lizzy Weiss is a writer/creator/executive producer/showrunner whose credits include the Peabody Award-winning “Switched at Birth,” which she also created, and “Sorry for Your Loss." As a screenwriter, she wrote the feature film "Blue Crush.” In addition to the Peabody, Weiss has won the Gracie Award, which honors programming created by women for women.
Cary Brokaw is an award-winning producer whose credits include "Closer," "Angels in America," "Short Cuts," "The Player," "Wit," "Normal" and "Drugstore Cowboy." He won an Emmy Award for "Wit" and an Emmy Award and PGA Award for "Angels in America."
David Gordon Green was the director and screenwriter for "George Washington," which won the New York Film Critics' Circle Award for best first feature before going on to win festival awards internationally. Additional films include "All The Real Girls," "Pineapple Express," "Joe," "Stronger" and the reboot of the "Halloween" franchise.
Hadjii Hand's first feature, "Somebodies," premiered at the 2006
Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive a Golden Thumb Award from legendary film
critic, Roger Ebert. He is currently working as a co-executive producer on "Step Up: High Water" for Starz and is also developing the animated series, "Gigi Stew," for FOX.
Amanda Green served as writer/producer for 12 seasons on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Additional TV credits as writer/co-executive producer include “Manifest,” “Lethal Weapon,” and “The Mysteries of Laura.”
Gloria Calderón Kellett is writer/executive producer/co-creator/co-showrunner of the reboot of Norman Lear’s "One Day at a Time”; she is co-writing the feature film "We Were There, Too" for HBOMax. TV writing/ producing and/or directing credits include: "How I Met Your Mother," "Devious Maids," "Rules of Engagement," "United We Fall" and "Mr. Iglesias."
Ellen Kreamer is a writer/executive producer/showrunner whose credits include 6 seasons of "Friends," for which she won an Emmy Award. Additional TV writing/producing credits: "I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and "American Housewife."
Screenwriter: "World War Z," "Prometheus," "Star Trek: Into the Darkness." Co-creator/writer/ executive producer/showrunner: "Lost" (Emmy and PGA Award winner); "The Leftovers" (Emmy Award nominee); "Watchmen": winner of 11 Emmy Awards, including outstanding limited drama series and outstanding writing for a limited drama series, “This Extraordinary Being” (co-written with Cord Jefferson).
Dawn Prestwich writer/executive producer/co-creator/co-showrunner of the forthcoming Netflix series “Hit & Run.” She served as co-creator/ executive producer/co-showrunner of “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” as writer/co-executive producer on “The Killing” and “Brotherhood,” for which she won a Peabody Award. Additional TV writer/producer credits include "Carnivale," "Judging Amy,” and “The Riches.”
Tanya Saracho is creator/executive producer/showrunner/director of “Vida.” Additional TV writing credits include co-producer on "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Looking." She has a development deal with Universal Cable Productions to create original content, as well as an incubator/lab for emerging Latinx writers.
Gordon Smith is writer/executive producer of "Better Call Saul," for which he earned a WGA Award and several Emmy Award nominations. He began his career as a production assistant on "Breaking Bad."
Howard Suber taught generations of screenwriters, directors, producers during his more than 50 years on the faculty of UCLA’s celebrated film school. He authored two books: "The Power of Film" and "Letters to Young Film Makers." Suber was awarded UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award and two life achievement awards by film festivals.
Andrew Kevin Walker wrote "Se7en," the 1995 film directed by David Fincher and featuring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. He also wrote "Brainscan," "Sleepy Hollow" directed by Tim Burton, and "Nerdland." Many of his scripts are available at andrewkevinwalker.com.
Nicole Yorkin is writer/executive producer/co-creator/co-showrunner of the forthcoming Netflix series “Hit & Run.” She served as co-creator/ executive producer/showrunner of “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” as writer/co-executive producer on “The Killing” and “Brotherhood,” for which she won a Peabody Award. Yorkin collaborates with Dawn Prestwich, a fellow UGA MFA Film Distinguished Industry Mentor.
For more information about the MFA Film Program, please contact Dr. Jeff Springston.
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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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