Watch interviews, read the latest about the MFA Film program and stay up to date on the latest industry news involving Georgia productions.

MFA Film thesis film to premiere at Atlanta Film Festival


Grady College • April 16, 2023

“Black Butterfly,” a thesis film written, directed, produced and edited by Kelvin Summerhill (MFA ’22), has been selected as one of the narrative short films to premiere at the 47th Annual Atlanta Film Festival.

“This is a huge accomplishment since more than 10,000 of filmmakers submitted films to the festival and only 40 or so narrative shorts have been selected,” said Neil Landau, executive director of the MFA Film, Television and Digital Media program at the University of Georgia. “This is a big milestone for Kelvin and our program.”

The Backlight Student Film Festival, presented by the University of Georgia Entertainment Media Industries Club, known as The Industry, and the University Union…Submitted student films were reviewed by a selection committee of 23 UGA students, and finalist films were judged by a panel of 12 professors, alumni and industry professionals at the festival.

“Queue” by Mary Goodwin won Best Mid-Length Film, Best Sound, Best Screenplay and Best Production Design in the festival…“Transitioning” won Best Score and its director, Xavier Brown, was awarded Best Director. Elise Kimple won Best Actress for her performance in “Look At Me.”

UGA MFA Film program goes green


Grady College • April 12, 2023

Film sets are hubs for creation. They are where concepts and ideas turn into visual, captivating works of art. But, unfortunately, television shows and movies aren’t the only thing created on film sets. Historically, film sets have also been notorious for creating tons of waste, pumping plastic water bottles, plates, utensils, coffee cups and more into landfills.

The UGA Master of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program, however, is on a mission to make sure that on its sets, waste is as minimal as possible.

University of Georgia master’s of fine arts student Matt Hudgins just received a sustainability grant for his project “And…Action! Bringing sustainability on-set with the MFA in Film, Television, and Digital Media.”

The project was devised to “help reduce the environmental footprint of UGA student film productions, as well as enhance sustainability for the future of film in Georgia.”

In this episode, we speak with Neil Landau, the executive director of the Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program, about what the program has to offer. Landau explains the growth of the program, the new partnership with Athena Studios, which includes a 14,600-square-foot student studio space, the advantage for students provided by Georgia’s bustling film industry, the impact that the program’s many mentors, who are legendary producers, A-list screenwriters and award-winning show runners, have on students enrolled in the program, and more.

When the British film studio company Pinewood opened a production facility outside Atlanta in 2014, it framed the venture as a one-stop-shop alternative to the mature but spatially fragmented system in Hollywood. With a high-tech media center, soundstages, offices, prop houses, and set builders all colocated, Pinewood Atlanta was a turnkey space for filming.

Today, the Atlanta-based founders of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, one of the largest purpose-built studios in North America and home to blockbuster films like Avengers: Endgame, and Pinewood Forest, a 235-acre New Urbanist town, unveiled a live-work concept called Trilith. This new 935-acre master development includes the studio, now called Trilith Studios, as well as a slate of vendor businesses, custom homes and micro-villages, chef-driven restaurants and thought-leading schools, all aimed at servicing the film and creative industries.

Pinewood Atlanta Studios, production home for Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” is rebranding itself as Trilith Studios as part of a 935-acre master development.

Neil Landau talks with Georgia Hollywood Review

Georgia Hollywood Review • Oct. 7, 2020

Episode 298: Screenwriter Neil Landau (“Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”) discusses his new role as director of screenwriting at UGA, why he moved to Georgia and gives tips for writers.

Interview with MFA Film director of screenwriting Neil Landau 

Atlanta Film Chat Podcast/Cinema Atlanta Magazine • Oct. 5, 2020

Video of Instagram interview. Georgia Hollywood Review Talks Live with writer/author/UGA Professor Neil Landau. Landau shares how his film “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead” was his break into the industry and what an exciting program he is anchoring for The University of Georgia’s new Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media.

Pinewood Atlanta Studios, production home for Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” has launched plans for a 220,000 square-foot expansion that will be completed in the spring of 2022.

Looking for an environmentally friendly community where you don’t have to drive everywhere? This new community might just be the answer for you. (And it is next to a large movie studio if show biz is your dream.) The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences has teamed with Pinewood Forest and the Georgia Film Academy, located at the studio, to create a Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program. During their second year, students will work on capstone projects and internships at the studio while living at Pinewood Forest. 

UGA to show regents plans for movie studio, new dorm

Athens Banner Herald • Jan. 7, 2020

The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication plans a multi-million dollar studio renovation for its new Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program. The $3.75 million project, including about $2 million in construction, will be paid for with donated funds, according to information UGA officials submitted to the state Board of Regents in advance of the board’s monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Pinewood Atlanta announced a $16.5 million investment in two entertainment companies that will produce content in Georgia, according to our partners at the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

UGA launches Masters in Fine Arts for film and TV

Atlanta Journal Constitution • Dec. 23, 2019

While more creatives are moving and living here, UGA wanted to boost the numbers with a new master program to encourage folks who are interested in writing screenplays or producing TV and film to take that next step.

Dean of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Charles Davis said the goal of the program is to grow Georgia’s work force in the film industry beyond just technical professions.

Interview with Dean Charles N. Davis: “In fact there is a crying need for it. As you know film and television production in the state has very rapidly grown into a six and a half billion-dollar industry. There are quite literally, hundreds of productions shooting at any given moment in the state of Georgia.”


Interview with WXIA-TV with Charles N. Davis, Jeff Stepakoff and Lee Thomas

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

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