The MFA in Film program at Vermont College of Fine Arts was created to examine and expand narrative, documentary, and animated film, taking full advantage of the next generation of digital production and distribution platforms. As the art of filmmaking has changed in both content and process, these changes offer significant opportunities for new approaches to the education of emerging filmmakers.
The MFA in Film challenges students to explore and refine their voices as independent filmmakers. Writing, digital film, and trans-media projects will be supported and refined by readings and research in film theory and history that support individualized learning plans over four, consecutive six-month semesters.
Under the direction of Faculty Chair, Laura Colella, students work closely with a faculty mentor, customizing their individual curricula. Learning is supported through monthly, in-depth exchanges with faculty advisors, who guide and enhance individual learning plans established during the campus residency at the beginning of each term.
Every student begins the program, and ends each semester, with a ten-day residency in October and April. Residencies join faculty, students, and visiting artists on our campus in Montpelier for an intense period of critiques, lectures, research, and dialogue. The residency offers students the time and space away from daily concerns to reflect upon and discuss artistic practice and study progress. The experiences shared during residencies are profound, and the relationships formed during that time last far beyond graduation.
The MFA in Film focuses on providing emerging filmmakers with a framework for innovative production and critical assessment at an affordable cost that allows for funds to go towards film work . Students need not disrupt current artistic practice or professional responsibilities to succeed in this unique, progressive graduate study model.
The program is best suited to those who have produced work that can serve as a starting point for inquiry and innovation as they seek to refine their individual vision. It is oriented toward film writers and writer/directors who can work independently, and develop structured approaches to originality.
Animators are encouraged to work in a trans-media approach to visual storytelling that will explore the entire range of possibilities for animation, from experimental form to web-delivered commercial communications, according to the student’s area of focus and engagement.
Screenwriting will be the focal point for initiating inquiry on process, story structure, and content across all film forms. Students will create their own balance between writing and directing according to their professional requirements and the study plan developed with a student’s faculty advisor.
Because the program seeks to enroll current practitioners, students are expected to have the tools and technical training necessary to pursue their individualized study plans. During the semester, student directors are expected to source their own crew and production budgets. The experience of directing the total realization of each project will be part of the end-of-semester assessment.
The MFA in Film degree program will look to building community while extending the student experience in professional practice. Campus residencies offer the opportunity for all students in the program to share their distinctive approaches and to collaborate on individual projects.