The MFA in Cinema Directing is dedicated to developing cinema storytellers by cultivating the role of the director and fostering the individual director’s personal style and voice. Directors need equal mastery of leadership, storytelling, and production skills, which our students develop by making several short films in the first year of the program. Columbia’s MFA in Cinema Directing focuses on working collaboratively with producers to create character-driven narratives that are diverse and authentic and that invoke the human experience and connect with an audience. Directing students take 13 hours of elective classes and are encouraged to develop marketable skills in their area of interests, such as screenwriting, editing, teaching, script supervising, and more. This 50-credit program immerses students in rigorous coursework in directing, writing, and production as preparation for their short thesis film, which they may complete during or after their coursework. Thesis components include both written and production materials.
As a result of successfully completing program requirements, students should be able to:
- demonstrate character-based narrative skills including: the establishment of motive, dimensionality, importance, risk, conflict, and subtext; use of established filmmaking styles that express these elements; and effective utilization of beats in both writing and directing;
- adapt their understanding of the human experience into cinematic dramatic material;
- collaborate in meaningful and effective ways with producers, production department heads, other writers and directors, and executives and/or administrators;
- identify and communicate with a chosen audience; and
- develop and articulate a personal vision of cinematic storytelling through collaborative processes.