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Introducing a focus on directing that brings together the best of the Indie Film World

"Our goal is to turn the traditional film school model on its head." - Christine Vachon, Co-Founder, Killer Films and Stony Brook MFA in Film Artistic Director

45-48 credit Film MFA starting Fall 2015

Our Focus: Harnessing the Power of Image + Sound


Year One
The focus of the first year is craft, collaboration, and inspiration. 

In Fall, and for this semester only, the curriculum is lock-step. The students take a Master Class with Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler where they learn invaluable industry information and make their short film pitches. Additionally, they take courses in writing the short film, directing, and learn the tools of production.

In Spring, students work together to shoot scripts they wrote in fall, while choosing their own classes in screenwriting, film survey, editing, and directing. The first year ends with a first year screening. 

In Summer, students take Acting for Directors with Academy Award winning actress and teacher, Mercedes Ruehl.

Year Two 
The focus of the second year is developing a personal artistic vision.

Students continue to study craft in screenwriting, TV writing, directing, and producing while they work on developing the projects they wish to realize. For directors, Spring semester provides an opportunity to develop and shoot another film with greater freedom. 

The year culminates with a showcase of second year films.  

Year Three

In the third year, students develop projects of significant artistic merit - whether they be films, webisodes, or television pilots - with a unique vision and a clear plan for execution, under the supervision of a thesis advisor. Students present the finished film to an advisory board.

Meet some of our directing faculty:

"There is the chance for magic to happen on set." - Jennie Allen

"I LIVE for the editing room. Free of cameras, c-stands, traffic lock ups, cranky actors and frazzled crew!" - Jordan Roberts

Stony Brook University in Manhattan and Southampton, in partnership with legendary independent producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, co-founders of Killer Films, offer a new MFA Degree in Film. Inspired by Killer Films' 20-year, 80-film history of taking great original stories and turning them into some of the most beloved independent films, including the Academy Award-winning  Still Alice, Boys Don't Cry, and  Far From Heaven, coupled with Stony Brook Southampton's illustrious history of having one of the most prestigious Creative Writing and Literature programs in the country; this new collaborative but rigorous film program is guiding aspiring artists to be creative, forward-thinking, entrepreneurial, and professionally relevant in today's world.

Directing program history

On Art Direction with Dane Pizzuti Krogman

Learn about the equipment we use


We bring some of today's top film luminaries to work with our students:

Alexander Payne:  The Descendants, Nebraska
Chris Weitz:  About a Boy, New Moon: The Twilight Saga, Cinderella
Robert Benton:  Kramer vs. Kramer, Bonnie and Clyde
Jon Robin Baitz: B rothers and Sisters, West Wing
Peter Hedges:  What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Dan in Real Life
Wash Westmoreland:  Still Alice, Quinceanara
James Schamus:  Eat Drink Man Woman, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
John Krokidas:  Kill Your Darlings, Shame No More
Sebastian Silva:  Nasty Baby, Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus, The Maid
Ramin Bahrani:  Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Plastic Bag, At Any Price
Ed Burns:  Brothers McMullan, She's the One, Nice Guy Johnny
Mary Harron:  I Shot Andy Warhol, Notorious Betty Page
Doug McGrath:  Bullets Over Broadway, Nicholas Nickleby
Tom Kalin:  Swoon

To join our distinguished community of artists and visual storytellers,  the first step is to apply:

Be a part of the Stony Brook MFA in Film experience!

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