Film and Digital Technology (MFAFDT)

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Film and Digital Technology (MFAFDT) Overview

At Chatham, our Film and Digital Technology MFA allows filmmakers and media creators to collaborate and customize their learning according to their personal interests and areas of specialization. Combining technical skills, screenwriting, and a solid foundation in theory, the program helps students develop a unique approach to storytelling regardless of genre. Students are also challenged to think about how the convergence of technologies encourages innovative techniques in the development and distribution of stories with original themes.

Degrees Offered
  • MFA
Program School
Application Deadline

Spring and Fall

Spring Enrollment - November 1
Fall Enrollment - July 1
We will continue to accept applications after the deadline as long as there is space available in the program.

Credits Required

36

The program is mainly project-based, with students working in small groups on a range of media productions.

Cost Per Credit

$987

Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Film Festivals

Share Your Work

Chatham students retain full ownership of any work created during their time in the program. This allows students to submit their work to film festivals. Watch this video to learn more.  

Explore the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Digital Technology Degree:

Our project-based approach, instructed by recognized filmmakers, gives students the chance to hone their craft in ways that best use their talents and interests. Production-based courses comprise more than half of the curriculum in order to broaden students’ skillsets and bolster their portfolios.

  • Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale. (Probationary admission may be granted for applicants with a GPA of less than a 3.0 who show extreme promise through their other achievements.)
  • Portfolio or other examples of work in film and/or digital media
  • Completed application for admission, including:
    • Online application
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Resume and/or additional supporting information on professional or volunteer activities
    • Three-to-five-page statement of previous experience and current goals in the field
    • Two letters of recommendation

FDT550 Media Project I

Media Project I presents technical and professional practices of digital video production including writing, preproduction, video production, sound production, and nonlinear editing. Students put class concepts into practice by creating a variety of media projects that are ready for exhibition at the end of the term.

FDT663 Media Context I

An introduction to critical and aesthetic perspectives on film, i.e., the rules, codes, and strategies by which film represents reality. Students will be exposed to a variety of movements and moments in film history, but history will not be an explicit focus for the course. The course will map out the major conceptual areas in film studies using new methodologies in the areas of narrative comprehension, new vocabulary in film semiotics, and multiculturalism and the media. Issues explored in this course include questions of history and memory, self and other, and identity in both the Western and non-Western contexts.

FDT641 Screenwriting

Students in this course can expect to learn the basics of both storytelling and structure needed in order to create a industry formatted script. Students work together in a workshop-like environment where they will talk through their scripts and ideas with other students. 

View Full Curriculum

My work at Chatham has had a direct impact on what I currently do and in many ways led me to my current work in TV program development and commercial projects. All in all, Chatham’s MFAFDT program pushed me into worlds that separate me from my contemporaries.

—JESSE COLAIZZI, MFAFDT ’12

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Prajna Paramita Parasher
Professor, Chair, Arts, Design and Communication and Program Director, Film and Digital Technology and Interdisciplinary Design

The Pittsburgh Film Community

The film community in Pittsburgh is booming, and our own film community at Chatham is thriving as well. In addition to collaborative MFA students and supportive faculty, the program hosts panel discussions and Q&A's to discuss the work of filmmaking. These events extend students' learning opportunities and knowledge of filmmaking while better connecting them to the larger Pittsburgh film, literary, and arts scenes to create connections and continue the development of their craft.

checkerboard-just-films-min.jpg

Just Films

Co-sponsored by the Chatham University Women’s Institute and screened on campus, Just Films is an annual series that shows documentaries focused on gender equity and social justice, usually being shown in Pittsburgh for the first time.

Learn More

Social Justice

One of the powerful uses of film and digital media is the ability to create awareness and serve as a catalyst for change. Our curriculum includes research components that position students' work within broader social, historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts. This provides students with a platform to engage with stories of sustainability, women's issues, global perspectives, or other pressing concerns that deserve a voice.

Artistic Approach

"As technology constantly changes, teaching video production requires that we provide students with a filmmaking vocabulary and foster in them a desire to continually and independently learn. While we give them the confidence to use the tools proficiently, we must also reveal the possibilities of communicating with digital media; it is the content of the work that speaks to an audience, whether shot on a mobile device or the most advanced camera on the market." – Kristen Lauth Schaeffer, associate professor, MFAFDT

Award-Winning Filmmaker Chester Lampman, MFA Film & Digital Technology '12 

US Army Veteran Chester Lampman, MFA Film and Digital Technology ‘14, has won recognition for his documentary film “The Marquee on Main Street,” which focuses on three small independent theaters in and around Pittsburgh.

Alumni Profile: Danielle Burkhart, MFAFDT ’12 

An assistantship in digital video production at Chatham prepared Danielle Burkhart, MFA Film and Digital Technology ’12, to work for the Pittsburgh Pirates.