History of Film at Mason

Film students
Film students have fun supporting our Fall scholarship benefit, ARTS by George!, in 2013

In 2006, the Deans and faculty members of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Science along with a group of local filmmakers known as the Friends of Film, created the first multidisciplinary undergraduate degree in film in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

From the beginning, the Film and Video Studies program focused on film production, the business of film, and film theory. From the start, our core courses exposed students to production, screenwriting, business, theory, and ethics. The program’s special emphasis on teaching the business side of the film industry is unique.

In the past 10 years, Film at Mason has grown. More faculty have joined the team. Our student numbers increased from 7 to 185. New courses, including Advanced Video EditingFiction Film Directing, and New Media and Film Distribution and Film Marketing, have been added to the curriculum. In addition, distance education courses such as The History of World Cinema which have added to the general education curriculum for the entire university.

Professor Emeritus Cindy Lont and Associate Professor Thomas Britt crafted the Film at Mason program (formerly known as FAVS) with English Professor and Director of the Film and Media Studies minor, Cynthia Fuchs; Film at Mason Advisor, Wayne Adams, also joined the team in the earliest days of the program.

Professor Benjamin Steger came on board to build more production courses. Film at Mason Professor Giovanna Chesler became director in Fall of 2013. Associate Professor in Cinematography Hans Charles joined in Fall 2014 followed by Assistant Professor in Editing Amanda Kraus in Fall 2015. Assistant Professor of Film Business and Producing Lisa Thrasher joined Film at Mason in Fall 2016. Following, Assistant Professor in Directing and Editing Maura Ugarte and Assistant Professor in Directing and Scriptwriting Nikyatu Jusu joined the team in Fall 2018. Associate Director and Interim Program Director Cynthia Fuchs officially joined in Spring 2020.  Film at Mason welcomed our newest faculty, Assistant Professor Samirah Alkassim in Fall of 2020 and Assistant Professor Justin Plakas in Fall 2021.

Our staff has steadily grown over the years as well. Academic Advisor Lori Yi joined Film at Mason in Fall 2015, Academic and Program Manager Samantha Beach Sinagra joined in Spring 2017, and Technical Coordinator Andrew Jorgensen joined in Summer 2017. More recently, Technical Assistant Evan Bowen, Exhibitions Coordinator Anjuli Singh, and Admissions Coordinator Rebecca Stevenson joined in Summer 2021. 

When Film at Mason alums return and say – “Wow! I wish you had that course / that professor / that equipment when I was there,” we know we're doing a great job of changing with the industry. We look forward to continuing this path as our program moves toward its 10-year anniversary.

Join us in creating a new history at George Mason University by giving a gift to our student scholarship program.