Film and Video Studies announces the hire of two new full-time, tenure-track faculty. Please welcome Nikyatu Jusu, Assistant Professor in Directing and Screenwriting, and Maura Ugarte, Assistant Professor in Directing and Editing.
Sierra Leonean-American filmmaker Professor Nikyatu Jusu's films have played at festivals nationally and internationally garnering her a myriad of laurels and awards including a Directors Guild of America Honorable Mention. Three of her short films were acquired by and aired on HBO, her most recent being Flowers. Presently, Professor Jusu is in post-production on her narrative film Suicide By Sunlight, a project funded by the production grant THROUGH HER LENS and sponsored by the Tribeca Film Institute and Chanel. Professor Jusu earned her MFA in Film Production from New York University’s Tisch Graduate Film school where she was the Spike Lee Fellowship Award recipient and the Princess Grace Narrative Film Grant, and a B.A. from Duke University in Literature and Film. Nikyatu Jusu’s filmography straddles the lines of social resonance coupled with “butts in seats” story-telling. Race, nationality, sexuality and mental health are central themes within her oeuvre with an emphasis on nuance in her cinematic portrayals centering women. Professor Jusu draws from a myriad of sources as fodder for her work from West African mythology to contemporary social issues affecting marginalized communities.
Professor Maura Ugarte is a filmmaker and editor whose work has appeared at True/False Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and Palm Springs International Film Festival, among others. Prior to joining Mason, she was Clinical Associate Professor in Catholic University's Media and Communication Studies Department for several years. Recently Professor Ugarte co-produced and edited the feature documentary UNCENSORED on violence perpetrated against journalists in Colombia during the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s, which appeared at the Bogota Human Rights International Film Festival amongst other fests. Maura Ugarte holds an MFA degree in Film and Media Arts from American University, where she also worked as a Fellow at the Center for Media and Social Impact, and a BA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago. Professor Ugarte’s work focuses on exploring how documentary can be used to deconstruct and recontextualize dominant narratives about how we see ourselves, our communities and our history.