MFA Program- Science and Natural History Filmmaking
Art Meets Science
Scientific artists or artistic scientists?
By: Master of Fine Arts: MFA Program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking Instagram: @sciencenature.film
1) Would you say you are an artist first and a scientist second, or a scientist first and an artist second?
Our program is a melting pot of both artistic scientist and scientific artist. Our students come from such diverse backgrounds, it would be nearly impossible to classify us, and that is one of the things that makes this program as great as it is. We have people who come into the graduate program with experience with film, but also zero experience. We have photographers, we have biologists, engineers, chemists, wildlife conservationists, and many more. At the Science and Natural History Filmmaking (SNHF) program, our faculty bring the backgrounds in art to teach students the art of filmmaking, which they can then apply to their background in science whichever way they see fit.
2) What led you to pick science as your theme?
Topics of student films are as varied as our backgrounds. Topics have included the psychology of sports fandom, the mating ritual of fireflies, the science of humor, conservation films, animated films about the history of a Montana mining town, about evolution of our understanding of disease, an explanation of how transistors work and how they have changed society. If a student has an interest in a topic related to their undergraduate degree, whether it is psychology, sociology, anthropology, chemistry, biology, or a myriad of other science disciplines, we encourage them to follow that interest in film.
3) Do you have goals with what you do like educate, inspire, stimulate curiosity, or do you do it for yourself?
We are scientists, but we are storytellers. We’re in graduate school to learn more about what interests us. We’re here to experiment, and to find the stories we want to tell.
4)What kind of media do you prefer?
Our program allows students to experience all aspects of filmmaking. Through this method, once they are finished with the program they can theoretically have the skills to make a film on their own. However, many students tend to find which aspect of the process they enjoy and specialize. Whether that is producing, directing, cinematography, editing, or sound engineering, students will generally have a specialization upon graduating from the SNHF program.
5) What is your favorite piece? Tell me about it.
I could try to pull representative stills from past films, but I don’t know how long it would take me to get those to you.
6) Do you sale your art? Do you take commissions? Do you have etsy store, or other social media accounts you show art on?
Generally, we are working toward a career path, so we charge for our services. Or, alternatively, we are working toward selling films (though that process can be drawn out and complicated). While we may volunteer at times, at the end of the day art is a profession for us, and no artist should be expected to produce their art for free
8) Where are you from?
The majority of our students come from within the United States, though we have had international students in the program on occasion.