Cinematic Arts MFA

Join a community of passionate filmmakers and bring your vision to life. Our interdisciplinary master’s in film program is committed to the intensive and rigorous production of creative time-based art. Non-commercial in spirit, we encourage works that demonstrate a personal commitment to the cinematic arts.  

Our supportive community of dedicated, internationally recognized faculty and peers provides an inspiring and collaborative environment that fosters creativity and personal growth. We encourage works marked not so much by any particular style, but rather by the questions they explore. Our goal is to assist you in completing accomplished works rooted in a developed sense of community, culture and self. Because filmmaking is highly collaborative, we provide many opportunities to make artistic and intellectual connections on campus and throughout the region. 

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus

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What it’s like to be a student at Peck School of the Arts

Graduate students are offered studio space at Kenilworth Square East, a Peck School of the Arts building in the heart of Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood. Facilities include a complete production studio with tools and services necessary for in-house film, video/digital and sound production; photography and imaging labs; and space for installation and performance projects. We offer professional level technology, including labs and individual editing suites with Adobe Creative Suite, audio recording equipment, lighting and grip gear and production space, including a dedicated greenscreen lab. A distinctive feature of the program is our continued support of 16mm film through coursework and technology, including an in-house processing facility for black-and-white reversal 16mm film. 

But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself what it is like to be a student here by scheduling a personalized tour with one of our graduate program coordinators.

Cinematic Arts MFA
Cinematic Arts MFA

Program Details

The Master of Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts is designed for serious and talented students who are preparing for careers as artists. Your graduate studies are supported by a major thesis advisor. Your major thesis advisor is assigned upon entry to the program, and you will work with that advisor for the first year. During your second semester, you are assigned a graduate review committee comprised of graduate faculty members that will best serve your creative research needs.

Starting with your second semester, you will present new and ongoing work to your graduate review committee at the end of each semester. These end-of-semester critiques are meant to share your creative pursuits with others and open your practice to engaged criticism, dialogue and feedback. 

As a culmination of your education, upon recommendation of your major thesis advisor and graduate review committee, you will present a thesis work created while in the program. Typically, this presentation is part of a MFA Thesis Screening held on campus, but alternative sites and methods may be explored. It’s all about supporting you and your creative research.

Pursuing the master’s in film offered through the Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres means joining a talented and supportive community, full of intelligence, creative inquiry and engagement with contemporary film art. We look forward to supporting you and your creative research. 

View the Cinematic Arts, MFA requirements.

Equipment Room

We believe that a solid foundation in technical expertise, coupled with your unique artistic vision, will pave the way for success in your creative endeavors. Our equipment room provides you with the tools necessary to bring your ideas to life.

Film Archives & Collections

You’ll have access to unique film archives like the Adoor Gopalakrishnan Film Archive & Research Center, which honors the legacy of internationally celebrated filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Or the UWM Libraries Cinema Arts Archive, which contains over 200 essential works from the history of experimental cinema. Learn more and explore the Film Archive Library.

Scholarships & Aid

UW-Milwaukee and Peck School of the Arts offers a variety of cost-saving opportunities, including scholarships, grants, fellowships and residency-based tuition rates. Learn more about scholarship and aid opportunities available to you.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students are eligible to receive one of our teaching assistantships awarded annually, which includes full tuition remission, annual stipend and affordable state health coverage through the University.

Cinemas, Festivals & Screenings

Film and video screenings, festivals and exhibitions offer students the opportunity to see and experience both contemporary and historical works by American independent filmmakers as well as by international artists. Learn more about our cinemas, festivals and screenings.

Documentary Media

Documentary films preserve culture and tradition and help create the social, political and economic realities we would like to see in the world and in our communities. Explore how you can express your voice through documentary media.

Internships & Opportunities

Students work and intern professionally with big and small production companies, film festivals and creative agencies throughout Milwaukee, Chicago and beyond. See where your education can take you. Learn more about internships and opportunities.

Student Organizations & Clubs

Meet like-minded people in a wide variety of student organizations and clubs who inspire creativity and will support your aspirations. Collaborate and create, network with professional artists, and deepen your connection with faculty, mentors and fellow students outside of the classroom.

Study Abroad

We believe that a complete education in the arts should take you beyond the classroom and the local community. By studying abroad, you’ll gain more than a change of scenery. You’ll embark on a transformative educational experience and bring a global perspective to your field of study. Explore upcoming trips offered in partnership with the Center for International Education.

Alumni Stories in Film & Animation

Careers in Film, Video, Animation & New Genres

  • ADR Editor
  • Advertising & Sales
  • Aerial Cinematographer
  • Animator
  • Art Director
  • Artist
  • Arts Administration
  • Assistant Director
  • Best Boy
  • Boom Operator
  • Broadcast Producer
  • Camera Operator
  • Casting Director
  • Character Rigger
  • Cinematographer
  • Client Services Supervisor
  • Colorist
  • Compositing Artist
  • Copywriter
  • Creature Designer
  • Curator/Programmer
  • Development Executive
  • Digital Account Executive
  • Digital Imaging Technician
  • Digital Media Product Developer
  • Director
  • Distributor
  • Dolly Grip
  • Drone Operator
  • Dubbing Mixer
  • Editor
  • Educational Video Director/Producer
  • Electrician
  • Electronics & Sensor Designer
  • Elementary/Secondary School Teacher
  • Entertainment/Studio Executive
  • Exhibitor
  • Festival Director/Programmer
  • Field Segment Producer
  • Film Archivist/Processor/Writer
  • Filmmaker
  • Fixer
  • Foley Specialist
  • Forensic Animator
  • Gaffer
  • Image Librarian/Archivist
  • Interaction Designer
  • Jimmy Jib Operator
  • Key Grip
  • Lighting Designer/Technician
  • Line Producer
  • Location Manager/Scout
  • Medical Animator
  • Motion Capture Engineer
  • Motion Graphics Designer/Producer
  • Multimedia Artist/Journalist/Producer
  • News Producer
  • Photo Asset Manager/Instructor/Editor
  • Photographic Labs/Image Producer
  • Photojournalist
  • Post-Production Supervisor
  • Press Agent
  • Producer (Television & Film)
  • Production Designer/Manager
  • Programming & Software Designer
  • Prop Maker
  • Properties Producer
  • Public Relations/Publicist
  • Publisher
  • Puppet Fabricator
  • Reality Programming Director
  • Recording & Mastering Engineer
  • Researcher
  • Rights & Clearances
  • Rotoscope Artist
  • Screenwriter
  • Script Editor/Supervisor/Writer
  • Set Constructor/Designer/Director
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Sound Designer/Editor/Mixer
  • Steadicam Operator
  • Still Photography
  • Stop Motion Animator
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Studio Merchandiser
  • Talent Producer
  • Technical Illustrator/Writer
  • Texture Artist
  • University Administration
  • University Faculty
  • Videographer
  • Visual Effect Specialist/Supervisor
  • Wardrobe Supervisor
  • Web Producer
  • Webisode Writer/Researcher

Program Faculty

Which faculty you have within this program is dependent upon your chosen courses or interests. For a list of all Film, Video, Animation & New Genres faculty and staff please follow the link below.

Ben Balcom Headshot
  • Assistant Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Co-Chair, Programming Committee
Portia Cobb Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Director, Community Media Project
Mike Gibisser Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Director, Film Graduate Program
  • Co-Chair, Programming Committee
Laura Harrison Headshot
  • Assistant Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Area Head, Animation
Kelly Kirshtner HEADSHOT
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
Jesse McLean Headshot
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
  • Chair, Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
Steve Wetzel Headshot
  • Interim Head of School, Peck School of the Arts
  • Associate Professor, Film, Video, Animation and New Genres
Important Dates
Film, Video, Animation & New Genres

Undergraduate Application
January 31 – Priority admission and scholarship deadline.

Graduate Application
January 15 – Application and financial support deadline.

The Department of Film, Video, Animation & New Genres is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and has been since 2017.

Film, Video, Animation & New Genres
Undergraduate Programs
Alex Torinus and Lilly Warren,

Graduate Programs
Mike Gibisser,

General Info & Questions
Contact Form | 414-229-4763