Student Profile

Tim Ritter

Tim Ritter was searching for film graduate programs when he stumbled across UCF. After an interview with the program director at the time, he was smitten by the program geared specifically toward microbudget, digital filmmaking and a thesis project that would allow him to make his second feature film. After earning a degree in journalism from Auburn University and a ten year career in newspapers, Ritter decided to academically pursue his filmmaking hobby turned passion and enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema MFA. He says, “I was drawn in by the cutting-edge concept of a program focused specifically on filmmaking outside of the Hollywood/industrial model and focusing on using digital technology…Film is the perfect synthesis of my love for film, writing, visual storytelling, music, and performance – they’re all in there.”

Ritter’s thesis is a feature film titled Testament. His research for the project includes forays into still-developing areas such as crowdfunding, promoting an independent film in a constantly changing market, and trying to create sustainable practices in filmmaking. Ritter’s professors and advisors such as his thesis chair Kate Schults, Andrew Gay, Lisa Mills, PhD, Jonathan Bowen, and Lisa Peterson have invested themselves in Ritter and the graduate program through their furthering of the microbudget paradigm, dedication of time and energy, and measured feedback.

In addition to his own work, Ritter helps out on other projects, does some freelance reporting for The Associated Press, and participates in an internship with Team Treehouse, a company that teaches programming and website-building skills. Ritter was awarded the MFA Provost’s Fellowship to study at UCF and has been invited to join Phi Kappa Phi again as a graduate for his academic success.

Ritter is on pace to graduate in Fall 2014, and hopes to teach at a collegiate level.  He will have two feature films on the festival circuit in the fall, Testament and his debut feature Moment of Truth, leading to some potential opportunities in professional filmmaking. Continuing work with Team Treehouse is also a strong possibility for Ritter’s future.

Chris Williamson

Chris Williamson earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications with Emphasis in Film and Digital Media Production then enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema MFA program. To apply for the program, he had to write a four-page feature film treatment, so from the start he felt that his creative abilities were going to be challenged and enhanced. “The graduate film program at UCF teaches us the standard practices of our art and industry but also encourages us to question those practices and discover for ourselves what it means to be a micro-budget independent filmmaker,” Williamson explains. “We are working with new technology that didn’t exist until a few years ago. It’s evolving at a rapid pace and they’re asking us to define what it means to make feature films on the cutting edge of what’s possible.”

Williamson appreciates the variety of resources available at UCF from research assistance in the library to the excellent staff at the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. He also enjoys serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, particularly when he was able to take his film production class through the entire process of shooting a short film. Williamson will graduate in 2015 and plans to teach film classes at the college level and continue making movies.

Milos Ajdinovic

Milos Ajdinovic earned his BFA in Film and Television Directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, Serbia and has been involved with filmmaking in one way or another for over 10 years. Looking to continue developing his craft, Ajdinovic did some research and became very impressed with what UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design had to offer independent filmmakers.

As a student on the Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema track of the Emerging Media MFA, Ajdinovic has begun to understand the type of filmmaker he would like to become. The program’s ability to customize to the needs of each student’s goals along with the emphasis on artistic integrity and independent models of production have been especially helpful aspects of the program.

Ajdinovic cites his thesis chair, Ula Stoeckl as a great influence on his work; “Not just because she is an amazing artist and somebody I admire greatly, but she’s been the voice of wisdom, mentoring me through this process and helping me to overcome every single obstacle along the way.

After a planned graduation in 2017, Ajdinovic intends to continue creating low budget films and see where his career takes him. 

Rama Masri Zada

Building on experience as a television correspondent and short film maker in her home country of Syria, Rama Masri Zada has always looked for ways to tell people’s stories. Zada received her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Damascus University. When war in Syria prevented her from continuing her education, she looked to the United States to pursue her dream. Through her own research, she found the University of Central Florida’s Master of Fine Arts program through the UCF School of Visual Arts and Design. Zada is enrolled in the program’s Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema program.

When asked what she liked best about her program, Zada responded that unlike her experiences with professor’s in Syria, UCF’s faculty are “accessible, flexible, treat students with less formality and allow more room for creativity and creative thinking. They acknowledge our feedback regarding the program content and use our suggestions to improve the program and its class offer.” It is this type of environment that supports creativity and diversity that Zada hopes will help her to pursue her ambitions to work on films focused on humanitarian subjects. 

She is currently working on her first documentary feature film.

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