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Fall Grad Spotlight: Maria Gian

Maria Gian, from Buffalo, New York, is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Film in Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. Before she even graduated, Maria landed a job with University Communications and Marketing, where she is part of the team that tells stories and creates connections to OHIO through powerful and compelling videos.

What are your next steps or plans for the future? 
I recently landed a full-time position working for Ohio University’s video production team, where we shoot and edit videos for the university. This allows me to live and work in Athens, while continuing to develop my passion for production design on film sets. 
What memory stands out from your time at OHIO? 
Shooting my thesis film was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I was surrounded by so many passionate and creative individuals who cared deeply about making my vision come to life, which means so much to me. I am proud of the way everything turned out, but the best part of the experience was connecting with others while doing what we love. 

Why did you choose, and stick with, OHIO?  
Being from New York State, I had never heard of Ohio University. I honestly just saw that the application was free, so I applied. Like many others, I fell in love with the campus when I visited and decided this was where I wanted to be. Wanting to go to college in a city my whole life, it was a bit of an abnormal choice for me, but what made me stick with Ohio University is the natural beauty surrounding the campus, a new understanding and appreciation for Appalachia, and most, importantly the people here. 

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 
Every professor in the film program taught me so much about both film and myself, truly making a positive impact on my life. David Colagiovanni, my experimental film professor, not only introduced me to experimental film, a newfound passion of mine, but helped me break my own boundaries and gave me a new perspective on creating and filmmaking, which I am forever grateful for. 

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path? 
The beginning of my college experience was difficult for me because I had no idea what I wanted to do. I actually came to Ohio University as a sociology major, but soon realized I needed to pursue something more creative. This led me to the film program. There was a huge learning curve for me because, unlike many of my peers, I didn’t have any prior film experience and missed an entire year of the program. I took it upon myself to keep practicing and learning on my own time; I secured a video internship at UCM, which has developed into my full-time job, worked on as many sets as I could, directed five films in two years, participated in the OHIO in LA program, and have had the help and support of my professors along the way.

What are your favorite OHIO memories? 
A: My favorite OHIO memories are working on film sets. Whether it is the middle of the night in winter or a 100-degree day in the middle of the desert in LA, I have made so many unforgettable friends and memories making films together. 

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss? 
Take every class that interests you. I took as many classes as I could, which have taught me new skills and given me new perspectives on life and being creative. Get out into the surrounding areas of Athens. There is so much beauty and ways to connect with nature in Appalachia and if you never leave campus you are going to miss it. 

November 22, 2022
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