MFA Student Awarded Grant from Women in Film.Dallas

Rachel Gibson-Shepherd, a student in the first class of The University of Texas at Arlington’s new Master of Fine Arts program, has been awarded a $5,000 completion grant from Women in Film.Dallas (WIF.D) for her feature film, “Traveling.” The film’s story revolves around three unrelated people without family ties, who become a family on a road trip.

Shepherd earned her undergraduate degree in film and television from New York University in 2004. She has created seven short films and written two feature films since entering UT Arlington’s new terminal degree in fine art program in September 2008.

One of her feature films, “One Stop,” has been optioned to a production company in Los Angeles.  The film tells the story of a woman who spends her life caring for others (including her war veteran husband and her mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease) and the conflict that arises when she has the opportunity to sell an inherited gasoline station and begin a new life.

One of her shorts, “Gloria,” was selected for inclusion in recent the Women in Film.Dallas “chick flick” festival. The festival features short films created and produced by women across the state.

Shepherd’s grant, the college student project completion grant, is co-sponsored by Sync Point Post, a Dallas-based post production company.

“The quality of applicants made the selection process extremely difficult. The WIF.D Education Committee was greatly impressed with the level of professionalism they exhibited which bodes well for the industry as a whole,” said Lynne Reynolds, co-chair of the WIF.D Education Committee.

Shepherd, who plans to graduate in May, said working with one-on-one with film professors Andy Anderson and Bart Weiss was a unique experience.

“Bart is all about editing, about new techniques, taking things to a new level,” she said. “With Andy, it’s all about the narrative and conflict.”

Shepherd said if you marry both concepts of filmmaking, you have a sound formula for creating great films.

The Art + Art History department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

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