Alumni Spotlight | Jayda Denise Thompson (Film '12)

Was there a specific faculty member or peer who especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?
Tom Roma inspired me to look at the world visually. In the film program people are quick to tell you what you are and what you aren't- especially with the highly coveted concentration in directing. Before taking his photography 1 & book making seminar I did not have the courage to capture images myself. I thought I needed an intermediary to decide how those images should be composed. He empowered me and gave me the technical skills to craft a new lens.

How did attending the School of the Arts impact your work and career as an artist?
School of the Arts gave me community. It shared a network with me that allowed me to create at the highest level. SOA gave me the language to ask the questions I needed to find visual solutions in storytelling.

What were the most pressing social/political issues on the minds of the students when you were here?     
The first Black President of the United States of America was elected.

If you could revisit any piece you created during your time at the School of the Arts, which would it be? Why?
Miss Logan L7 that I wrote in Screenwriting 1 with Trey Ellis. I would have revised and polished the script while in the program instead of a year after graduation.

What was your favorite or most memorable class while at the School of the Arts?  
Tom Kalin- Directing 3. This was my first directing course with a core faculty member. My intro to directing and directing 2 were taught by new adjunct hires and a former student. Tom Kalin gave me the toolbox to think, speak and create as a director
About Jayda Denise Thompson
Jayda Denise Thompson produced two Sundance shorts and was the first in the history of the SOA film program to have her thesis film Advantageous completely financed by ITVS future states series season 3. She was a Sundance Producers lab finalist and as a producer her work has competed in film festivals all over the world. She currently produces media for the e Design shop at George Washington University and continues to revise a slate of narrative screenplays that star young black women. Jayda is an avid photographer and uses those skills to inform her writing.
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.