Tommy Britt: Movie Maker

Posted on: Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Monica Hoel
Tommy Britt is a maker of short films and documentaries that have screened at various film festivals in the United States and abroad. Now, as a professor at George Mason University, he is sharing his love of movie making with a large number of artists.

While Tommy Britt was attending Emory & Henry College, he didn't think he’d one day become a college professor.

“I had access to so many excellent professors that I was probably being prepared for this career and didn't realize it at the time,” said Britt, who is Associate Professor of Film and Video Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Following graduation from Emory & Henry College in 2002, Britt continued his education at the School of Film at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he fine tuned many of the principles he learned as a Mass Communications and Theater major at E&H.

The Fairfax resident was hired only five years after graduation from Emory & Henry as the first full-time faculty member in the Bachelor of Arts program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts where he teaches a variety of courses.

“My main areas of interest and research are Ethics of Film and Video and Media Ethics,” said Britt. “I teach a synthesis course in those subjects, as well as short- and feature-length screenwriting, fiction film directing, a senior project course, genre studies, and a few others.” 

Britt is responsible for creating the popular Global Horror Film, which is a University General Education course that explores global patterns of conflict through international horror films. In addition to teaching and building the curriculum, Britt also advises students and serves on committees.

“We have more than 150 students in the major. The growth is constant,” Britt said. “Working with the students is the best thing about working at a college, especially working with students in the creative activity of filmmaking.”

During his career, several of Britt’s short films and documentaries have screened at various film festivals in the United States and abroad. Since 2008, he has contributed articles and chapters about film, television, and music to several journals and edited volumes. Britt uses his regular column, "On Principle,” published by PopMatters, to discuss the subject of media ethics. 

Throughout these experiences in the film industry, he carries with him many of life’s lessons that he valued at Emory & Henry.

 “Emory & Henry is an environment that encourages thinking and acting beyond the self. Its mission stresses the importance of interacting with others in the local community and also creates awareness of larger global concerns,” he said.

“Emory & Henry gave me an opportunity to succeed academically and to make the most of that achievement within the field of film and video,” said Britt, who was the recipient of both the Snavely Senior Scholarship Prize and the Outstanding Senior award when he graduated from the college.