Michigan Ross MM Grad Pursues Filmmaking Dreams with Sundance Fellowship

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The Master’s in Management is a great way for students to cap off their liberal arts degree with a solid business foundation. Just ask Paige Wood, MM ‘16, an independent producer and creative consultant who recently attended the 2019 Sundance Film Festival as a Knight Fellow.

Over the course of five days, Wood got the opportunity to see the latest cutting-edge, indie films, participate in roundtables and development workshops, and receive feedback on her original work from industry leaders as part of this year’s inaugural Talent Forum.

"Those five days I spent up in Park City were a whirlwind, but I had the time of my life,” Wood said. “Even though this year’s festival has wrapped, my time with The Sundance Institute is far from over. The Sundance Institute is really dedicated to supporting the alumni of their programs and helping them see their project ideas through to completion."

This isn’t Wood’s first film fellowship. She is also a fellow with the Impact Producer Fellowship lead by Firelight Media, which is focused on empowering producers with strategies that maximize the impact of nonfiction media and reframe narratives around communities of color.

Before attending Ross, Wood double-majored in now known as Film, Television, and Media and Communications at U-M, with a minor in Japanese Language and Culture. Despite her impressive degrees, she initially struggled to launch a creative career right out of undergrad, calling her senior year job search “a headache and a half.”

“I spent so much time waiting to hear back on my dream jobs to no avail, or interviewing for positions that paid well but that I knew conflicted with my long-term creative career goals,” Wood explained. “I was afraid of settling, and I began to feel like I needed an additional academic edge to bolster out my undergrad degree.”

During my first semester of the MM program, I realized the skills we were learning in class were also the same ones I would need in order to become a successful producer — particularly in regards to strategy.”

Looking towards the future, Wood plans to continue developing her original feature ideas from script to screen, and further elevate stories that give voice to underrepresented communities of color.

“I’d definitely recommend the MM program,” Wood said. “Even as someone who always had the goal of working in the film industry in a creative role, the education I received at Ross was grounded in giving me universal business skills that I could take anywhere.”