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Get to know: MPTV Professor Margaret Byrne

By   /   February 8, 2013  /   Comments Off

MargaretFor Motion Picture Television Professor Margaret Byrne, filmmaking has always been an adventure.

Byrne started out loving photography, she built her own dark room when she was thirteen years old and later kept studying photography throughout high school.

Before attending a four-year school, she attended COD and studied to be a photographer.

After COD, Byrne headed to the University of Chicago and learned that photography wasn’t enough for her creativity.

“For me getting into film was a natural extension, I didn’t just want to be a photographer,” Byrne said.

Byrne got her degree in film at UIC in 1998 before moving to Brooklyn, New York where she worked with Mary J. Blige on a short documentary that was released as a DVD in 2003.

Later on, Byrne found her home in Nigeria where she helped launch MTV for Africa in 2005 by directing music videos and working with record labels.

According to Byrne, her most challenging tasks were the best reward.

“Working in Nigeria really prepared me for everything because it was probably the most challenging work I’ve done,” Byrne said.

After Nigeria, Byrne settled down in Illinois with her daughter and began to teach at COD in 2012.

Byrne has been recognized for her work on the Sundance Film “American Promise” which stars two Brooklyn African American boys who grow up in a touch educational world.

According to Byrne, she was only one of the three editors and four cinematographers that worked on the film since it took thirteen years to create.

American Promise won U. S. Documentary Special Jury award for Achievement in Filmmaking at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Utah and will premiere on PBS by the end of the year.

Byrne said she has another documentary that she was been working on for five years now called “Raising Bertie” which is about a public school being shut down and what happens to the kids when they lose that support.

Byrne said she would finish the last shooting of the film this year.

“The [goal] is to engage people in these stories with the intention of improving graduation rates and [bring] people into the discussion about the education reform,” Byrne said.

Byrne is a part time faculty member in the MPTV department while working on her documentary, she teaches editing and other film courses as well.


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