The famed director of “Night of the Living Dead” is joining Douglas Education Center (DEC) to re-launch its filmmaking program at the Monessen career school.  George A. Romero, the western Pennsylvania native who made his mark in the movie industry by bringing zombies to “life” on the silver screen a half century ago, will begin developing the next generation of filmmakers as the signator of the new George A. Romero’s Filmmaking Program.

Romero’s success began in 1968 when he wrote and directed the most famous movie about zombies rising from the grave.  The low budget film became a hit and secured Romero as a trailblazer of the horror movie genre.  Since the release of the black-and-white cult classic, Romero has written and directed several sequels, including “Dawn of the Dead,” “Day of the Dead,” and “Land of the Dead.”  Flesh-eating zombies aren’t the only subjects of his films.  Romero has also directed hit horror movies such as “Monkey Shines,” “Creepshow,” and “The Dark Half,” the latter two based on the works of author Stephen King.

“ It’s not exaggeration to say that George has had one of the most unique, truly independent filmmaking careers in the history of the industry“ said Robert Tinnell, accomplished filmmaker and Director of the current Digital Filmmaking Program at DEC.  “ He personifies what we want our graduates to strive for – namely, he’s not only a creative filmmaker but also a veteran of every aspect of physical production.  Throughout his career he not only wrote and directed but also shot, edited, recorded sound, – the list is endless.  It’s not just his talent we want students to emulate, but also his work ethic and skill sets.

“Last May, Romero visited DEC to tour the campus and meet with administrators and instructors.  Tinnell personally escorted Romero through the classrooms, hallways, and theater, and to the giant soundstage where students do much of their green screen shooting.  Tinnell has been at the school since 2008.  He sees the new relationship with Romero as a major boost to the program.

“ On the surface, sure it’s nice to have such a recognizable name on the program,  “ Tinnell said. “ but what’s really meaningful to us is that fact that George is so passionate about student success. He’s put in a great deal of time helping us refine the curriculum to his vision.“

During his visit, Romero was able to see firsthand the level of commitment DEC has toward building the film program to become one of the best in the country.

“ Obviously,  I was aware and impressed with what Tom had achieved with his program (the Tom Savini Special Make-up Effects Program which is a sister to the film program) “ Romero said.  “When I saw the fantastic facilities that were already developed for the current film program, I saw an opportunity to get involved.“

The legendary director is excited to start a new chapter to his life’s work by helping the younger generation of movie makers.

“ This is not going to be an easy program with a lot of theory – this is going to be hard work, like the industry itself.  But it’s going to be fun, “ said Romero.

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Having already secured its spot as the premiere special effects school with their Tom Savini’s Special Make-up Effects program, DEC now has two movie legends offering their names – and wisdom – to the film industry’s youngest pupils.

“It’s an exciting time for not just our film program, but the entire school,” said CEO and President Jeffrey D. Imbrescia.  “To have two of the most influential and recognizable pioneers in the movie industry bringing their experience to our students is simply tremendous.”

“I’m looking forward to getting started… I’m happy to be part of it. It’s going to be great working with Tom again and being back in Pittsburgh “ said Romero.

The George A. Romero Filmmaking Program officially opens its doors to students beginning with the Fall 2016 semester.  The sixteen-month associate degree program is designed to prepare students with the skills to become filmmakers, producers, editors, gaffers, grips and directors.  Students receive hands-on experience with props, wardrobe and sets, and also learn a variety of facets of filmmaking including marketing and distribution of final products.

See the photos HERE.