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Michael Wagner, MFA

Chair, TV/Film Department; Associate Professor

Born in Michigan and raised in southeastern PA, Michael Wagner spent nearly a decade working in physical therapy before his passion for filmmaking grew from an artistic side hustle and fully into a second career. Over the last 25 years, he’s freelanced far and wide in the film industry, primarily in camera departments up and down the east coast. As an independent filmmaker, Mike has set loose upon the world dozens of narrative short films, music videos, commercials, and documentaries. His main concentrations are in the crafts of directing and cinematography, with additional interests in production design and cinema studies.  Mike’s creative work focuses on the transformative power of nature and the environment, and often feature subjects or characters who exist on the fringes of their communities and their various struggles to navigate those worlds as outsiders. His films and screenplays have won numerous awards and recognition, and have been selected to screen at regional, national, and international film festivals.

Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2005 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Narrative Film Production. The conservatory’s accelerated production schedule enabled him to experience nearly every film department and crew position, while he concentrated on directing and camera. He continues to explore filmmaking and evolve as a visual storyteller with such an inclusive approach.

In addition to filmmaking, Mike is an avid disc golfer, an amateur photographer, an even more amateur baker, and a long-suffering fan of Philly and Michigan sports teams. He lives on the outskirts of the Lehigh Valley with his talented wife, Angela, and a menagerie of dogs, cats, horses, and other critters. 

Mike arrived at DeSales in 2011, and was appointed Chair of TV/Film in 2018. He remains proud and grateful to be part of the special community of scholars and professionals at DeSales.