Tuesday, November 30, 2010
In Remembrance of Mary C. Johnson
Mary C. Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Film Department, died on Thursday, November 25, 2010 after a long battle with cancer. Dr. Johnson received both her masters degree in English education and her Ph.D. in film studies and English education from Ohio State University. She joined the University of Central Florida faculty in 1991 after teaching at Florida State University. She spent a number of summers teaching at Holllins University as a Visiting Associate Professor. Dr. Johnson was a beloved teacher concerned with critical and creative writing skills of middle school and secondary school students as well as honing the script writing skills of undergraduate and graduate students. She worked closely with students who often sought her advice and critiques long after they graduated. She chaired 3 MFA committees and worked diligently to create an award for best undergraduate screenplay. She worked extensively as Chair of curriculum committees developing both the undergraduate and MFA programs.
Her widely-used textbook The Scriptwriter’s Journal (1987) had a second edition published in 2001. She gave many invited presentations around the country at conferences ranging from the Annual University Film and Video Conference to the annual conference of the National Council for the Teachers of English and she was a frequent panelist, moderator, film festival judge and workshop facilitator.
Dr. Johnson wrote 11 feature length scripts including Faceless, Fais-Do-Do that was awarded a Female Eye Film Festival Development Grant and a Sundance Screenwriting Lab finalist, and Oasis that was awarded an Independent Producers Grant from the Central Florida Film Council and a Production Grant from Women in Film/Central Florida, and she co-wrote 2 feature length scripts. Many of these are retained by production companies. She produced 3 short films and 2 videos, and wrote pilot scripts for both radio and television series. Inangara was an award-winning book selected as “one of America’s Thirty Best Books” (1992-93) and video for children. Recently, she had concentrated efforts on writing short stories, a novel and a biography of a psychic. These efforts were facilitated by attendance at competitive writers’ workshops for which she received scholarship support and accolades from master writers Dennis Lehane and Tom Perrotta who referred to her as "a virtuoso of grunge" in his critique of her novel.
Dr. Johnson is the recipient of a number of other grants and awards including a media literacy summer program grant at the Enzian Theater from the FL Department of Labor, a UCF grant as a member of a team developing materials about Zora Neale Hurston, a member of a team receiving multiple awards (Clios, Art Directors Club, Integrated Media, Yahoo) for a viral marketing campaign for videogames, a UCF Women’s Research Center Award in the Arts and Humanities for a documentary, and a scholarship from the Women in Film Foundation.
She served on both the Editorial and Advisory Boards of Creative Screenwriting, a national periodical for professional and academic screenwriters, and on the Board of Women in Film/ Central Florida as well as holding membership in a number of other professional organizations.
Dr. Johnson was an avid reader as well as writer and enjoyed participating in a book club. She was an avid film goer supporting film festivals and the independent film community especially the Enzian Theater. She had a lifelong love of animals and nature. Her keen observations, extraordinary sense of humor, sparkle and wit will be missed by her friends and colleagues. Her love and support will be missed by her daughters Leah and Beth.
Remembrances by Kristin Condgon, Debbie Gordon, Susan Hubbard, Leslie Sue Lieberman, Steve Schlow and Ula Stoeckl.