Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

UGA dramatic media to make appearance on new National Geographic series

Athens, Ga. – Two University of Georgia alumni and the dramatic media program in the UGA department of theatre and film studies will be featured in the pilot episode for the new National Geographic series The Great American Manhunt. The series will premiere in the U.S. on April 19 at 9 p.m. EST.

Produced by London-based Wide-Eyed Entertainment, the series brings together a team of investigators who use forensic clues such as hair, clothing and skin to identify a stranger’s job, location and name. Roaming the country, these sleuths use their own talents as well as the knowledge of various experts, which include UGA dramatic media alumni.

A clue in the first episode leads one of the investigators to UGA, where he talks with alumnus Justin Louis and graduate student Michael J. Meindl. Together, they show the investigator the process of optical motion capture.

After graduating from UGA in 2005 with his bachelor’s degree in drama with a focus in dramatic media, Louis worked in both the video game and film industries, with positions at Atlanta’s CCP Games and the New Zealand-based Weta Digital. His credits include Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin and Transformers 3. Meindl received his master’s degree in dramatic media in 2011, shortly after taping the episode.

A 3-D computer model created by Mike Hussey, an associate professor and head of the UGA dramatic media program, was also used in the episode.

Hussey; David Saltz, head of the department of theatre and film studies; and Ola Gardner, a former graduate student who received his master’s degree in dramatic media in 2005, coordinated with WEE to bring their crew to Athens.

“It is great that students have the opportunity [at UGA] to work on professional projects while still in school and to have the support and trust of our mentors,” Meindl said.

The department of theatre and film studies is a unit of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, see