McConaughey helping to teach UT-Austin film class for free

AUSTIN - Academy Award winner and University of Texas at Austin alum Matthew McConaughey is not getting paid to help teach a UT film class using material from movies he’s been working on.  

While not technically instructing the class, McConaughey has been an “active collaborator in initiating the idea of the class and getting materials for the class,” said Paul Stekler, chair of the radio-television-film department at UT's Moody College of Communication. 

“A lot of folks contribute to the program in terms of people that are in the industry and giving back," Stekler said. "Matthew is just a much more high-profile person than most of those folks." 

McConaughey, who could not be reached for comment for this story, will only come to class once or twice a semester; the advanced producing class, where students will learn the creative and business side of filmmaking, is being co-taught by lecturer Scott Rice. 

“Being able to have this contact with people inside film and being able to take a look at materials that are relevant to the way films are made right now is just priceless for the students,” Stekler said. 

McConaughey made waves last year for accepting $135,000 from the University of Houston to give the spring commencement speech. He donated the money to the just keep livin Foundation, an organization he created to bring fitness and wellness into public schools. 

This is the second semester McConaughey has been involved with a film class at the Moody school. According to an announcement from the university, the class of 30 students went behind the scenes of his upcoming film, “Free State of Jones.” Gary Ross, director of "The Hunger Games," also acted as a collaborator in the class. 

“He is a very enthusiastic alumni of the radio-television-film program at the Moody College," Stekler said. "I think he’s doing this partially because he had such a good experience here, and he’s learned a lot in terms of what he knew and what he thinks students should know." 

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune here.


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