Tom Garrett, M.F.A.

Tom Garrett Headshot
Associate Professor

Communication, Film and Media Studies Department
College of Arts and Sciences

M.F.A., New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
B.A., University of New Haven

About Tom

Tom Garrett ’83 is a producer of feature and documentary films and a founding partner of Circa Films, an international sales and distribution company. He is an expert on the inner workings of Hollywood, the international film market, and the changing dynamics of the film and television industries in the age of streaming. He has decades of experience as an executive producer, director, and screenwriter.

A member of the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival, Professor Garrett has screened his films at the Berlin, Toronto, and Florence film festivals and on A&E, USA Network, and TF1 (France). He also is director of special initiatives for the Sarasota Film Festival and a juror for the International Emmy® Awards.

Garrett’s latest project, King of the Underdogs, a feature documentary he co-produced exploring the career of Rocky director John G. Avildsen, opened to much acclaim, winning best documentary awards at the 2017 Beverly Hills Film Festival, the Impact Docs, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, the George Sidney Independent Film Competition, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Based on the book Garrett co-wrote on Avildsen, the documentary features interviews with Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Macchio, and Martin Scorsese.

Professor Garrett has worked as a producer and director for advertising agencies and public relations firms such as Chiat-Day/Mojo, JWT, and BBD&O, with clients including Chanel, Reebok, Tag Heuer, and Calvin Klein. He has also produced music videos for Run-D.M.C. and U2. Prior to coming to the University of New Haven, Garrett was film program coordinator at Sam Houston State University and assistant professor at the University of Tampa.

Each year, Professor Garrett takes students to Cannes where they learn the art of the film deal and get an inside look into the business side of the industry. As a University of New Haven undergraduate, he attended the Cannes Festival with professor and mentor Jean Bodon, calling it a life-changing experience.

Professor Garrett was also instrumental in creating a partnership with FOX61 that resulted in the station establishing its New Haven bureau on campus and creating internship and other hands-on opportunities for students.

Teaching Specialties
  • Film Producing and Production
  • Film History and Theory
  • Media Marketing and Distribution
  • New Media Platforms
Research Interests/Recent Publications, Productions

Film and Digital Media Production; Cinema Studies; New Platforms of Global Media.

Tom’s research interests focuses on media production in the ever-changing entrepreneurial global marketplace. His recent research includes the publication of Sometimes You Lose: The Films of John Avildsen-Rocky, The Karate Kid and Other Underdogs. And a international documentary The Magic History Of Cinema which showcases magic and movies long continued history. The film explores how the origins of cinema are closely linked to the conjurors and illusionists of the early 20th century and how those ties continue with today’s top filmmakers and magicians.


Director of Special Initiatives for the Sarasota Film Festival

Member of the University Film and Video Association (UFVA)

Awards, Activities, Honors (Selected)

1st Place Feature Film Script 2014 UFVA (University Film and Video Association) Conference

Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival, annually

Juror for the International Emmy® Awards, annually

Department Advisor 

In the Media