New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Faculty


Filmmaking Department

Ed Timpe Ed Timpe
Chair of Filmmaking

MFA in Production with a concentration in Cinematography, Chapman University; BS in Kinesiology, Indiana University. Timpe has screened films in festivals around the world.

Rick​ Curnutt​ Rick​ Curnutt​
Associate Chair of Filmmaking

MFA in Film Directing, Chapman University; BA in Cultural Anthropology, Boston University. Joined Trench Film Group (Beijing) in 1998, and continued on as a cinematographer, editor, and director of various award-winning independent documentaries, films, and music videos over the next seven years in China. His film, Run China won the honor of "Top 10 Documentaries of the Year" at the Chinese National Documentary Society Film Festival in Guangzhou, 2005; and has aired on over 20 Chinese television networks. Directed short films Potty Talk, Alarm, and Free Lunch, which all went on to screen and garner awards at select film festivals around the globe. Free Lunch was also picked up by Franco-German TV Network "Arte" after screening in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France.

David Newman David Newman
Associate Chair of Filmmaking

BS, Broadcasting/Film, Boston University. Entertainment professional with over a decade of experience writing, producing, and directing television series. Over fifteen years of experience as assistant director. Feature film writer.

Lee Gordon Lee Gordon
Associate Chair of Filmmaking

Award-winning screenwriter and development consultant. Numerous credits including field producer on the Oscar winning documentary, "Undefeated."

Scott Hartmann Scott Hartmann
Associate Chair of Filmmaking

Scott Aaron Hartmann (Eastern Shawnee) is a filmmaker and storyteller, and proudly holds an MFA in film production with an emphasis on directing from Chapman University. Scott has written and directed a long list of short films, commercials and music videos. His independent short films have screened at festivals all over the world, garnering a number of awards. He has been fortunate enough to be able to direct many great performers, including Joseph Runningfox ("Geronimo," "Ravenous") and the late Misty Upham ("Frozen River," "August: Osage County"). As a Los Angeles-based director, Scott continues to develop his own projects while also teaching directing and screenwriting to future filmmakers. Scott has also worked as a screenwriting consultant, with some student work accepted in the Oscars Library. Most recently, Scott he has served as the Academic Chair for the New York Film Academy campus in Abu Dhabi, teaching both filmmaking and screenwriting.

Ashley Bank Ashley Bank

Ashley Bank has been working in the entertainment industry for virtually her entire life. She's worked as an actress, stand-up comedian, producer, and writer. As an actress Ashley has appeared in over 40 commercials, and has guest stared on TV shows like Family Ties, My Two Dads, Frasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She's also appeared in numerous TV Movies, working with greats like Henry Winkler, Dolly Parton, and Raquel Welch, as well as the feature film The Monster Squad. She also worked as a producer for CBS News/48 Hours, and later for CBS News' documentary department, working on documentaries for The History Channel, The Food Network, A&E, Discovery, and ESPN. She is a graduate of New York University, with a BA in Film, Journalism, & Political Science. She is also a graduate of The Second City Conservatory.

Carl Bartels Carl Bartels

A working cinematographer since 1996, Carl is credited with dozens of feature films and several award-winning documentaries. Originally from Massachusetts, Carl is now based in Los Angeles. He has shot numerous shows for Discovery and A&E, and directed several episodes. His most recent credits include Greedy, Lying Bastards, a documentary produced by Daryl Hannah, and Taken 3 starring Liam Neeson and Forrest Whittaker, on which he shot "A" Camera (he is credited on the entire Taken series of films).

Sanora Bartels Sanora Bartels

Producer for several feature documentaries including Michael & Me and Taking the Hill: A Warrior's Journey, a documentary about PTSD. Most recently, she was the Field Producer for the documentary Greedy, Lying Bastards, executive produced by Daryl Hannah. She has worked as an Assistant Director on shows for Discovery and NatGeo Channel.

Leslie Bates Leslie Bates

Leslie Bates has an undergraduate degree in Marketing and English Literature from San Diego State University, and a JD from Lincoln Law School. After a stint in Turkey as a contracts attorney, Leslie returned to America to complete an MFA in Screenwriting at the American Film Institute. She has written and produced the dramatic feature, Broken Angel and the documentary, Cesar Chavez, as well as producing countless short films, commercials and live theater. Her other credits include producer of the Istanbul National Ballet production, Agir Roman (East Side Story), at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood.

Joseph Bonier Joseph Bonier

An active Sound Mixer and Sound Designer, Joseph graduated with a BA from the University of Maryland. Joseph also has a degree for Recording Engineering from the Recording Connection. He has worked as Boom Operator and Sound Mixer for numerous features, TV shows and shorts. He also worked as an Engineer at Avalon studios in Washington DC and Matrax productions in Philadelphia, PA.

John Briscoe John Briscoe

Editor of multiple commercials broadcast both in Western Pennsylvania as well as Los Angeles. Worked as a freelance contractor on various independent films, webisodes and commercials. Editor of an 8-episode "war time" style documentary independently and aired locally in Los Angeles. Director, Producer and Editor of various segments airing on Pennsylvania television including a commercial for Hyundai, as well as various local food establishments and businesses.

Joe Burke Joe Burke

Joe Burke's debut feature film, Four Dogs, world premiered to great reviews at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2013. He's directed such shows as Newsreaders on Adult Swim and FOX Digital's half-hour comedy, Bad Samaritans, along with having written/directed several award-winning short films. Joe has spent plenty of time on the other side of the camera as well, acting on screen in movies, commercials, and television, including the critically acclaimed Showtime show, Ray Donovan. Joe earned his MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute, and his BA in Film/Minor in Theater from Columbia College Chicago. He is a member of both the DGA and SAG-AFTRA.

Denise Carlson Denise Carlson

Denise Carlson is a producer and development executive with twenty years of experience in the entertainment industry. She was at Disney Channel for 9 years as the Director of Original Movies, responsible for overseeing the development and production of 47 television movies, including the megahit High School Musical, as well as other highly successful films such as Wendy Wu and The Cheetah Girls movies. She is on the board of the LA Femme film festival, which is dedicated to presenting films that are made by and about women. She has a BFA from Rollins College and a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Ryokan College.

Neil Casey Neil Casey

Los Angeles based cinematographer whose body of work includes feature films, short films, and documentaries.

Lydia Cedrone Lydia Cedrone

MBA, New York University Stern School of Business; BA in Economics, Boston College. Oversaw company operations for Michael Mann, and production operations for Ali. At The Walt Disney Co., Trimark Pictures, and Savoy Pictures, managed production spending on over two-dozen studio films. Developed and produced two feature films, including the 2009 MGM film The Betrayed.

Nathan Chitayat Nathan Chitayat

Wrote and directed short films earning two Motion Picture Association of America Awards, the Edie and Lew Wasserman Filmmaker's Fellowship, and the Joseph W. Drown Award for Motion Picture Production. Short film, "Old Grace", was selected by more than 20 festivals, nationwide, as well as winning various awards. "Subbing 4 Julia", won Best Script at UCLA's annual festival and was selected for a special program by a Blue Ribbon Panel including such names as Alexander Payne (Sideways), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), and producer Mark London (The Visitor). Writes, edits, and directs webisodes. Writes and teaches all facets of film at the undergraduate and graduate level at UCLA, New York Film Academy, and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

Jay Cipriani Jay Cipriani

MFA in Film Production, USC School of Cinematic Arts; BA in English, Creative Writing, West Virginia University; NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Film Production. Jay started his career in story development for Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein, and Len Amato, then with writer/director Ted Griffin. He sold a story to Lions Gate, wrote A Golden Christmas and its subsequent sequels for ION TV and worked on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as a number of other features.

James Coburn James Coburn

James H. Coburn IV, C.A.S., has been working professionally in Production Sound for over twenty years, mixing such independent features as Free Enterprise (1998) with Eric McCormack and William Shatner, All's Faire in Love (2009) with Christina Ricci and Ann Margret, and most recently The Bronx Bull (2013) with William Forsythe and Joe Mantegna. His television work includes the series Black Scorpion produced by Roger Corman, and the reality show Guru2Go or Discovery Networks channel Health TV. He served on the Board of the Cinema Audio Society for seven years, and was instrumental in creating the CAS Technical Achievement Awards honoring innovation in the equipment and software used by production and post-production sound mixers. Before moving to NYFA, from 2008-2015 James shared his enthusiasm for sound with students at LAFS. He teaches the fundamentals of production audio—utility sound, booming, recording & mixing—emphasizing capturing performance, and the importance of production sound in enhancing and supporting the Director's artistic vision. James lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Michael DeMeritt Michael DeMeritt

Michael DeMeritt has produced, written and served as Assistant Director (DGA) on every form of production. His AD Credits include long runs in episodic television (Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Close to Home, Make It or Break It), New Media (Sin City Saints) and Commercials. His Producing Writer efforts include many award winning regional and National Commercials (Life is Beautiful Campaign, Copperfit Campaign), reality series (Gen's Guiltless Gourmet, The Real Trophy Wives), feature and short films ("The Moneymaker") and New Media series (Biffle & Shooster).

William Dickerson William Dickerson
Director's Craft

MFA in Directing, American Film Institute; BA in English, College of the Holy Cross. William is an award-winning filmmaker and author. His debut feature film Detour, which he wrote and directed, was released Theatrically and On Demand through Gravitas Ventures and Warner Brothers Digital Distribution. His metafictional satire, The Mirror, opened YoFi Fest's inaugural film festival in 2013, and he recently completed his third feature film, Don't Look Back, for MarVista Entertainment. His award-winning films have been recognized by film festivals across the country. His AFI Thesis Film, "Shadowbox," won Best Short at the Shockfest Film Festival in Hollywood. He just completed his 2nd book, an insider's guide to directing microbudget films called, "DETOUR: Hollywood - How To Direct a Microbudget Film (or any film, for that matter)."

Kevin DiNovis Kevin DiNovis

Kevin DiNovis studied dramatic craft with Pulitzer Prize winning absurdist playwright Edward Albee. His first feature film, Surrender Dorothy (1998), won multiple awards, including the Grand Jury prize for Best Feature at the Slamdance, Chicago Underground, and New York Underground Film Festivals. Hand-picked by critic Roger Ebert as one of only ten films to inaugurate his Overlooked Film Festival, Surrender Dorothy is currently distributed by TLA Releasing; the DVD version was praised as one of the "Best Releases of 2000" by the Internet Movie Data Base.

Bill Duke Bill Duke

Bill Duke's acting and directing credits are extensive. His feature credits include Deep Cover, Predator, Menace II Society, Hoodlum, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Get Rich or Die Trying, ​and Not Easily Broken​, to name a few. His television work includes such ground-breaking series as Falcon Crest, Fame, Hill Street Blues, Knots Landing, Dallas, and New York Undercover​. He has recently completed production on Blexicans​, a new television pilot that takes a comedic look at a mixed race family. His documentaries, Dark Girls and Light Girls, both NAACP Image Award nominees​, aired on OWN and were two of the most successful documentaries on the network.

Bill Duke's invaluable contributions to the industry have been recognized by both his peers and the entertainment community. Bill was appointed by former President Bill Clinton to the National Endowment for the Humanities​, and to the Board of the California State Film Commission ​by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has been honored by the Directors Guild of America ​with a Lifetime Achievement Tribute​.

Duke Media Entertainment​ is dedicated to bringing quality edutainment to audiences around the globe. Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than 30 years​. Additionally, Duke Media is in process of expanding the brand to involve itself in the development of new media technologies​, i.e. cellphone apps, games, and virtual world experiences.

Bill's humanitarian efforts are equally important. He devotes his time to charity and not-for-profit organizations that enhance our human experience. He is on the Board of Directors of Educating Young Minds ​and recently established the Duke Media Foundation​, which has joined forces with the New York Film Academy, to teach media arts and financial literacy to underserved youth.

Joshua Eiserike Joshua Eiserike

Josh is a writer/cartoonist who has written for the HUB animated series G.I. Joe: Renegades and MAD Magazine. Coming from the indie comics world, Josh's first comic book Class of ‘99 won an Ignatz award (the Independent Spirit Award of comics) and his subsequent graphic novel Anyone But Virginia is currently distributed by Alterna Comics. Josh holds an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri and an MFA in film production from USC.

Sean Fau-Burnitz Sean Fau-Burnitz
Camera & Sound

Sean Fau-Burrnitz has been working with film and video for over 20 years, shooting, editing, writing, and directing, narrative, documentary, reality, and live events. Former CEO of video production company, specializing in live multi-cam sporting events recording and DVD distribution. Sean is currently a Hollywood-based freelance Cinematographer and Sound Mixer, and teaches both cinematography and on set sound recording in multiple departments at New York Film Academy.

Lance Fisher Lance Fisher

Lance Fisher started in the camera departments of the major studios as a 2nd Camera Assistant, and has worked on countless feature and TV productions ever since. The tremendous paradigm shift into digital cameras has been swift and sometimes unpredictable, and Lance has surfed the wave. He was operating camera on the TV series The Dead Zone when they made the transition from 35mm film to 2/3" Digital Capture, state-of-the-art at the time; one of the first episodic productions to commit to this new technology. While teaching at NYFA, Lance embraces these new methods, while delivering what he terms 'a film-ethic' that is vital to a student's professional growth. A fun highlight of Lance's broad career is that Lance had the privilege of operating what might be the very last complete project filmed in the original Cinema 3-Panel Process, In the Picture, 2012. Lance is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild in the US and Canada and also The Society of Camera Operators. He operates on many shows and is also a DP. When he is not at NYFA, look up in the sky, because Lance is also a commercial helicopter pilot.

Richard Friedman Richard Friedman

Richard Friedman is a director, writer, and producer of motion pictures, television movies, episodic TV, network specials, and music videos. He has over 25 years experience in directing and producing film and TV, including Independent Feature Films, Television movies, Episodic Television Series, Reality TV, and Music Videos.

As a television Director, Richard has helmed numerous movies for TV and is a veteran of over 35 episodes of network and syndicated TV series, having directed Warner Bros.' Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Baywatch Nights, Silk Stalkings, and Friday the 13th. As an Instructor, Richard has taught for the last 14 years at the Directing Certificate Program at UCLA Extension and was the recipient of the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Instructor of the Year Award.

Rick Greenwood Rick Greenwood

Richard Greenwood Jr. is a cinematographer and producer, known for Hunger Games: Tribute Johanna (2013), Hinnon Valley (2010) and 4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker (2012).

Kenneth Johnson Kenneth Johnson
Special Lectures

Writer, Director, Producer. Creator of V, The Incredible Hulk, Alien Nation, The Bionic Woman, and other Emmy Award-winning shows. Director of numerous TV movies and feature films, including Short Circuit 2 and Steel. Winner of the prestigious Viewers for Quality Television Award, multiple Saturn Awards, and The Sci-Fi Universe Life Achievement Award.

Matt Kohnen Matt Kohnen

MFA in Film Production, USC; BA in Theatre/Playwriting, University of California, Irvine. Director and writer of feature film Wasting Away, winner of awards at 6 festivals worldwide. Director of multiple short films with Academy Award-winning producer Rob Fried.

Igor Kovacevich Igor Kovacevich

MFA in Film Directing/Producing, Ohio University School of Film. Produced Downloading Nancy, starring Maria Bello and Jason Patric, which premiered at Sundance. Bello was nominated for Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards in March 2010. Worked at Focus Features/Universal in feature acquisitions and development.

Mark Lester Mark Lester

Director, writer, and producer Mark L. Lester has created high-action films throughout his career, including some of the world's biggest box office draws. His directorial expertise has garnered praise for such films as Arnold Schwarzenegger's box-office mega-hit Commando (1985), Stephen King's supernatural thriller Firestarter (1984) with Drew Barrymore and Martin Sheen, Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) starring Dolph Lundgren and the late Brandon Lee in his first major role, and two frighteningly prophetic films about the state of society: Class of 1984 (1982) with Michael J. Fox in his first film role and the sequel, Class of 1999 (1989). In addition to receiving international critical acclaim, Lester's films are box-office hits. Commando was an international success story, grossing over $120 million, and Class of 1984 was a #1 U.S. box-office draw and became the top-grossing film in many major markets around the world. For more than 20 years, Mark L. Lester has overseen the development and distribution of over 100 films at American World Pictures. He founded Titan Global Entertainment in 2012 to continue producing and directing quality features for many years to come.

Rebecca Louisell Rebecca Louisell

Rebecca Louisell graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Studio Art (photography, mixed media) and an M.F.A. in Production from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts (USC). While at USC, she was awarded several scholarships and a College Television Award for her producing and directing work. Moving between indie narrative, documentary and new media projects, Louisell has served as Associate Producer on Limited Partnership: a documentary about love, marriage and deportation which was awarded the IDA Humanitarias Documentary Award 2014 and showed on PBS' Independent Lens, and You See Me, which screened at Dances With Films and Docutah Film Festivals. She is Producer-Director on an upcoming web series, LA Picker.

Alison Marek Alison Marek

Alison Marek received her MFA in film directing from New York University. She has produced and AP'd reality TV, docs, features, and web series. Her short films and screenplays have won and been nominated for numerous awards and grants, including a Los Angeles Emmy nomination, two Gold Aurora Awards, one Bronze Telly, and grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Showtime Networks Inc. She wrote and illustrated two graphic novels that were published by Piranha Press/DC Comics.

Bart Mastronardi Bart Mastronardi

BA, Hunter College, Film Studies. Cinematographer of commercials and numerous short films along with feature films: The Blood Shed; Crossed; Gallery of Fear: Far Cry From Home and By Her Hand; documentary for Bravo TV Unlocking The Hope, Vidal Sasson; and Shear Genius Season 1 casting NYC. Bart is also the director, cinematographer, writer and producer of the horror feature film Vindication, which is released by RSquared Films.

Gil McDonald Gil McDonald
Feature Screenwriting

MFA in Screenwriting, American Film Institute; BA in Radio/TV/Film Production, Minor in Psychology, Howard University. Award-winning writer, producer, and director on "Motel Paradise," a short film selected and screened at the prestigious AFI Theatre.

Michel Moon Michel Moon

BFA in Theatre Studies from York University; graduated best producer of his year at the Toronto Film School. Over ten years production experience in almost every department. Directed, acted in, produced, and photographed award-winning films in a half dozen countries.

Steve Morris Steve Morris
Directing, Editing

In addition to writing the independent feature Stonebrook, Steve worked on the set, learning his way around each department from cameras and sound. In 2000, Steve began production on one of the world's first online web series, Siren. Siren was viewed by hundred's of thousands of fans and inspired an interactive sequel, Operation: Siren, which premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. His partnership with Mike Hoover, resulted in the 2006 CBS documentary Shark: Mind of a Demon starring Fabien Cousteau as well as the ambitious, 2011 documentary Great White Shark: Beyond the Cage of Fear for the National Geographic Chanel which Steve Wrote, Directed, Edited and Narrated. In 2008, Steve began producing, writing, directing and editing The Assistants, a Hollywood caper movie starring Joe Mantegna, Jane Seymour, and Stacy Keach. The Assistants won the Audience Award for best feature at the Vail Film Festival and was released theatrically in 2010. Steve has a BA from UC Berkley with degrees in both Political Science and Theater as well as an MFA from USC's school of Cinema and Television.

Adam Nimoy Adam Nimoy
Thesis Film Post Production, Advanced Approaches to Directing

JD, Loyola Law School; BS, UC Berkeley. Director of one-hour single camera television, including The Practice, Ally McBeal, NYPD Blue, and Gilmore Girls.

Matteo Nurizo Matteo Nurizzo

Matteo is an editor for various short independent films. He has also been an Avid Certified Instructor since 2013. He is a freelance videographer and editor whose clients include: BM Factory, Banque PSA Finance, Castiglioni. Matteo was director and editor of "Style In Frames" for Comune di Milano. He was an industrial designer and graphic artist in Italy. He holds a Master of Science in Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

Kim Ogletree Kim Ogletree
Industry Lab Chair, Producing Instructor

Kimberly joined the BET family as Supervising Producer for Development and Special Projects where she produced several syndicated television shows and specials, BET's 15th Anniversary and "The Walk of Fame" featuring Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Babyface among others. Her other producing credits include the BET Arabesque films, Rendevous, A Private Affair, Midnight Blue, and Rhapsody starring LisaRaye; Hair Show starring Oscar Recipient, Monique; Playas Ball starring Allen Payne of Tyler Perry's House of Payne; CuJn' Da Mustard starring Brandon T. Jackson which won the 2007 Pan African Film Festival. Choice Award; the MTV Original Movie, Love Song, directed by Julie Dash; Ashes which won the 2010 Best Horror Film at Shriekfest; and Hellraiser: Revelations for Dimension Films. Most recently, Kimberly produced the faith-based film A Beautiful Soul.

Nick Ozeki Nick Ozeki

MFA in Filmmaking, Chapman University; BA in English, Amherst College. Wrote and directed an award-winning feature film out of graduate school that was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He is also a part of the prestigious Fox Writer's Initiative, aimed at developing and writing original content for their networks.

Jim Pasternak Jim Pasternak

Jim Pasternak is a directing instructor with over 40 years of teaching experience. He has designed programs and taught at some of the best film schools in the U.S. He travels the world empowering people to produce and direct movies. Two of his directors have won Oscars. Jim's directing, producing, and writing credits include features, shorts, theater, and television. A directing fellow at the Sundance Institute, Jim began his career as assistant to Otto Preminger and as a producer on the Emmy-Award winning ABC documentary series, The Saga Of Western Man. He holds a Masters Degree in Film from UCLA.

Jennifer Penton Jennifer Penton

Jennifer has worked at Warner Brothers, Klaspy Csupo, and Yahoo!, and on special projects for Disney. She has also worked with many independent filmmakers as an editor and web developer. One of her greatest joys is to help students explore their creativity and gain the technological tools to express themselves through live action and animated motion pictures. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing from UCLA and a master’s degree in film with an emphasis in experimental animation from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Huch Platt Huch Platt

Avid Pro Tools HD Certified Instructor, Owner Majestic Sound Studios, Foley Mixer, Dialog Editor Flags for Our Fathers, Dialog Editor Black Dawn and Stranger by Me. Huch has dedicated his life to teaching the art and craft of Film Sound and helping new filmmakers achieve amazing Sound Design.

Kevin Richey Kevin Richey
Cinematography, Sync Sound Workshop

MFA in Radio/TV/Film, Northwestern University; BA in Critical Studies of Film and Television, University of Alabama. Taught at Northwestern University and Chicago's DePaul University before moving to Los Angeles. He currently works as a commercial cinematographer in the U.S. and abroad for clients such as Ford, Bank of America, and McDonald's.

Charlie Rose Charlie Rose

AIC, cinematographer who has received numerous international awards (Cannes, Venice, New York, Tokyo Film Festivals) for his work in feature films, commercials, documentaries, and music videos.

James Rowe James Rowe
Advanced Approaches to Directing, Feature Script Development

BA in Communications, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Writing and directing credits in television, feature and short films. Festival selections at LA Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival. Writer/Director of feature film Blue Ridge Fall, starring Amy Irving, Chris Isaak, and Peter Facinelli.

Michael Sandoval Michael Sandoval
Directing, Writing

MFA, New York University, Tisch School of the Arts; MFA, University of Michigan, Writing Program; BA, Brown University.

Films have appeared in Berlin Film Festival, Palm Springs, Slamdance, Toronto Short Film Festival, Margaret Meade Doc Festival, and more. Director of The Good Son (competition screening, Berlin); Ariana (Audience Award, San Luis Obispo Film Festival). Cinematographer/producing consultant for numerous film/TV productions, including feature documentary, Horizontes sin Dueño and "The Encounter" (Best Short, Las Palmas). Awarded Ang Lee Fellowship. Published fiction/non-fiction. Residency Grants include Ucross Foundation, the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Mark Sawicki Mark Sawicki
Production Design & Special Visual Effects

Mark is a veteran visual effects cameraman with a large body of work, including The Terminator, X-Men and The Dark Knight Rises. In addition to having taught for many years, Mark is the author of Animating with Stop Motion Pro and Filming the Fantastic first and second edition, both published by Focal Press.

Boris Schaarschmidt Boris Schaarschmidt

Boris Schaarschmidt is a director, producer, and writer with 15 well-recognized short films under his belt. Each of his films has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. Boris holds a BFA in cinematography from the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund, Germany, and a MFA in directing from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He has been awarded several prestigious scholarships and awards, among them the German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship (DAAD), and the Pat Hitchcock O’Connell Scholarship Award.

Throughout his career, Boris has worked with well-accomplished and recognized professionals in the film industry, among them German director Romuald Karmaker and Quentin Tarantino, for whom Boris worked on the post-production of "Inglorious Bastards." Following the success of his short film "Haleema," Boris went to Iceland for a three-month artist residency and shot the experimental film "Eldur a Himni" about the Northern Lights.
Ryan Schwartz Ryan Schwartz

MFA in Film Production, USC; BA in International Relations, UC Berkeley. Production credits for Scott Free, MJZ, Bedford Falls, Tool, Propaganda. Co-founder of The Incite Group. Producer on The Jenkins Orphanage Project and Making Love.

Tony Schwartz Tony Schwartz

Over 20 years of experience as an assistant director for television and feature films of varying budgets. His credits include Land of the Lost, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, and CSI: New York.

Nick Sivakumaran Nick Sivakumaran

MFA in Film Production, USC School of Cinema/TV; BA in Biology and Psychology, University of Rochester. Writer/Director of award-winning short film, "Diwali." Screened at over 30 international film festivals, a recipient of a Director's Guild of America Student Film Award and invited to the 2002 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. Also won commercial contests for clients, Chevrolet and Lifestyles Condoms and recently wrote a stage musical that had a six-week run in Hollywood.

Zack Stoff Zack Stoff
Digital Editing

BFA in Film and Television, University of Westminster, London. Directed and edited numerous music documentaries and videos for award-winning artists. Assistant Editor on Gus, Che Part One, and Che Part Two. Lead editor on Benicio Del Toro's Seven Days in Havana.

Shawn Sullivan Shawn Sullivan

Shawn received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Screenwriting from California State University Northridge knowing he wanted to work in Post-Production. The emphasis was getting strong storytelling skills to bring to film editing. He has worked as an Editor on short film, commercials, marketing videos, and feature films. His clients include Redken, Keller Williams, Exit Realty, Caldwell Banker and Disney. Shawn has been the Post Production Supervisor for the New York Film Academy's New York and Los Angeles campus. He is the Director of the NYFA summer workshop at Walt Disney World. In 2014 Disney presented Shawn with a Mousecar (Disney's version of an Oscar) for 10 years of working with Disney Youth Program and New York film Academy. Shawn previously worked for Apple teaching the Final Cut Pro film editing software. He is Final Cut Pro Certified by Apple. He is also an Avid Certified Instructor with the Media Composer film editing software.

Graham Tallman Graham Tallman
Screenwriting, Directing

Graham received his BA in Film at the University of British Columbia and his Masters in Film Directing at the American Film Institute. His two short films "Lollipops" and "Codename: Simon" have enjoyed success at such prestigious festivals as the Toronto International Film Festival, garnered numerous international awards, and played regularly on the IFC, CBC, and WTN TV networks. In 2004 Graham adapted the comic book Courtney Crumin and the Night Things for Fox 2000 and New Regency.

Igor Torgeson Igor Torgeson

MFA Film, Boston University; BA Journalism, George Washington University. Freelance editor and actor in Los Angeles. Has edited for clients including the Gameshow Network, National Lampoon, McGraw-Hill Publications, Southern California Gas Company, and Cessna Aircraft. Commercial credits include campaigns for Citibank and Brighthouse Networks.

Robert Pietri Robert Pietri

BFA, Carnegie Mellon University; MFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Dean's Fellow. Robert has worked in several mediums and genres, from live-action narrative to animation and documentary. His films have been in competition at festivals around the world, including AFI/DOCs, Animafest Zagreb, Annecy, BFI London Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Pietri served in the United States Marines Corps and worked for years as an art director before committing himself to filmmaking. His first feature, Semper Fidel, was shot in Havana, Cuba. Robert continues to work and develop projects internationally.

Sarah Warren Sarah Warren

Sarah Warren is a writer, director, and actor who is originally from Canada and studied filmmaking in London. She’s made two award-winning feature films as well as a series for YouTube. She lectures on film globally, including in Egypt, Malaysia, Canada, and the UK.

Mark Horowitz Mark Horowitz

SUNY Albany. Mark Horowitz has over 35 years experience in feature film sales, marketing, financing, and distribution. Films he has been associated with in these capacities include Blue Velvet, Hotel Rwanda, Harold & Kumar, Pollock, Dogtown & the Z Boys, and eXistenZ. He has worked with highly-acclaimed directors such as David Cronenberg, Neil Jordan, and David Lynch, as well as many first-time directors.

Dana Lustig Dana Lustig

Dana moved to LA from Israel and started her career after graduating the American Film Institute. She has directed five feature films and produced over 20. Her latest work includes Jungle, a true survival story with Daniel Radcliffe, and Look Away with India Eisley, Jason Isaac, and Mira Sorvino. Recently, Dana executive produced Spider in the Web with Ben Kingsley and Monica Bellucci, and has also shot nine episodes of the mega-hit Israeli TV show Very Important Man. As a director, Dana worked on Kill Me Later with Selma Blair, Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Wild Cherry with Rob Schneider, and A Thousand Kisses Deep with Jodie Whittiker (Doctor Who).

Amy Whittenberger Amy Whittenberger

MFA, American Film Institute, 2013. Amy was a playwright and director in Chicago, where she had over fifteen plays produced in Illinois, Florida, Texas, and California. In Los Angeles, she has worked as a narrative writer for Episodes, a choose-your-own-adventure storytelling app, and as a writers assistant for Paramount Pictures on Paranormal Activity 5: The Ghost Dimension. Amy has had multiple screenplays optioned and commissioned.

Francis J. Pezza Francis J. Pezza

Francis is a Production Designer with extensive creative experience in all genres of visual storytelling from major motion pictures to innovative primetime television to theatre. He is experienced in traditional visual effects and highly qualified in the new techniques of computer visual effects, computer-aided design, and multimedia. His credits include Baby Geniuses, Born To Ride, Shadow Hours, The Flash, The Young Riders, Alien Nation, Viper, Outbreak, Dante’s Peak, Big Fat Liar, Miami Vice, Max Headroom, Murder She Wrote, Amazing Stories, Simon and Simon, and The Incredible Hulk.

Bruce MacWilliams Bruce MacWilliams

BA in Architecture; Photography; Creative Writing, Cornell University. Bruce MacWilliams is an award-winning film director who has directed over 100 commercials and PSAs, and is featured in the book, The Ad-Makers. Bruce has also directed two feature films and four short films. He is a member of the DGA.

Jeffrey Wine Jeffrey Wine

Boston College. Jeffrey is a Boston native, and as a screenwriter for over fifteen years, he has worked with Dustin Hoffman, Garry Marshall, and Jackie Chan, to name a few. Before becoming a screenwriter, Jeffrey was a social worker by day and a punk rocker by night.

Jeff Hare Jeff Hare

Jeff Hare has been writing and directing movies, television, television commercials and infomercials, corporate films and videos, and documentaries for over twenty-five years. His work is extremely diverse, and has been seen on movie screens worldwide, as well as television networks like Fox, American Movie Classics, Lifetime, LMN, MY NETWORK, Cartoon Network, and Discovery, to name a few.

Joe di Gennaro Joe di Gennaro

Joe di Gennaro has more than forty years of professional experience as a cinematographer. He also has an extensive background as a research technologist specializing in digital cinema and solid-state lighting technologies.

Sean Kohnen Sean Kohnen

Sean began as a playwright and musician in Chicago, before working with production companies that needed crew with specialized wilderness experience. Sean capitalized on this work and formed a small commercial production company specializing in outdoor adventure and “extreme” sports, producing dozens of commercial spots throughout the world. After selling his company and relocating full time to Los Angeles, Sean ventured into film and TV, first working as a development executive before coming full circle and re-focusing on writing. He has written and produced three award-winning features, with a fourth currently in pre-production. In addition, he’s sold television pilots to NBC, FX, and AMC, and written feature and TV projects for clients including Lionsgate, Atlas, Grindstone, John Wells Productions, Double Feature, Escape Artists, and Sketch Films.

Vance Walden Vance Walden

Vance has been in the industry as a mixer and sound designer for 25 years and in education for the last several years. He has mixed a documentary which won an Emmy for Best Sound in the Bay Area, as well as co-mixed a documentary nominated for an Oscar, and he has won nine Clio Awards. Passing along a passion for sound to tell the story is Vance’s professional focus.

John Riddle John Riddle

John is a former Marine Corps. Sergeant, film editor, and teacher with over 15 years of experience in editing, graphic design, and motion graphic effects. He holds multiple degrees in film and graphic design, and has been teaching for multiple film schools for almost a decade. When John is not in the classroom, he spends his time with his wife and two daughters, as well as reading and drawing. John is currently finishing his debut novel.

Robert Taylor Robert Taylor

Robert is a film and television writer most known for his eight seasons of work on the hit Netflix/DreamWorks series Spirit Riding Free. He has also worked on Grace & Frankie and Call Me Crazy, and is developing several projects with Gold Valley Features. He works in depth as a Head Mentor with the Young Storytellers Program, which helps promote literacy and creativity in impoverished schools in the Los Angeles area.

Natasha Wolfgang Natasha Wolfgang

MFA, American Film Institute. Natasha is an artist, both traditional and digital. She started her career as a costume designer, and worked on period films in Europe. After moving to the US, she continued work in New York’s Off-Broadway theatre scene. Natasha has also worked on shorts and features in various art department positions and has several years of experience working as an interior designer.

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