New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Faculty


Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mary Samuelson Mary Samuelson
Chair of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Dr. Mary Samuelson received her Ph.D. and MA degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and completed her undergraduate work in Cinema-Television and English Literature at the University of Southern California (USC). For the past four years, Mary has taught courses and advised students in the Cinema and Media Studies and Writing Programs departments at UCLA, the Cinema-Television department at Los Angeles Community College (LACC), and here at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). Her essays "Radical Moment: The National Recovery Administration and Hollywood's 'New Deal'" and “Wartime News Flow: Government and Studio Newsreels, 1941-1945” will come out in collections focusing on film and the law (September 2016) and the U.S. newsfilm (June 2016), respectively. Mary’s dissertation “The Patriotic Play: Roosevelt, Antitrust, and the War Activities Committee of the Motion Picture Industry” is slated for book publication in Spring 2017.

Zareh Arevshatian Zareh Arevshatian
Film Studies

M.A. in Critical Studies, California State University, Northridge; B.A. in Radio-Television-Film, CSUN. Adjunct faculty at Los Angeles Mission College. Media Coordinator for the School of Film, TV, and Digital Media at UCLA. Background in retrospectives and festival programming, American Film Institute, American Cinematheque, and UCLA.

Brian Beery Brian Beery
English, Public Speaking

MFA Screenwriting, AFI. BA Theater Arts, UCSC. Vested member of SAG. Rewrote scripts based on recommendations from Oscar-nominated filmmakers. Winner, Kodak 35mm Award for “Speed Dating” and George Mayr Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. Recommended “Sideways” to Alexander Payne. Has worked on both sides of development, listening to and giving film pitches.

Camille Boag Camille Boag
Natural Sciences

Bachelor's in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley and a Master's of Science in Biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her most recent research focuses on the relationships between endemic rodents and invasive grass species in central California;

Megan Breen Megan Breen
Dramatic Literature; Comparative Lit

MFA in Dramatic Writing, USC School of Theatre; BFA in Dramturgy/Criticism, DePaul University. Writer of over a dozen plays, as well as television and feature length films.

Barbara Burgan Barbara Burgan

DMA Manhattan School of Music; MM Indiana University, Bloomington Faculty appointments at La Guardia Community College (NY), Kean University (NJ), University of South Dakota (Vermilion), extension divisions of Loyola Marymount University and UCLA. Accredited AP English instructor since 2008. National Endowment for the Humanities award recipient 2006.

Jennice Butler Jennice Butler
History of Acting

MFA in Acting, UC Irvine; BS in Theatre, University of Evansville. Member of The Road Theatre Company and Fugitive Kind Theatre. Other theatre companies she has performed for include: International City Theatre, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Summer Repertory Theatre and Loose Canon Collective.

Mike Civille Mike Civille
Film Studies; Cultural Studies

PhD American Studies (Boston University); MFA Film Studies (Boston University) As a film scholar, Mike has presented papers on Hollywood cinema and popular culture at the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, the Popular/American Culture Association, the California American Studies Association, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Baseball Hall of Fame. As a film director, his short After June (2006) played at several nationwide film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Spring International Festival of Short Films.

Mary Cobb Mary Cobb
Dramatic Literature

In addition to her continuing professional career, ongoing and former memberships in The Actors Studio, The Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company and others, Mary coaches professional actors in modern and Shakespearean roles. She has established children’s programs in Shakespeare throughout our country, including Crown Theatre-Go-Round in Kansas City, MO; Shakespeare for Fun in San Diego, CA; Resident Artists’ Children’s Theatre Program – KC, MO. She also participated in the CBS Radnor Directors Project.

Vanessa Conte Vanessa Conte
English; Pre-College English

MA in Linguistics, CSU, Long Beach; MFA in Painting, UCLA; BS in Studio Art and Art History, New York University; CertTESOL Certificate, St. Georg Institute, London, England.. Presented research at the California TESOL Conference and the American Association of Corpus Linguists. Exhibits paintings and drawings internationally. Research topics include gender and power dynamics in both visual and spoken language and pragmatics of second-language learners.

Anastasia Coon Anastasia Coon
Public Speaking; Critical Thinking

BFA in Theatre - Acting Emphasis, Chapman University. Conservatory Training Certificate, Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre. MFA Acting, UT Austin. Adjunct Instructor at USC, Teaching Artist: Pasadena Playhouse, Guest Artist: Directors Lab West, Board Member: 2nd Sundays Screenplays LA.

Aly Covington Aly Covington
Health & Wellness

MS in Health Administration and BS in Kinesiology/Athletic Training, Cal State University Northridge. NATA-BOC Certifed Athletic Trainer. 2008 NAWBO Youth Advocate of the Year for efforts toward childhood obesity. Serves on the Cultural Recreation Advisory Board for her local city council.

Merrilyn Crouch Merrilyn Crouch
English; Public Speaking

Merrilyn Crouch received an MFA in Theater from The University of Southern California and has worked as an actor, writer and director in commericals, television, and film for over 20 years. Merrilyn has written, produced and directed promos for clients including CNN International, TNT, FOX, Discovery Channel, NUVO TV and others. She can be seen on the Food Network’s Good Eats in the recurring role as Alton Brown’s sister, Marsha.

David D'Andrade David D'Andrade
Drawing; Art History

Award winning artist with exhibitions nationwide. Past and present teaching experience include: Instructor for New Roads School, adjunct instructor for Sonoma State University, El Camino College and Napa Valley College. Degrees: San Francisco Art Institute MFA 1996; San Francisco Art Institute BFA. 1994; Pratt Institute, attended 1982-85.

Stephen Florian Stephen Florian

B.A. in English Literature, Grand Canyon University; Magna Cum Laude. M.A. in English with a focus on Rhetoric and Composition, California State University Northridge. Recipient: 2015 Mahlon Gaumer Award for best critical essay on English at California State University Northridge.

Michael Fuller Michael Fuller
Dramatic Writing, Dramatic Literature

Novelist, actor, director, and theater historian. BA Spanish, San Francisco State College, 1961.; MA, Drama, San Francisco State College, 1963; PhD, Communications/Drama, USC 1978

Mira Furlan Mira Furlan
Dramatic Literature

Award winning actress Mira Furlan has starred or co-starred in over 25 films, most notably the Academy Award ® nominated and Palme d’Ore winning “When Father Was Away on Business.” She has over forty television credits and starred in "Babylon 5", which she won a Sci-fi Universe award for best supporting actor. Mira’s work in her home country of Yugoslavia resulted in two Golden Arenas (Yugoslavia’s equivalent to an Oscar).

Ros Gentle Ros Gentle

BDA, National Institute of Dramatic Art, University of NSW, Australia; Diploma in Teaching, Balmain Teachers' College of Advanced Education, Sydney. An actress of 40 years with teaching experience at NIDA, Actors Center, Joanne Baron/DW Brown Studio, and Australian Institute of Dramatic Art.

Lonnie Halouska Lonnie Halouska
Economics; Film Studies

MS, USC School of Cinema-Television; JD, Loyola University. Entertainment and telecommunications lawyer, negotiator and business manager for more than 20 years. Major studio and network background.

Richard Van Heertum Richard Van Heertum
Film Studies; Cultural Anthropology

Richard Van Heertum has a PhD in Cultural Studies and Education from UCLA and a MA in Economics from SDSU. He has published three books, 25 academic essays and chapters and over 150 articles in the mainstream media on film, music and culture.

Erin Hill Erin Hill
Film Studies

PhD and MA (UCLA), BA (University of Michigan). Visiting Professor, UCLA. Recipient: Chancellor's Prize, Jean Stone Fellowship, Collegium of University Teaching Fellowship (UCLA); Nina Leibman Fellowship (California Law Center), Newman Screenwriting Prize (University of Michigan). Recent published chapters in Making Media Work (NYU Press), The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies (Blackwell), Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries (Routledge). Forthcoming book: Never Done: "Women's Work" in Media Production History (Rutgers).

Jan-Ryder Hilton Jan-Ryder Hilton
English; Public Speaking

MS in Professional Writing from Towson University; BS in Communications from University of Baltimore; A+ and Network+ certified; proficient with online learning applications.

Travis Holder Travis Holder
Theatre History

Trained at Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts, Goodman Theatre at University of Chicago; studied with Uta Hagan, Stella Adler, and Kenneth McMillan. Five plays produced nationally and wrote the screenplay for the award-winning 2010 feature film “Surprise Surprise.” Veteran of six Broadway productions and numerous national and international tours. Honored with the LA Drama Critics’ Circle Best Actor Award; Drama-Logue,, Sage, and four Maddy Awards; six acting nominations from LA Weekly; Ovation, GLAAD, and NAACP nominations. Prominent theatre critic since 1987 for such publications as Back Stage, Entertainment Today, and ArtsInLA.

Terah Jackson Terah Jackson
Playwrights & Screenwriters

Terah Jackson earned a MFA from the AFI Conservatory and a BA in Philosophy from Howard University. He is an honoree of the 2015 Film Independent Screenwriters' Lab, 2013 Writers’ Guild of America-West’s Feature Writer Access Project, writer of a Nicholl Top 50 Screenplay, and a participant in the 2008 Lincoln Center’s Directors’ Lab, a four-time grant recipient from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and a 2010 Participant Media Narrative Intern.

Jeremy Jones Jeremy Jones
Environmental Biology

Jeremy Jones has a background in both technical and musical theatre as well as aerospace engineering. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in musical theatre from Palm Beach Atlantic University and studied engineering both at the University of South Florida and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mr. Jones toured the country as a lighting technician, lighting designer and stage manager for several years and has been teaching in the liberal arts for nearly 10 years.

Louis Klonsky Louis Klonsky
Geology; Mathematics

MS in Geology, Rutgers University; BA in Physics, Columbia University. Adjunct lecturer, California State University, San Bernardino. Senior Staff Geophysicist, Chevron.

Konstantin Kremenetski Konstantin Kremenetski
Geography; Mathematics

B.S. Physical Geography, Moscow Lomonosov University, 1983 PhD Geomorphology and Paleogeography, Institute of Geography, USSR Academy of Sciences, 1987; Teaching experience in Earth Science, Environmental Science and Geography disciplines.

Paul Laverack Paul Laverack
Film Studies

MFA in Screenwriting and MA in Mass Communication (Journalism), California State University, Northridge; BA in Theater, Elmira College. Paul has written and directed independent feature and short films, both narrative and documentary. He has also produced video content for the nonprofit Families In Schools foundation, traveled the nation as a stage performer, and taught students of all ages in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Paz Leon Paz Leon

MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute. BFA in Film Studies and Modern Literature from Université Louis Loumiere, Lyon, France. She has directed several short films and music videos and is currently developing her first feature film.

Stephanie Lindquist Stephanie Lindquist
Drawing; Film Studies

MFA from The New York Academy of Art, Painting and Sculpture with an emphasis on anatomical study. BS from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, International Relations. Worked as a studio artist in Brooklyn before moving to LA, has exhibited work in New York as well as the Midwest. Has taught Drawing, Film Art and Film History courses at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan and currently teaches in Los Angeles.

Michael Matthys Michael Matthys
Public Speaking; Dramatic Literature

M.F.A. University of Minnesota; BA, Buffalo State College, teaches Dramatic Literature and Public Speaking. For NYFA he has also taught Voice, Movement, Dialects, Accent Reduction, Shakespeare, and History of Acting. As an actor, Michael has appeared at the Ahmanson Theatre, A Noise Within, Shakespeare LA and on many other stages. He also teaches physical acting at AADA and has served on the faculties of SDSU and Stella Adler Academy as well.

Kathleen McLaughlin Kathleen McLaughlin
History of Photo; Visual Aesthetics

Received her BS in Psychology (1990) and MFA in Photography (2001) from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She has received grants from Fulbright-Hayes (2015), United States Fulbright Senior Scholarship Program (2003), and the IREX (Individual Advanced Research Opportunities) Fellowship Program (2003). Kathleen’s images have recently been published in National Geographic Traveler Magazine (2015) and the Dutch FLOW Magazine (2015). Her work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows. She is an active member of the Society for Photographic Education.

Genia Michaela Genia Michaela
English; Public Speaking

Attended North Carolina School of the Arts, MIT and Yale, where she Physics, Opera, Screenwriting and Theatre, and played Division1 Ice Hockey. She is a SCUBA divemaster and has worked as a stunt freediver.

Barbara Multer-Wellin Barbara Multer-Wellin

Barbara Multer-Wellin has written and produced hundreds of hours of non-fiction television programming and web content. Her work has been seen on HBO, Showtime, PBS, Lifetime, KCET, The Discovery Channel, UPN, Lifetime, Fit-TV, TBS, HGTV, and TLC. She won a 2013 L.A. Area Emmy for her work on the series television and web series “Your Turn To Care” which was also the winner of a 2013 Gracie Award. Ms. Multer-Wellin has produced two films for the acclaimed PBS documentary series Independent Lens. “Taking The Heat: The First Women Firefighters of New York City,” a documentary narrated by Susan Sarandon. The second film, “Paul Conrad: Drawing Fire” was also selected for the first digital release of Independent Lens films.

She is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and is a former Chair of the Documentary/Reality Committee of the Producer’s Guild of America .

Kevin Y Njabo Kevin Y Njabo
Environmental Biology

PhD in Biology (Behavior, Ecology and Evolution), Boston University. Adjunct Assistant Professor at UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Research interests in Ecology and Evolution of Tropical Diseases, Forest Conservation and Legislation.

Matteo Nurizzo Matteo Nurizzo
History of Design; Art History

Master of Science in Industrial Design and Fashion Management at the Politecnico di Milano ITALY. Designer of a baby Stroller for the company Brevi. Designer of the "Gundam" Lamp that covered various group exhibits of REUSE DESIGN in Europe Director and Editor of "Style In Frames". client: Comune di Milano, which the changes, in the city of Milan (Italy ), of fashion, culture, architecture and music,from 1920 till 2004. Accompanying the project itself isa 137 page book that tells a story of the city of Milan.

Founder of "King Milano" a Graphic-Video-Audio company (Not associated with anymore). Worked at Lillisimone as graphic and video artist. Clients: Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Tissot, Panerai, Opel. As freelance videographer and editor, clients: BM Factory, Banque PSA Finance, Castiglioni. Editor for various short indie films. Avid Certified Instructor.

Robert Pucci Robert Pucci
Film Studies

BA with honors in Economics, Gettysburg College; JD, Washington College of Law at American University; Licensed Attorney, NY and NJ; Writer “The Corruptor” New Line Cinema; Writer “The Spider & The Fly” Paramount Television, Writer of the fiction novel, “In Harlem’s Way.”

Scott Rogers Scott Rogers
History of Video Games

BA Film Production (Screenwriting emphasis);BA Fine Arts (Illustration emphasis) Cal State University Long Beach, is a former Disney Imagineer who has designed many award-winning and beloved video games including: Pac-Man World, the Maximo series, God of War, Drawn to Life series, Darksiders and Warhammer 40K.

Yolanda Sanders Yolanda Sanders
Public Speaking

BA in Communications, Howard University; MFA in Acting, UCLA. Some of her work includes the national one-person show, “Faces of America,” Voice of America’s popular radio drama “Pay Day,” as well as other numerous radio dramas, documentaries, and PSA’s.

Matt Sarnoff Matt Sarnoff
Film Studies; Sociology

Matt Sarnoff received his BFA from Cooper Union and his MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to having TV series and feature film projects in development, he works as a creative consultant to production companies and teaches at New York Film Academy in Los Angeles.

Zoee Sciarrotta Zoee Sciarrotta
Visual Aesthetics

With a BFA in art and BA in psychology from the University of Iowa and a MFA in studio arts and MA in communication studies from California State University, Los Angeles, Zoee is a interdisciplinary-focused cultural studies scholar. Drawing from her work experience in fashion, photography, higher education, fine arts, and new media, her research is centered on understanding how we make meaning of our visual experiences in the world and how identities are formed in and through culture.

Jim Senti Jim Senti
Dramatic Lit; Comparative Literature

MFA , Harvard University and Moscow Art Theater. BA, Butler University; Studied with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Griffith University. Also teaches Performance in Communications at California State, Northridge. Founding company member of award winning Fugitive Kind Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

Shlomo Sher Shlomo Sher
Ethics; Critical Thinking

Shlomo Sher received his PhD in Philosophy with a focus on ethics from USC in 2009. He was a Research Associate at the USC Levan Institute of Humanities and Ethics (2009-2011) and has taught courses at USC, CSU Fullerton, CSU LA, Mt. St. Mary’s College, Beijing Normal University, and East China Normal University.

Fred Siegel Fred Siegel
Environmental Biology

Secondary Teaching Credential, Cal State University Long Beach; BA in Biology, UCLA; Post-graduate certification in science instruction by Cal Tech, Northern Arizona University, and Sea Education Association (SEA), Woods Hole, MA. Adjunct instructor at UCLA. Previous teaching assignments at Venice High School, Bell High School, and the American School of Barcelona.

Andrew Simpson Andrew Simpson
Public Speaking; Critical Thinking;

Double B.A in Political Science with a focus in international security and in Drama with a focus in acting from Stanford University. He teaches Critical Thinking, Public Speaking , Art/Culture/Society, Writing, US and World History, and Mathematics. As an actor, he starred in the independent films Heathens and Thieves, Dark Mountain, and The Phoenix Project, and appeared with Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice.

Sage Howard Simpson Sage Howard Simpson
Public Speaking; Critical Thinking

BA, Lewis & Clark: MFA, UC Irvine. Founding member of acclaimed theatre company The Fugitive Kind. Specializes in Film Studies, Public Speaking, and English composition.

Maya Montañez Smukler Maya Montañez Smukler
Film Studies

Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies, UCLA. Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design, the New School, and UCLA where she teaches film and television studies. Forthcoming book: Liberating Hollywood: Women Directors and the Feminist Reform of 1970s American Cinema (Rutgers).

Diana Stanich Diana Stanich
Environmental Biology

ABPhD, Capella University; MBA, University of La Verne; MA in Physical Education/Health, California State University, Long Beach; BS in Kinesiology, University of California, Los Angeles. Professor of Kinesiology/Dance, Santa Clarita Community College District.

Riley Steiner Riley Steiner
Shakespeare; Theatre History

MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin College in Virginia; was classically trained at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and studied acting for many years with the legendary Uta Hagen at HB Studios in New York. Has taught at Mary Baldwin College, Stuart Hall College Prep. Her play, Tucumcari, premiered at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Maureen Tabor Maureen Tabor
Psychology; Sociology

Maureen Tabor, PhD Yale University, started teaching at UC Berkeley and then turned to the stage where she acted, taught, and directed. Next was over a decade of work in major motion picture studios: Paramount and Warners. She then returned to academia in Southern California at California State University, Los Angeles, before joining NYFA in 2014.

Julie Taiwo Oni Julie Taiwo Oni
Art, Culture & Society; Cultures & Encounters

MFA in Dramatic Writing, USC; BA in Creative Writing, Pepperdine University. Professional playwright with productions in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Also teaches English at Pepperdine University. Currently researching South African and mixed-race cultures and narratives.

Igor Torgeson Igor Torgeson
Mythology; Film Studies

M.F.A. Film, Boston University. B.A. Journalism, The George Washington University.

Igor works as a actor, producer and post-production specialist in Los Angeles. Over the past ten years, he has completed both long-form and short-form projects for a variety of clients, including Southern California Gas, McGraw-Hill, National Lampoon, and The Gameshow Network. Igor has taught at the UCLA Extension and NYFA, as well as having extensive experience teaching workshops at, ABC, NBC and CBS, as well as the 2012 DV Expo. Igor also teaches and performs improvisational comedy at theaters around the L.A. area with his troupe, The Captains of Industry.

Rajiv Uttamchandani Rajiv Uttamchandani
Astronomy; Physics

MS in Physics and Astrophysics, CSU Northridge. Renowned guest lecturer and author of publications on engineering, mechanics, and nanotechnology. Adjunct professor at Santa Monica College.

Rob Watt Rob Watt
Mathematics; Sociology

Rob Watt graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2007, where he majored in Theatre Arts and PreMed. He is passionate about teaching his students practical applications for the film and television industry. Problem solving is a large portion of filmmaking, and through the math and sciences, Rob aims to teach his NYFA students "how to think", as opposed to "what to think".
Steve Weese Steve Weese
Mathematics; Coding

BS in Computer Science, George Mason University; MS in Computer Information Technology, Regis University. Instructor and computer contractor for Anthem College, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, ECPI College of Technology, and Stratford University.

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