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New York Film Academy Faculty

FACULTY

Producing Department

Ashley Bank Ashley Bank
Co-Chair of the Producing Department

Ashley Bank has been working in the entertainment industry virtually her entire life, as an actress, producer, stand-up comedian, and writer. 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.

As an actress, Ashley has appeared in over 40 commercials, and has guest starred on TV shows including Family Ties, My Two Dads, Frasier, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She’s also appeared in the feature film The Monster Squad, as well as numerous TV movies, working with greats like Henry Winkler, Dolly Parton, and Raquel Welch.

Ashley has produced several award-winning short films, one of which won the prestigious NYU Wasserman/King Award, and another of which was sold to the IFC Channel. 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.

Ashley continues working as an actress and a writer, recently appearing with her sketch comedy group at the LA Comedy Festival and in several plays, as well as performing stand-up at The Improv and The Comedy Store. She recently appeared in a production of The Country Club and directed Don’t Dress for Dinner with her theater company Accidents Happen.

Roberta Colangelo Roberta Colangelo
Co-Chair of the Producing Department

Roberta Colangelo-Zawinul received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts, Milan, Italy, and holds an ABA-approved Paralegal certification from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has taught at the New York Film Academy for the past four years for both the Producing and Documentary departments.

Colangelo-Zawinul was the founder and president of Focus Documentaries, a production, distribution, and legal services consulting company in Milan, Italy. From 2000 to 2005 she managed the worldwide exclusive catalog of the Vatican, and co-produced a documentary entitled The Vatican – How the Smallest Kingdom in the World Works, making her the first female producer to work with the Vatican.

She has extensive experience in contract administration, has liaised directly with business and legal affairs professionals, mediated contract negotiations, and represented clients’ projects at the most important industry markets.

David Armstrong David Armstrong
Directing, Cinematography

David A. Armstrong has more than 35 years of film industry experience and holds an MFA in Cinematography from the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) and a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Starting as a camera assistant, he has risen through the ranks to become a cinematographer. He has over 100 feature film and television productions to his credit.

He is the first recipient of the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Student Heritage Award, and his AFI short film John received the Student Academy Award Gold and the AFI’s Franklin J. Schafer Award. He served as director of photography for James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman) on the Saw film franchise (Saw I-VI). As a key team member of the Saw franchise, he helped to create the Guinness Book of World Record for largest-grossing horror film franchise in history.

Armstrong also directs feature films, and has directed actors including Forest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, Peter Stormare, Common, Justin Chatwin, Stephen Lang, Michael Chiklis, Nikki Reed, and Martin Csokas. His most recent feature, The Assassin's Code, a neo-noir thriller starring Peter Stormare (Fargo) and Justin Chatwin (Shameless), premiered at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival in April 2018, with theatrical release by Gravitas Venture and VOD in May 2018.

Joseph Bonier Joseph Bonier
Sound

An active sound mixer and sound designer, Joseph graduated with a BA from the University of Maryland. Joseph also has a degree in 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 D.C. and Matrax productions in Philadelphia.

Eric Bross Eric Bross
Sound

Eric Bross graduated Cum Laude from Montclair State University with a BFA in Film and English.

Eric is a DGA Award-winning, Emmy-nominated, independent director/writer/producer. His first independent film, Tenbenny, which he wrote, produced, and directed was selected into the Sundance Film Festival -- launching him into a career working in both feature films and television. Directing and producing credits include Affairs of State with Thora Birch, Mimi Rogers, and Adrian Grenier; Tenbenny with Adrien Brody, Stranger than Fiction with Dina Meyer, and the miniseries Traffic for USA Network.

Lydia Cedrone Lydia Cedrone
Feature Track

Lydia Cedrone is a former executive at The Walt Disney Co., Trimark Pictures, and Savoy Pictures. She managed finances on more than two dozen studio films, and oversaw company operations for Michael Mann and the film Ali, starring Will Smith. She produced two films, including the MGM release The Betrayed. She earned her MBA at NYU Stern School of Business and her BA at Boston College.
Denise Carlson Denise Carlson
Producing, Thesis Advising, Advanced Pitching

Denise is a former Disney executive, overseeing more than 40 Disney Channel movies, including the megahit High School Musical. She earned her BFA from Rollins College and her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Ryokan College.
Jim Coane Jim Coane
Producing Reality Television

Jim Coane is an Emmy award-winning television producer, writer, director, and development executive. He is credited as executive producer, developer, and director on many network, syndication, and cable series, including Dragon Tales, Walking the Bible, America's Most Wanted, Totally Hidden Video and Futurequest. Coane has executive produced hundreds of series' episodes, specials, and pilots for all the networks as well as cable and international broadcasters. He is the creator and executive producer of the multi-award-winning animated PBS series Dragon Tales. He worked on staff in overall producer deals at Sony Pictures Television, Fox Television Studios, and was president of the production division of Unapix Productions.
James Coburn James Coburn
Sound

James H. Coburn IV, C.A.S., has been working in production sound for over 20 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 The Bronx Bull (2013) with William Forsythe and Joe Mantegna. His TV work includes Black Scorpion produced by Roger Corman, and reality show Guru2Go on Discovery Networks’ 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 performance capture, and the importance of production sound in enhancing and supporting the director's artistic vision.

Alan de la Rosa Alan de la Rosa
Screenwriting

Won the Jack Nicholson Prize in Screenwriting and the Audience Favorite Award at the UC Shorts Competition. Developed and managed projects as a creative executive at Lemon Films USA. Produced live children's theater events and live corporate events. Wrote and produced an independant feature film which has been distributed digitally. Writer and ghostwriter of various screenwriting assignments.
Kevin DiNovis Kevin DiNovis
Business Practices, Marketing & Distribution

Kevin DiNovis studied dramatic craft with Pulitzer Prize-winning absurdist playwright Edward Albee. His first feature film, Surrender Dorothy (1998) won the Grand Jury prize for Best Feature at Slamdance, Chicago Underground, and New York Underground Film Festivals. DiNovis has also adapted the bestselling thriller Loves Music, Loves to Dance for USA Networks, wrote Death & Texas with Academy Award nominee Charles Durning, and teamed up with former Paramount President Frank Yablans on the adaptation of the bestseller, Soul Surfer. Has served as a long-term judge for the Slamdance Screenplay Competition, discovering the scripts The Woodsman and Maria, Full of Grace. Kevin is the first writer selected to inaugurate the Marvel Studios Writers Program.
Josh Eiserike Josh Eiserike
Screenwriting

Josh is a writer/cartoonist who has written for the HUB animated series G.I. Joe: Renegades and MAD Magazine. He has developed pilots and features with various production companies. 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 has an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri and an MFA in film production from USC.
Rick Greenwood Rick Greenwood
Cinematography and Directing

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

Denise Hamilton is a writer-producer for TV, whose work has been produced for NBC and CBS affiliates in New York and Boston, the Discovery Channel, the Fox Family Channel, E! Entertainment, de Passe Entertainment, and Quincy Jones-David Saltzman Entertainment. Ms. Hamilton wrote and produced the documentary Ngone’s Story: A Tale of Africa’s Orphans for the NBC/IBC series Horizons of the Spirit. Ms. Hamilton was coordinating producer for both the ABC-TV documentary Motown 40: The Music is Forever and WNBC-TV’s For Peace Sake: Youth Speaks Out, which won three local Emmys. She also was the writer and field producer of two hour-long documentaries on Rwandan refugees for GBGM Productions: A Harvest of Love and Refugee Camps of Zaire, which aired on the Odyssey Channel, as well as Nicaragua, a one-hour documentary on missionary work in that country. For the past nine years she has served as co-chairperson of the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers-West. She earned a BFA in Theater, Howard University and an MA in Education from NYU.

Greg Hemstreet Greg Hemstreet
Budgeting and Entertainment Accounting

Greg is a senior production executive at Universal Pictures, overseeing production finance on numerous high-profile films including The Fast and the Furious franchise. Additionally, he liaises between Universal Pictures and co-production entities such as Blumhouse Productions, Legendary Pictures, and Judd Apatow Productions. Greg earned his BS from the University of Southern California.
Travis John Hoffman Travis John Hoffman
Cinematography

Travis Hoffman found his love for photography while traveling the world and watching films with his father. Some years later he received his BS in Cinematography from Full Sail University and his MFA in Photographic Theory at the Brooks Institute of Photography. He has had the opportunity to lens such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg, Katy Perry, David Guetta, Bret Michaels, Ice Cube, Diana Krull, Katrina Bowden, and Malcolm Goodwin. His client list includes NBC, Nike, A&E, the History Channel, EMI Music, and Universal Music Group.

His inspiration comes from all the beauty in the world that most people seem to miss. Travis draws upon his expertise in the fields of lighting, composition, art and design. This broad-based understanding of technique and visual storytelling contributes to his unique perspective and signature photography style.

Mark Horowitz Mark Horowitz
Marketing & Distribution

Mark Horowitz is a freelance consultant, lecturer, and teacher specializing in helping filmmakers successfully navigate the world of independent film and television from early stages of development through commercial release and beyond. He has over thirty years of experience in the international distribution, marketing, and financing of feature films. His experience ranges from commercial big budget films with high-profile casts to independent arthouse movies from burgeoning directors. Films that Mr. Horowitz has distributed have been nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and European Film Awards, and selected for festivals including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and Toronto. In addition, Mr. Horowitz is involved in the development and acquisition of films from script stage to completed projects.

David Jackson of NYFA Film School faculty David Jackson
Directing

Master’s Program, Film Production, USC School of Cinematic Arts; President’s Fellow, Film Production, Rhode Island School of Design; BA, General Studies, University of Kentucky. Director of over 100 primetime episodic television shows including CSI:NY, Supernatural, and Vampire Diaries. In addition, David has directed 20+ TV movies and independent features. He is a member of the DGA and WGA, having won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best TV Drama (The Equalizer), and a DGA nomination forBbest Children’s Program (Buffalo Dreams) for Disney Channel.

Susanne Kent Susanne Kent
Acting for Producers

Suzanne was a series regular on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and has television credits including St. Elsewhere, The Garry Shandling Show, and Brotherly Love. She was a voice actor on Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, and Rocket Power. She has over 30 film credits, including Middle Men, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Nuts, The Boost, and History of the World: Part I.
No headshot available Sean Kohnen
Thesis Development

Sean Kohnen took a circuitous and meandering route into the entertainment business. He began as a playwright and musician in Chicago, steeped in the city’s vibrant arts scene but, one fateful weekend out west made him fall in love with the majestic granite of Yosemite and the Sierras. He quickly moved to California to become a professional rockclimber (yes, that’s actually a thing) and climbing guide. After years of living in tents and eating mostly dry crackers, he began to supplement his meager income by 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. He continues to play in several terrible bands and tries to get to the mountains whenever he can.
Justin LaReau Justin LaReau
Producing, Thesis Advising, Feature Track, Film Production

BS in Economics, Illinois State University; MAT in Teaching, Olivet Nazarene University; MFA in Producing, New York Film Academy. Justin founded Zoe and Pebbles Productions in 2013 and his feature, A Demon Within (2016), is to be distributed by Blue Fox Entertainment. He is currently in development on several feature projects.
Emerson Machtus Emerson Machtus
Business Practices

Emerson Machtus was born into the film business. He has lived extensively in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, and speaks Spanish natively. Emerson has been actively working in the International Film Business for over 15 years in different capacities, including film production, creative development, acquisitions, international sales, film distribution, and financing in Mexico, Spain, London, and Los Angeles. He’s produced and been involved at different stages of production on projects of many sizes and budgets from studio to small indies. He wrote and produced the documentary From River To Sea. He has acquired European and Latin American rights for multiple titles and bought movies like David Ayer’s Harsh Times, starring Christian Bale, for the domestic US market. He has represented international film distributors, film buyers, and media companies, as well as multiple film producers and content creators worldwide. He has consulted with a major internet company on development of digital content and media, and is currently a principal of Foton Pictures.
Anne McCaffrey Anne McCaffrey
Producer’s Craft: Budgeting, Short Film, Thesis Advising

Anne McCaffrey is a line producer and has worked in production management in both film and TV worldwide for over thirty years. Her extensive credits include Powder featuring Sean Patrick Flanery, Can’t Buy Me Love with Patrick Dempsey, Young Guns II featuring Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland, Nightjohn with Carl Lumbly, Asunder with Blair Underwood, and Wildflower, directed by Diane Keaton, as well as reality shows The Amazing Race, Survivor, America's Next Top Model, and LA Ink starring tattoo artist Kat Von D. Anne is currently in development on two new features, Ghostkiller and Pops.
Stephen Miele Stephen Miele
Entertainment Law, Business Affairs

JD, Glendale University College of Law; BA, State University of New York, Albany. Stephen is a practicing lawyer for more than 25 years, with clients including songwriters, musicians, actors, business and personal managers, producing companies, banking institutions and manufacturers. He was appointed and acted as judge pro tem for the Los Angeles Superior Courts.
John Morrissey John Morrissey

John Morrissey is a film producer, writer, and actor. His feature length documentary, A Murder in Mansfield, directed by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple, is currently making the rounds of documentary festivals and will air on the Discovery ID Channel in November 2018.

John produced American History X. The film’s star, Edward Norton, was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. John’s other films include Booty Call starring Jamie Foxx, Havoc starring Anne Hathaway, The Badge starring Billy Bob Thornton, 11:14 starring Hilary Swank, Kingdom Come starring Whoopi Goldberg, and many other feature films.

John has written and sold several screenplays. As an actor, John appeared both on and off-Broadway. He was a contract player - as the leading villain - on both General Hospital and Guiding Light, as well as a guest star on many TV series.

Jennifer Penton Jennifer Penton

Bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing, UCLA; Master’s degree in film, with an emphasis in experimental animation, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Jennifer Penton has worked at Warner Brothers, Klasky/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.

Steven Peros Steven Peros
Screenwriting

Steven Peros is the writer of Lionsgate's The Cat's Meow, starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Hollywood legend Peter Bogdanovich. Recently, Steve sold original pilots to MTV and NBC/Universal and directed two features, one of which, Footprints, was hailed as “One of the 10 Best Films So Far This Year” by the Chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. He has written many features including Disney’s Around the World In 80 Days, is a twice-published Samuel French playwright, and was a staff writer on AMC's Emmy-winning half-hour comedy series, The Lot. Steven has written projects for such diverse talent as Dolly Parton, Jackie Chan, and Eva Longoria. He is a graduate of the Film/TV program at New York University and has also taught Film/TV writing for UCLA Extension and The Writing Pad.
Jenni Powell Jenni Powell
Alternative Media

The Emmy Award-winning producer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon, Lonelygirl15, Emma Approved, and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. For two years, Jenni was Director of Content and Social Media for VidCon and was a producer at Felicia Day’s YouTube Premium channel Geek & Sundry, where she produced the Geekie Award-winning Talkin' Comics Weekly. Most recently, Jenni was Head of Production for NewMediaRockstars, before founding her own production company Discourse Productions.
Aved Savoulian Aved Savoulian
Budgeting and Entertainment Accounting

Aved works with major studios such as CBS, NBC, Fox Sports as executive director, manager, and senior auditor.
Tony Schwartz Tony Schwartz
Producing and Thesis Advising

BA, California State Fullerton. Tony is a longtime assistant director and line producer for television and films, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Freaks and Geeks, The Unit, and CSI: New York. Tony served two years as Chair of Producing.
Mark Smith Mark Smith
Screenwriting

After a career in graphic design, Mark entered the film industry as a documentary writer and producer. He then served as a creative executive and vice president of international distribution at LD Entertainment before pursuing screenwriting full time.
Tina Ward Tina Ward
Alternative Media

Tina served as writer and director on several short films, including In Their Absence, which was awarded five times both domestically and abroad, and was named one of the best short films of the decade by Festival de cortos MíraLes in 2011. She is creator of one of the web’s first hit indie drama series Anyone But Me, winning the first ever Writers Guild of America Award for Original New Media. Tina is creator of several award-nominated web series, including Producing Juliet, which made its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival’s London WebFest. Tina continues to be very active in the world of streaming series.
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