IN THIS SECTION
Due to the nature of the film and television industry, this list of instructors is subject to adjustment, even after the program begins.
After getting his master degree in film and television from Brooklyn College, Henry began his film career as an editor and won a Primetime Emmy Award for THE COSBY SHOW. For six years he was the principal director for MOESHA, a comedy starring Brandy. Henry has directed over 200 episodes of television for all the major U.S. networks. His TV credits include: Fresh Off The Boat, The Neighbors, Whitney, Don’t Trust the B.... in Apartment 23, Traffic Light, Let’s Stay Together, 10 Things I Hate About You, Kitchen Confidential, Scrubs and King of Queens.
A native of Hong Kong, Henry is fluent in Chinese and had worked in China and Taiwan. He directed the Chinese romantic comedy “100 Days 真爱100天 ” shot entirely in Taiwan. He also directed a 40 episode series “Rich House, Poor House 王子富愁记” for Youku in China.
Catherine is an award winning director/producer and an actress best known for her seven-season run as the tough but vulnerable cop, Officer Dani Sofer, on the Golden Globe/Emmy winning drama, The Shield. Films include: Nobodyʼs Fool, The Majestic, Auto Focus, and 21 Grams. She has also appeared in over a hundred popular TV shows such as The Sopranos, Marvelʼs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Mentalist, Arrow, Navy SEALS, and multiple Law and Orders. This year, she can be seen on Lucifer (Netflix) and FX’s Dave. She recently starred in the film, Rachel, written and directed by Victor Nunez to be released next fall.
Catherine is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Her short films have shown in festivals world-wide and garnered top prizes.
An avid reader, world traveler, and political junkie, Ms. Dent is married to Peter Eliasberg, Chief Counsel for The ACLU of Southern California. They live in Los Angeles with their 10th grader, Oliver.
Elisabeth is an award-winning director/producer/writer with a long history of making indie movies, and a passion for genre films. She learned to run & gun as a teen with her Bolex Super 8. As an undergraduate at UCLA, Fies moonlighted as the first stuntwoman to portray monsters on the hit show, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” After graduation, she directed two seasons of her grant-funded public access television show, “Kids Know it All.”
Elisabeth became an associate producer on “Conventioneers,” winner of the Spirit Award in the John Cassavetes category. The feature had a theatrical release and was made for only 15k. The experience galvanized her to write, produce, direct, and star in “The Commune,” which won Best International Picture at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. The horror feature earned Elisabeth a coveted director’s seat at the notorious Masters of Horror Dinners where she swapped stories with icons like Craven, Tarantino, and Romero. Her directing peers have called her work raw, transgressive, and incendiary. Creative Screenwriting Magazine declared “All she needs (to make a movie) is a typewriter.” With a budget of $100 and a mere 2 hours of production with a crew of two, “Scrutinize” won the Audience Award at Lady Filmmakers, beating a competitor’s film made for 50k. Fies was subsequently requested to direct an Emmy award-winning actor in Lady Filmmaker’s first Script 2 Screen fellowship. The film so impressed Marion Rosenberg (co-founder of BAFTA LA) that she helped to fund future fellowships for women.
As a passionate voice for inclusion and equity in the industry, Fies co-founded and programmed the Bleedfest Film Festival which showcased over 100 genre movies by female filmmakers. She continues to make microbudget films and has two horror features in post-production. Elisabeth earned her B.A from UCLA, her M.A. from The New School, and is an alumna of the UCLA School of TFT’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. She is an educator who has taught film and television in universities for decades. Elisabeth loves imparting lessons on structure, tone, and purpose, and inspiring her students to greenlight their own microbudget feature films.
ALLEN FISCHER (REPRESENTATION)
Allen is a partner at Artists First, a top-tier management and production company. After graduating from the prestigious Wharton School at the Universal of Pennsylvania, Allen started his career at Creative Artists Agency and transitioned into the growing field of management and production in 2000. Allen is a committee member in the Representation Peer Group of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and his clients are some of the top writers and directors in the business. Director clients include Jon M. Chu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS, IN THE HEIGHTS), Alex Hardcastle (SENIOR YEAR), Scott Waugh (EXPENDABLES 4, SNAFU starring Jackie Chan), Matt Shakman (upcoming THE CONSULTANT, WANDAVISION, GAME OF THRONES, THE GREAT), Amanda Lipitz (FOUND, STEP), Doug Pray (DEFIANT ONES), Ari Sandel (THE DUFF, WHEN WE FIRST MET), Sylvain White (UMBRELLA ACADEMY, FARGO), Mike Tiddes (NAKED, SEXTUPLETS), Dan Attias (MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, THE AMERICANS, WALKING DEAD, HOMELAND), Tim Hill (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 3, WAR WITH GRANPA), and Clay Kaytis (Upcoming A CHRISTMAS STORY 2, THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES). Allen also has clients who excel in writing and directing, such as Jeff Wadlow (FANTASY ISLAND, KICK ASS 2, TRUTH OR DARE) and RICH TANNE (CHEMICAL HEARTS). Television writer clients include Patrick Somerville (STATION 11, MADE FOR LOVE, MANIAC), Jonathan Wilson (THE CROWN), David Hancock (Upcoming HOUSE OF THE DRAGONS), Alissa Nutting (TEENAGE EUTHANASIA, MADE FOR LOVE), Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, the Emmy-winning writing duo for TRINKETS on Netflix. His clients have been involved in such TV shows as: BILLIONS, JUST ADD MAGIC, MODERN FAMILY, SUCCESSION and many more. Allen also represents actor/writer/producer Ed Helms who recently wrapped production on season 2 of the RUTHERFORD FALLS for Peacock. Allen previously produced THE SEA OF TREES, directed by Gus van Sant and starring Matthew McConaughey which was released in 2015. Allen is attached to produce numerous features at every major studio and is responsible for selling many scripts and pitches every year. Artists First has offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and is one of the largest management companies in the business.
TIMOTHY GOOD (POST PRODUCTION EDITING)
Timothy Good, ACE is a film editor, producer, director and educator. He hails from Oak Park, Illinois - the location of many Frank Lloyd Wright homes which inspired him to build models as a child leading to a career in building film and television stories. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois majoring in Radio/TV/Film. He has edited a wide variety of TV series including THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, THE RESIDENT, FRINGE, THE O.C. and the original GOSSIP GIRL which was his first pilot. He also co-edited the feature film DEAD MAN DOWN directed by Niels Arden Oplev (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and was an editor on UCLA alumnus Dustin Lance Black’s LGBTQ+ miniseries WHEN WE RISE. He is a visiting lecturer at the UCLA Graduate School for Film and Television and has taught creative editing to directors and cinematographers for 15 years. He is a big believer in mentorship, and all of his past assistant editors have gone on to become editors in their own right, including EMILY MENDEZ, his current co-editor for the HBO series THE LAST OF US.
Shelia is the founder of Practical Pictures, a Production Company specializing in studio pictures with a global appeal. Known as a cradle-to-grave producer, Sheila’s skill set includes story development, marketplace analysis, fundraising and budgeting, on-set creative producing, and editing room savvy. Sheila has been involved with numerous studio franchises including Universal’s American Pie and New Line’s Final Destination 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Sheila also recently produced Breaking In, starring Gabrielle Union, and the Australian-set family film Oddball. In total, the films Sheila worked on as an executive or a producer have grossed over $2 billion dollars in World Wide Box Office, from a total production cost of $448 million. Prior to establishing Practical Pictures, Sheila was a Senior Executive at Zide/Perry Entertainment, a production company and management firm known for grooming young screenwriters. During her 6 years at Zide/Perry she was responsible for the development and coaching on some of the industry’s highest-profile pitches and spec scripts, leading to numerous sales including an unestablished writer’s idea to Touchstone Pictures for $1 Million. Prior to Zide/Perry, Sheila worked for Steppenwolf Theatre, writer/director Garry Marshall, and Oscar Nominees Gil Netter and the Zucker Brothers, developing such films as My Best Friend's Wedding. Sheila also sits on numerous film boards and teaches at Universities around the globe. From 2000 to 2008 Sheila was a visiting associate professor for UCLA’s graduate Producers Program, teaching core curriculum and serving as thesis chair. Sheila currently works with Film Independent, Carnegie Mellon, Pixar, USC’s Stark School, Columbia College Chicago L.A. and Fox Studios. At Fox, Sheila develops TV pilots with their Writers Intensive Program and films with their Global Directors Initiative.
Matt is a director, writer, and producer based in Los Angeles, California. While a successful financial software engineer and entrepreneur, a life changing experience reminded him to follow his bliss and rekindled his love for filmmaking. After many award-winning short films, Matt co-wrote and co-produced “Where Are You?” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and shot by Academy Award Nominee Dante Spinotti. Matt wrote, produced, and directed “Out of Time,” an independent science-fiction action film with nearly 5 million views on Amazon Prime. He loves telling stories grounded in hope and redemption, frequently weaving in elements from his technology background and his ten years as a reserve Police Officer in Canada. Matt is a graduate of the American Film Institute.
Ramesh is a working DGA director who has directed over 200 commercials, along with web series and music videos. His work is part of MOMA’s permanent collection in New York. He’s also won an AICP Award and been nominated for two ADC Young Guns Awards at Cannes. This past year his work won 7 Addy Awards, and he was nominated for a London Music Video Award.
His commercials have featured celebrity athletes such as tennis pro Venus Williams, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, golf pro Ian Poulter, MMA Fighter Junior Dos Santos, Former NFL player Cam Newton, and musicians such as Joe Jonas, and Demi Lovato. And his clients have included American Express, Activision, AFLAC, Lays, Mcdonald's, Samsung, Snickers, Sprite, and Toyota to name a few.
He directed the Ad-verse Web Series starring a group of stand-up comedians and well-known actors such as Richard Riehle (Office Space), Sam Anderson (Lost, Where The Crawdads Sing), and Tom Musgrave (Fargo TV Series).
Ramesh started his career conceiving, writing, and designing treatments and pitch decks for feature film directors from around the world. He joined Anonymous Content as part of their new director division and then later joined the Swedish directing collective ACNE, before starting his own company.
Ramesh's latest project is the first in-house Netflix commercial/promo for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sponsored by White Claw and the first one to be filmed on Netflix's new LED Volume Stage in Hollywood.
Dallas has directed, produced, and completed two feature films, KISS KISS, a hyper-stylized action thriller that premiered in Los Angeles and is available on every major platform including Amazon and iTunes. Following this, INK & RAIN, a sci-fi fantasy feature that premiered in Beijing, China and is exclusively available on China's largest web network, iQiYi. Dallas is coming off the momentum of producing the award-winning feature film documentary, THE BILL MURRAY EXPERIENCE, available on iTunes and Amazon and he just completed the EDM TV Pilot, PLUR, which was funded and will be distributed by Fusion TV. His two award-winning short action films, LITTLE SOLDIER & MOST WANTED, made during his early years in film school still gross sales today and are available on Amazon and Walmart under the title, DEMON. And along the way he directed a 10-episode docu-series, BWFC, for Banpresto Japan, owners of the Dragon Ball-Z franchise. Currently, he is in post-production on his latest third narrative feature, U.Z.L.A. a horror film, which will start its film festival run in 2020.
Dallas’ is a DGA Award winner whose vision to be a filmmaker came while being a kid that had to interpret movies through words to his blind mother. The story continues as Dallas embarked on several personal trips circling the world twice and touring 57 countries which sparked his passion as a screenwriter. Being the first and still the only member of his entire family to go to college by graduating from UCLA and continuing his journey by gaining his Masters in Directing at the acclaimed UCLA Film School. His travels have also inspired Dallas to focus on developing international co-production film projects. Producing the feature film OH BOY! for China, slated to release in 2020, and Directing and Producing the Japanese feature documentary BEHIND KARATE KILL which is available online and on Blu-ray.
Dallas created his own film production company, RED RABBIT PICTURES, which has earned him the (MPAA) Motion Picture Association of America Award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Award, The Caucus Foundation Award for Directing, a 3-time award recipient of the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts, also a recipient of the National Hispanic Fund McNamara Grant, and 1st place for the (DGA) Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing. His films have been selected and won countless Film Festivals throughout the nation and world including an African Movie Academy Award nomination for LITTLE SOLDIER.
Dallas serves as a judge and guest speaker for numerous film festivals and organizations including Comic-Con San Diego. He serves as the President of the UCLA Alumni Bruin Entertainment Network, and a proud alum of the UCLA Delta Kappa Alpha film fraternity. When he's not filming, he serves as a professor at Loyola Marymount University and a film instructor at UCLA Extension where he created the course, "How to make Sci-Fi, Action, & Horror Films on a Budget".
Robert was born and raised in Los Angeles. His education was at the Art Center College of Design where he earned a BFA in Photography.
His real education began in the studios of Hollywood as an Assistant Cameraman. Today he is a Cinematographer with extensive experience in television, feature, documentary and commercial production. Over the years he has worked on cutting edge projects such as 24, The X-Files and Roswell. He has lensed re-creations and documentary work for The History Channel. He has taught cinematography at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Three times he has been recognized by the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) for Outstanding Cinematography. In 2008, he received The Kodak Award for his work in creating and founding The Emerging Cinematographers Awards.
He is well versed in traditional film technique and strives to create new directions with today’s digital technology. All this experience is shared abundantly with his professional clients and students. For a more extensive view of Robert’s history and work, visit kosmodogfilms.com.
Atlanta native, Christine spent most of her formative years on a set, having been a professional actor in over 200 episodes of television. In the three decades since, she has expanded her resume, transitioning her career titles to include director, writer and producer.
Christine had her Network directing debut on ABC’s The Goldbergs in the fall of 2018 and has since directed over 20 episodes of television for ABC, Apple+ and Disney, including such shows as Schooled and High School Musical, The Musical, The Series.
She served as Co-Executive Producer and star of the partially scripted comedy Hollywood Darlings for the Pop Network, (2 seasons). Before that, she sold her own digital short form show Lovin’ Lakin to Hulu, after winning best web series pilot at NYTVF, which she also wrote, starred and directed several episodes of.
As a director, she was given Honorable Mention at the 2017 LA Film awards for her work on the short Dancer By Trade. She has shot for Funny or Die, as well as the music video M-O-T-H-E-R for Jersey Boys star Joseph Leo Bwarie, whose song was featured in Garry Marshall’s Mother’s Day. She recently wrapped Season 2 of the digital series Poolside, and the short films Who Am I and Best Friend Type.
Christine is also a nominated choreographer, having served as the resident choreographer for all 10 seasons of The Goldbergs. Additional choreography credits include Unstable (Netflix), Westworld (HBO), Schooled (ABC), We Are Men (CBS), Liv and Maddie (Disney),True Blood (HBO), Breaking In (FOX), 90210 (FOX), Parental Guidance (Disney) and You Again (Disney), among others.
Christine is the creator of the hit storytelling show, Worst Ever, which ran to sold-out crowds around Los Angeles and New York before being developed and sold as a series with Thank You Brain Productions. It was turned into successful podcast found on Apple and iTunes. Additionally, she has sold scripted content to MTV, Hulu, and has developed with Whoopi, Inc., Campanario and Warner Horizon.
Lakin is a UCLA alumni with a BA in Communications. Go Bruins!
Aaron is an American director and producer working primarily in the one-hour television drama format. His interest in movies began when he avidly attended the Yale Film Society as a teenager. While studying International Relations at the University of Chicago, Aaron was active in Doc Films, the school’s venerated film society, and on graduation decided to continue in this direction by entering the doctoral program in Film Theory and Criticism at Northwestern. While working on his PhD, Aaron accepted an opportunity to work for legendary low budget filmmaker Roger Corman where he learned the savvy production skills that still serve him, and seized the chance to start directing with the low budget feature ANDROID. The festival success of ANDROID got Aaron noticed by MIAMI VICE producer Michael Mann, which led to a 35+ year career in television, directing multiple pilots and producing a half dozen series, including 6 seasons on the Emmy-winning MEDIUM, starring Patricia Arquette. More recently Aaron has entered the world of audio drama directing the 7 part series The Big Lie, starring Jon Hamm, for Audible.
Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Costumes)
Costume designer, historian and Distinguished Professor Deborah is the founding director and chair of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design.
Landis received an M.F.A. in costume design from the UCLA College of Fine Arts in 1975 and a Ph.D. in the history of design from the Royal College of Art, London. Her distinguished career includes Coming to America (1988), for which she was Academy Award nominated; An American Werewolf in London (1981); Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); the classic Animal House (1978); and the costumes for the groundbreaking music video Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983).
From 2001-2007, Landis served as two-term president of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892. She is the author of six books including Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design (2007), FilmCraft: Costume Design (2012), Hollywood Sketchbook: A Century of Costume Illustration (2012) and the catalogue for her landmark exhibition, Hollywood Costume, which she curated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She is the editor-in-chief of the upcoming Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Film and Television Costume Design (2019), and recently curated an exhibition on science and science fiction at the Science Museum, London.
Landis sits on the Board of the National Film Preservation Foundation and is a past Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
ERIC MARIN (POST PRODUCTION SOUND/SOUND DESIGN)
Eric is a filmmaker and editor with extensive experience in picture editing, sound design and audio mixing. His passion for international cinema, independent film and world cultures has been influenced by his Salvadoran and Canadian heritage along with his work on such films as the Brazilian feature, Vestido de Noiva (Wedding Dress), based on the play by the renowned Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues, Skins, a poignant story of two brothers on the Pine Ridge Reservation based on the novel by Adrian C. Louis, and the documentaries Un Beso a Esa Tierra (A Kiss to This Land) about early 20th century Jewish immigrants to Mexico and Dreams at Sea about Syrian war refugees. Eric’s interest in diverse subjects is further exemplified by his work on the feature documentaries Occupy the Farm about urban farming as a way to combat food scarcity, Breaking the Maya Code about deciphering the Mayan hieroglyph system, Women of Mystery (featuring three leading American female mystery writers), Looking Like the Enemy (about the war experiences of Asian American veterans) and The Art of Observing Life about the founders of the direct cinema movement.
Additionally, Eric’s background in music, has led him to produce, direct, shoot and edit several contemporary music and performance documentaries including Lou Harrison: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create and Baschet: The Transfiguration of Daily Life (awarded Best Art Documentary at the Parnu International Documentary Festival 2004 and Grand Prix de la Recherche at the Festival International du Film d’Art, Paris, 2003). His works have been seen on PBS and The Learning Channel and have been screened at festivals and various venues worldwide. Other film awards include the Nissan FOCUS documentary award, the Bronze Apple from the National Education Festival, the CINE Eagle award, and the Western States Regional Media Fellowship.
Eric Marin has been teaching various courses in postproduction and postproduction sound at UCLA since 1997. He is also the recipient of UCLA’s prestigious “Distinguished Teaching Award” for 2007.
Chris has to be among the tallest directors working today. At a towering 6 feet 5 inches, he possesses the unique competitive advantage of being able to spot colleagues in a crowded area quickly. An experienced Writer/Director, Chris’s most recent project was the feature film Tenured which he co-wrote and directed for Fox Digital. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won the audience award for comedy feature at the Maui Film Festival, and is now on Netflix. He co-wrote and directed the pilot Its A Hit! for The Orchard starring Abby Elliott, Tim Matheson, and Tyler Hilton. In the commercial world Chris worked on Tide’s Super Bowl campaign with Hungry Man Productions, directing several online companion spots. He has also worked with the CBS Early Show, The CBS Evening News, Food Network and HGTV on their promotional campaigns.
Matt is the Cinematography Lead at Naughty Dog. His contributions include the cinematic and narrative elements of games like Uncharted and The Last of Us. Over the years he has developed a broad and deep toolkit in visual storytelling, working as an assistant director, editor, previsualization supervisor, visual effects supervisor, and cinematographer in film, TV, and game industries. His work has earned best of honors from the Oscars, Emmys, Annies, and The Game Awards. He’s also received individual recognition for Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature for “Rango”, and Outstanding Direction in a Game Cinematic for “The Last of Us Part II.”
Helping others develop and realize their vision is Matt’s professional passion. The introvert in Matt enjoys reading most of all, in particular short stories and books on science or philosophy. The extrovert in him loves bringing people together for board game nights, golf outings, or a night of karaoke. Matt hopes to bring this same sense of play and human connection to his teaching and mentoring.
Taylor has been working in the entertainment industry for almost 30 years. This has afforded him the opportunity to bridge generations by working closely with the likes of Angela Lansbury, Shelley Winters, James Garner and Charlton Heston to currently starring in Hulu’s Emmy nominated Pen15 and HBO’s Perry Mason. Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker having directed Two Heterosexual Men... and Last Trainand is an experienced producer with feature credits including The Next Step and Case 219. But Mr. Nichols is best know as an actor beginning his career with the Academy Award nominated Metropolitan, Barcelona and Boiler Room to Godzilla, Chappaquiddick and 1BR. TV credits include series regular roles on HBO’s Mind of the Married Man, Man of the People and many recurring roles on shows such as Friday Night Lights, Criminal Minds and The Last Tycoon. He has over one hundred guest starring roles and is an experienced theater actor and director having worked at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles and Playwrights Horizon in NYC. Taylor is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is a Creative Consultant at Meteor 17, a Los Angeles based production company.
Brian has been a DGA Assistant Director for 27 years. He started in independent features, and has served as Key 2nd AD on films by the Coen Brothers, John Sayles, Robert Rodriguez, and Spike Jonze, among others. He became a 1st AD on the ABC series Alias, and has worked primarily in television since, with multiple seasons on the shows Brothers & Sisters and Castle. Most recently, he was the 1st AD of the second season of The AfterParty for Apple.
Brian is a graduate of Duke University and received a MFA in film-video production from the University of Texas at Austin. His student films won several awards, including the Student Emmy Award, and were twice nominated as Student Academy Awards finalists.
When not working as an assistant director, Brian pursues his own projects, in collaboration with his wife, Harri James. Their most recent project is the documentary feature, “O’Kelley Legends: 2e Behind the Scenes.”
Karri has been involved with over 100 features, short films, commercials and television programs during her twenty-seven years in the entertainment industry. She is a member of the PGA and a DGA UPM.
Most recently Karri co-produced the upcoming Ethan Hawke directed Flannery O-Connor biopic Wildcat, starring Maya Hawke, Laura Linney, Steve Zahn, Alessandro Nivalo, Cooper Hoffman and Rafael Casal. Her other co-producing/line producing credits include Sundance Selection Goat and TIFF Selection My Days of Mercy for Killer Films, the Sundance and Independent Spirit Award-winning Give Me Liberty, the Melanie Laurent directed Ben Foster/Elle Fanning starring SXSW Selection Galveston, Donnybrook for producer David Lancaster’s Rumble Films and she served as UPM on the critically acclaimed Todd Haynes film Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Karri also produced Mariah Carey’s directorial debut A Christmas Melody for Hallmark.
An expert on the practical applications of international and domestic film tax incentives, she lobbied extensively for the Ohio Film Tax Credit, which became part of the State of Ohio Budget in 2009 and which has helped bring millions of dollars of film activity into the state. Karri has successfully handled the rebate preparation, execution and submission for numerous films utilizing incentive programs throughout the US and internationally.
MICHAEL T. PERRY
Michael is a production designer best known for his work on the critically acclaimed and award-winning films “It Follows”, “Under the Silver Lake,” and “Promising Young Woman”. He is known for his creative and detailed approach to design with a distinct visual style that complements the film’s overall look and tone, while contributing to the characters and storyline.
After getting his BFA in Theater Design from VCU and his MFA in Sets, Lighting and Costume Design from USC, he entered the film business as a scenic painter, quickly moving up to art director working on projects like the great film “Fabulous Baker Boys” and the series “The Stand”.
In the middle of his career, he started working on commercials and spent 12 years designing hundreds of ads in the US and around the world. But Michael’s passion was always designing films and he had the opportunity to move back into that world with the film “Killer Elite” and then “It Follows”. He continues to design and look for challenges in all genres of films from the recent horror film “Texas Chainsaw” with Legendary Films to the rom com “I Want You Back” for Amazon.
His full list of credits, awards and nominations can be seen on his website www.michaelperrydesign.com, including: Win SDSA for Promising Young Woman, 5 Nominations for Promising Young Woman, 1 Nomination for Under the Silver Lake, Emmy Nomination for The Stand, Win ICAD for best design European Commercial.
ALISSA FERGUSON PHILLIPS
Alissa is a Film and Television Producer as well as a full time Career Instructor in the Department of Cinema Studies at University of Oregon. Some of Phillips’ film producing credits include MONEYBALL, I FEEL PRETTY and DRACULA UNTOLD. Some of Phillips’ streaming credits include Hulu’s “CULTURE SHOCK” and “PURE,” as well as Frank Darabont’s limited series “Mob City.” Prior to University of Oregon, Phillips was an Adjunct Instructor of Film at Portland State University, and Lewis & Clark College. Phillips lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon with her three daughters.
James (Director, Writer, Producer) hails from Athens, Georgia. His films, which include The End of the Tour, The Spectacular Now, Summering, and Smashed (among others), have been recognized by the National Board of Review, Sundance Film Festival, and Independent Spirit Awards. He’s directed pilots and executive produced shows such as “Master of None” and “Sorry for Your Loss.” Most recently, Ponsoldt executive produced and directed the pilot and multiple episodes of "Shrinking" for Apple TV as well as Amazon’s series “Daisy Jones & The Six." He's currently developing his next film.
Billy wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Captain Phillips, for which he won the WGA award. He also wrote, directed, and executive-produced Showtime's The Comey Rule, which had the biggest debut of any limited series in that network's history. Ray's films as writer, co-writer, or writer-director include The Hunger Games, Richard Jewell, Shattered Glass, and Breach. His current feature projects include 68: the true story of Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and The Silent Wife for Nicole Kidman. Ray is a member of the AMPAS Board of Governors. He believes in democracy, justice, and the Dodgers.
Adam is an award winning filmmaker whose eclectic career ranges from comedies to dramas, and studio films to indies. Most recently, Rifkin wrote, produced and directed THE LAST MOVIE STAR for A24, a poignant drama starring screen legend, Burt Reynolds, in his final performance. Among the other 20 odd movies and TV series Adam’s written and/or directed are: THE DARK BACKWARD, an oddball fairytale about a stand-up comic who grows a 3rd arm, starring Bill Paxton, Wayne Newton, Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe, James Caan and Lara Flynn Boyle, which not only has become a cult classic but was also named one of the top 10 films of its year by The New York Post, THE CHASE, for Fox, an action packed social satire about the media’s bloodthirsty obsession with obtaining exclusive footage, New Line Cinema’s DETROIT ROCK CITY, another bona fide cult classic about 4 teens who go on an Arthurian quest for KISS tickets in 1978, NIGHT AT THE GOLDEN EAGLE, a festival darling about one hot night in a downtown LA crack hotel, LOOK, a searing drama shot entirely from the point of view of the hundreds of surveillance cameras we all live our lives in view of everyday, and GIUSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE, an outrageous yet touching documentary about trailer park filmmaker Giuseppe Andrews. GIUSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE currently holds a coveted 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was recently added to the Criterion Channel. Rifkin has also written many family comedies, including: MOUSEHUNT and SMALL SOLDIERS, both for Dreamworks, UNDERDOG for Disney and ZOOM for Sony.
LOLITA RITMANIS (Scoring)
Lolita is an Emmy® Award winning, 10 time Emmy Award nominated composer and a 2022 Grammy® Award winning music producer for “Women Warriors: The Voices of Change.” In 2023 Lolita reunites with director Dzintars Dreibergs to score feature film: "Escape Net," as well as celebrates the release of Daniel Kreizberg's film: "Tahlequah the Whale: A Dance of Grief," which features music by Lolita. In 2021, Lolita was Oscar® shortlisted for best score for her 70 minute symphonic and choral score for the feature film “Blizzard of Souls,” which earned her numerous awards, including the Society of Composers and Lyricists Award for best score for an independent film, Hollywood Music in Media Award for best score for an international feature film, the Alex North Award for best score, as well as the Golden Microphone Award for best instrumental album, and the Big Christopher (Latvia's equivalent to the Academy Award.)
Lolita is one of the founders of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, serving as president 2016-2018, and a founding member of Dynamic Music Partners. Other career highlights include her original score for “Christmas in Rome” for Hallmark, documentary “Wild Daze” (featuring Jane Goodall), music for the gender parity series “Flip the Script” (starring Lake Bell), as well as continued work alongside her fellow Dynamic Music Partners, Michael McCuistion and Kristopher Carter on fan-favorite productions: “Young Justice,” “Batman: The Killing Joke” (starring Mark Hamill,) “Justice League” (the theme, composed by Lolita, received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination), “Batman Beyond” (Emmy Award Win), “Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Animated Series,” as well as the Primetime Emmy Award nominated musical “Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Mayhem of the Music Meister” (starring Neil Patrick Harris.)
Lolita's concert works have been performed at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Koerner Hall in Toronto, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, The Krakow International Film Music Festival, Fimucité International Film Music Festival in Tenerife, and Playfest in Ubeda, Spain. Early in her career, Lolita learned from the masters while working for such composing greats as Michael Kamen, Basil Poledouris, Mark Snow and Shirley Walker, among many others. Prior to focusing her career on composition, Lolita was an orchestrator on over 100 films, mini-series and television programs including Lethal Weapon 4, X-Files Movie, and Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves. She received her formal education at the Dick Grove School of Music, specializing in film scoring. Lolita is on faculty at USC's School for Cinematic Arts- Screen Scoring Program, as well as has presented master classes and seminars at Columbia College Chicago -Music Composition for the Screen, MFA, as well as Hong Kong Baptist University Screen Scoring Program. Lolita is member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Society of Composers and Lyricists. In 2018 Lolita was honored with the BMI Champion Award, and in 2022 Lolita was honored with the BMI Impact Award. Website: https://www.lolitaritmanis.com/
JESSICA STEINROCK (Intimacy Direction)
Jessica Steinrock, Ph.D., is the CEO of Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. Her recent Intimacy Coordination credits include Moxie and Never Have I Ever on Netflix, Animal Kingdom on TNT, and Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. Originating in improv comedy, her work has expanded to encompass film, opera, improv, devising, still photography, and scripted theatre. She has also extensive experience supporting new and young artists on stage and screen and is passionate about empowering unheard voices and fostering collaboration in new and more effective ways.
JOHN J. STRAUSS
John has been writing and producing television series, feature Films, both live action and computer animated for over thirty years.
John’s credits as a screenwriter include “There's Something About Mary”, “Santa Clause II”, Santa Clause III”, starring Tim Allen and “Free Birds”, a computer animated feature, starring Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.
Box office receipts of the aforementioned films total in excess of a billion dollars internationally.
On the television side, John has been an executive producer/show runner on over ten different television series. His most recent executive producing/writing credits include the Peabody Award winning series, David Makes Man, the Emmy winning computer animated series, Arcane and the Golden Globe winning series, Mozart in the Jungle.
He is currently adapting South Korean film, Crying Fist, with Riot Games for television, developing a single camera half hour anime pilot for with Viola Davis’s company, Juvee, and adapting the book series, Rhode Island Red, with Alicia Keys producing.
John is also adapting “There’s Something About Mary” as a Broadway musical with Peter Farrelly.
John is also on the faculty, teaching screen and television writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Jann was born in France, raised in South Africa and educated in Britain. She is a dual British and American citizen who now lives in Los Angeles with her two children. She received her bachelor’s degree from Oxford University and her M.F.A at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Her first job in the film industry was receptionist at Working Title Films in London. Throughout her career she has worked as a runner, assistant editor and sound editor.
Jann is a Producing Director and Co-EP on episodes of Jack Ryan Seasons 3 and 4. She also functioned as Producing Director and Co-EP and on the final season of Shondaland’s Scandal.
She has shot episodes of S.W.A.T., Seal Team, 911 - LA, The Resident, For Life, The Code, Filthy Rich, The Last Ship, Scandal, The Catch, Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Jane The Virgin, Grace and Frankie, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Hard Copy, Isidingo, Zero Tolerance, Mzansi, Complications, The Fosters, Castle, Scorpion, Alpha House, Satisfaction, Virgin River, The Divide, Teen Wolf, The Neighbors, Save Me, The Big C, The Carrie Diaries and Emily Owens MD.
Jann’s feature films are White Wedding and Paradise Stop.
Outside of narrative television, Jann was on-air producer for SABC TV&’s Truth Commission Special Report and has made documentaries for C4UK and eTV South Africa. Her published novels are Home Is Where You Find It, Heartland and Southern Cross.
Evette is an award-winning writer, director, producer and immersive storyteller, featured in Forbes and named by the New York Times as an “Artist to Watch.” Vargas has produced series for Amazon, MTV, Bravo, DirectTV; and interactive content for Fast and Furious, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Madonna and Wu-Tang Clan. Vargas executive produced, wrote and directed her digital series Dark Prophet, starring Henry Rollins, which was in contention for two Emmys. Vargas has written, directed and produced the pilot for her series, Confessions, and is the TV Development Executive at Hidden Empire Film Group, building out their slate. Vargas is also developing a series for Shout! Factory and Twentyone14 Media, writing a feature film for Reyes King Productions, and sold her drama series, Muses, to TNT Super Deluxe. Vargas is the creator and host of the New Hollywood Clubhouse Podcast, a weekly award-winning show, exploring New Hollywood paradigms and empowering storytellers through community. Vargas wrote The Current War VR Experience, a companion piece for the film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Vargas was commissioned by Final Draft to create the Evette Vargas Immersiveplay, the professional script writing template for VR, AR, XR writing. A staunch activist for inclusion and equity, Vargas founded The Writers Room 5050 to mentor storytellers and create opportunities for their next-level success. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Producers Guild of America, Vargas was born in the Bronx and learned to tell stories at the dinner table where imagination ruled. Vargas collects action figures, typewriters and shoes; has past lives as a DJ, a fashion designer, and is a recovering New York City advertising Art Director.
Newsletter Sign Up
102 E. Melnitz Hall, Box 951622
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622
Copyright © 2023 UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television.