University of North Carolina School of the Arts
School of Filmmaking

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Faculty/Staff Photos & Bios

School of Filmmaking Administration


Susan Ruskin, Dean (2013), Interim Dean of School of Filmmaking from 2012-2013, Producing Faculty (2009)  Susan Ruskin is a producer and executive who began her film career as a development executive for George Lucas’ LucasFilm. She was head of development for Robert Stigwood at RSO before she went on to associate produce WOMAN IN RED for Orion and Gene Wilder. She then became President of Production for Pal-Mel Productions. She also produced HAUNTED HONEYMOON with Gilda Radner, Gene Wilder and Jonathan Pryce. As head of production, Susan worked on the Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder movie SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, FUNNY ABOUT LOVE, and ANOTHER YOU among others.  Ruskin went on to become President of Production for Middle Fork making ANACONDA for Columbia Pictures starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson and Jon Voight. VACUUMS -- a movie directed by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas ( the creators of the hit show STOMP) -- starring Kip Pardue, Lee Evans and Rose McGowan. Ruskin also oversaw the production for the documentary, GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT with Middle Fork Productions and The Shooting Gallery for American Masters among others.  Susan Ruskin is currently associated with a group of writers and directors at Western Sandblast where she is producing FIFTY MICE written and directed by Daniel Pyne. Ruskin sold a script she adapted to Enigma Productions, A GRACIOUS PLENTY, based on the book by Sheri Reynolds, and she is developing a screenplay with the director Andy Fickman (SHE’S THE MAN, ANOTHER YOU, PARENTAL GUIDANCE). She has also been on the board of the Fountainhead Theatre company where she directed two one-act plays, and served on the nominating committee for the 43rd NAACP foreign film award. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University/Gallatin.


Henry Grillo, Associate Dean, (2010) B.A. in Music Theory and Composition, Cornell University; M.F.A. in Theatrical Production, Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Grillo joined the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the University of North Carolina School of the Arts) in 1983. He has spent the majority of his career at UNCSA on the faculty of the School of Design & Production, where he served as an Assistant Dean and the Director of the Graduate Program. He was instrumental in helping achieve national recognition and commendation for that school’s formidable undergraduate and graduate programs and in growing the school’s enrollment from under 70 to over 200 students. As an instructor, he taught extensively in the technical training program, which he directed for over fifteen years. In 2004, he was awarded both the NCSA Faculty Teaching Award and the UNC Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. With over thirty years of teaching in higher education, he has offered comprehensive courses on graphic communication, project management, structural design, leadership development, theatre technology, and theatrical design.

In recent years, Mr. Grillo has led the faculty development effort at UNCSA, assisting faculty with their transition from the professional world to the world of education. As the Director of the Faculty Enrichment Center, he focused his attention on the use of technology in the teaching of artists, and was a staunch supporter of the institution’s efforts to redesign its courses in response to 21stcentury teaching and learning sensibilities.

Mr. Grillo has served as technical director and/or lighting designer for a number of residential performing companies including the University of Evansville, Carnegie Mellon Theatre Company, Cornell University Theatre, Ithaca Summer Repertory, the Hangar Theatre, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, National Black Theatre Festival, and the Winston-Salem Little Theatre. In film and television he has undertaken construction and technical work for WQED in Pittsburgh and on a feature film directed by George Romero. Mr. Grillo was president and general manager of North Carolina Scenic Studios, a professional design and construction studio that provided production support for the entertainment and corporate event segments. He holds memberships in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). 

David E. Elkins S.O.C., Assistant Dean of Production, Cinematography Faculty (1997) Interim Dean of School of Filmmaking from 2006-2007 B.A., Film Production, Columbia College-Hollywood; B.A., Mathematics, University of Connecticut; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Columbia College-Hollywood. Previous teaching experience includes nine years at Columbia College-Hollywood.  He served as president of the school from 1994-1995.  He has worked professionally as a motion picture camera assistant and camera operator for film, television, music videos and commercials. His credits include the television series THE WONDER YEARS, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and GABRIEL’S FIRE,  music videos for The Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, commercials for McDonalds, Life Savers and  more.   He has served as Assistant Dean of the School of Filmmaking since 2004.  David is the author of two of the basic textbooks for camera personnel: "The Camera Assistant’s Manual" now in its sixth edition and "Camera Terms and Concepts," published by Focal Press.  He is an active member of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and Society of Camera Operators.

Renata Jackson, Assistant Dean of Academics, Cinema Studies Faculty (1998)  B.A., M.A. in Film Production and Film History/Criticism, Penn State University; Ph.D. in Cinema Studies, New York University. Has taught film history, theory, and analysis at Penn State, Emerson College, The European Institute for International Communication, and New York University. Chair of NCSA Educational Policies Committee since 2000.  President of the Winston-Salem Cinema Society since 2001. Serves as Editorial Assistant on the academic journal The Hitchcock Annual (since 2002). Publications include The Modernist Poetics and Experimental Film Practice of Maya Deren (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002); “Relevant Theory for Documentary Film,” CILECT News No. 42 (May 2005); and “Who’s Your Dada? The Marx Brothers at Paramount,” in A Century of the Marx Brothers, ed. Joseph Mills (Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming).
Lauren Vilchik, Assistant Dean of MFA Program, Producing Faculty (2010) Ms. Vilchik is a film producer and production attorney specializing in independent film finance as well as production. In 1998, she started her own company, Tonic Films, LLC, which is based out of Los Angeles. At the helm of Tonic Films, Ms. Vilchik has produced 10 feature films, including the 2003 venerated horror hit CABIN FEVER, purchased by Lionsgate in one of the largest bidding wars in the history of the Toronto Film Festival. Produced for a meager $1.5 million, CABIN FEVER has reached a total gross profit to date of more than $70 million. In addition to CABIN FEVER, which was nominated for a 2004 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, Ms. Vilchik produced a string of other critically acclaimed and award-winning independent films which garnered her a nomination for the 2004 Independent Spirit Awards Producer’s Award for outstanding achievement for a body of work. Ms. Vilchik was also honored with the distinction of being named one of Variety’s Top 10 Producers to Watch, announced at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Ms. Vilchik’s most recently released projects include BORDERLAND, produced in conjunction with Lionsgate. BORDERLAND was released theatrically in the United States and around the world and was called a “brutally suspenseful crime drama” (Variety) that “mixes the dramatic aspects of a true crime story with elements indicative of modern horror cinema to great triumph” (Bloody Disgusting). CABIN FEVER 2: SPRING FEVER, the long-awaited sequel – which some critics are touting as “better than the first” (Killer Film) was released by Lionsgate on Feb. 16, 2010. Ms. Vilchik is in development on DEATH ANGEL’S SHADOW, featuring dark-fantasy legend Karl Edward Wagner’s immortal anti-hero, KANE. Ms. Vilchik acquired DEATH ANGEL’S SHADOW, a collection of three Wagner short stories, and will produce the film based upon “Reflections for the Winter of My Soul,” which is the first of three short stories comprising the book. The other two short stories, “Cold Light” and “Mirage,” are in development as part of a KANE franchise for Tonic Films. Ms. Vilchik has recently teamed up with the writer/director duo on BORDERLAND to develop a contemporary western thriller called THREE SHADES OF BLACK, scheduled for production in summer 2011.  Ms. Vilchik serves as a mentor, speaker, jurist and panelist at AFI Fest’s “Kodak Connect,” the IFP Independent Producer Series Panel “Running the Set,” Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s “Movers & Shakers” Producers Panel, IFP’s “Foreign and Domestic Incentives for the Independent” panel, SXSW Film Festival “Hot New Horror” and guest of honor at the “Indie Filmmaker Salon” and the “Prospective Investors Dinner” Austin School Of Film. Ms. Vilchik is also post production consultant for the independent distribution company Freestyle Releasing.
Wade Wilson, Assistant Dean of Post Production, Editing and Sound Faculty (2008)
Sound designer, supervising sound editor, musician, and actor.  Feature film credits include SHREK, MADAGASCAR, SHARK TALE, THE PERFECT STORM, MYSTIC RIVER, ELF, and UNFAITHFUL.  TV credits include THE SIMPSONS, FUTURAMA, THE PJ’S, and DILBERT.  Honored with multiple Motion Picture Sound Editors GOLDEN REEL Awards.  Sound design work on THE PERFECT STORM helped catapult its soundtrack to an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.  Member of Motion Picture Editors Guild, and Screen Actors Guild.


School of Filmmaking Faculty


Thomas Ackerman A.S.C., Cinematography Faculty (2008)  Thomas Ackerman is best known for his work as Director of Photography in feature motion pictures with over thirty-five theatrical films to his credit, including iconic titles such as Beetlejuice,   Jumanji, and  The Legend of Ron Burgundy.  Mr. Ackerman is also widely experienced in commercial, music video and documentary film production.  He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild, the Directors Guild of America, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Steven Baker, Animation Faculty (2013)  His career includes being a  Character Animator, Visual Effects, as well as Gaming animation – Stephen has worked on projects such as SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, HUGO, GREEN LANTERN, TERRA NOVA, TRANSFORMERS 3: DARK OF THE MOON TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, STAR TREK, G-FORCE, VALKYRIE, EAGLE EYE, PUSHING DAISIES, LEGO BRICKMASTER, HALO 3, LAIR, KUNG FU PANDA, LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST, SOCOM 4: U.S. NAVY SEALS, MEDAL OF HONOR: AIRBORNE, MIDGARD AND FERRARI, SCOOBY DOO, STUART LITTLE II, GARFIELD, ELF, THE RING, DAREDEVIL, LILO AND STITCH 2, OSMOSIS JONES, SPACE JAM and THE COCA COLA BEARS among many others. He has worked for Rhythm and Hues, Sony Imageworks, Omation, and Image Metrics as well as his own company, Raging Zen.
Dona Cooper, Screenwriting Faculty (2002) Author of AFI's Writing Great Screenplays for Film and TV. 20 years experience as a creative executive in all areas of television programming. Former Senior Vice President of Programming for ABC Daytime television. Former Director of Prime Time Programs for NBC servings at the network's liaison with producers, directors, and writers on such series as "E.R.," "Law & Order," "Quantum Leap," "I'll Fly Away," and "L.A. Law." Developed the Emmy Award-winning "Drug Wars: The Kiki Camerena Story." Served as a freelance story consultant for independent feature producers, as well as HBO.
Eric Eason, Directing Faculty (2016) Eric Eason has been in the film industry as a writer-director for over 20 years and has worked on various projects in the US, Brazil, and Argentina—from independent films to $150 million dollar studio projects.

His first feature "Manito" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. His second feature "Journey to the End of the Night" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and starred Brendan Fraser, Scott Glenn and Yaslin Bey. As a screenwriter, Eason has worked on dozens of films in and outside of the studio system and he wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award nominated "A Better Life" directed by Chris Weitz. 

Jay Gallagher, Editing & Sound Faculty (2010) Supervising sound editor, recording engineer and facility designer. Feature film credits include TRAFFIC, OCEANS 11, MONSTERS INC and BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. TV credits include THE BIG EASY, RYAN CAULFIELD and THE SIMPSONS. An electrical engineering background, which began at Louisiana State University, has given Mr. Gallagher a technical perspective regarding audio. He has also worked in acoustic design, as well as other technical aspects of sound. Mr. Gallagher designed and operated a recording studio in New Orleans for more than 20 years, where he garnered five Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award and multiple gold records. He also designed and operated two film sound post facilities. Member of the Audio Engineering Society and National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. A Certified Level-One THX technician.
Bob Gosse, Producing Faculty (2010)  Director/Producer Bob Gosse graduated from the prestigious Film Program at SUNY Purchase in 1986. He began his professional career collaborating with his cousin Hal Hartley on shorts and two feature films, THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH (1988) and TRUST (1990). After this, Mr. Gosse started the lauded indie film company The Shooting Gallery in 1991 with a handful of local filmmakers including Michael Almereyda, Nick Gomez and Whitney Ransick. Mr. Gosse produced the first film out of The Shooting Gallery, LAWS OF GRAVITY (1992), which went on to a worldwide theatrical release and rave reviews. That same year he produced director Michael Almeryda’s pixelvision feature ANOTHER GIRL, ANOTHER PLANET, which won the National Film Critics Award for Best Experimental Feature. Continuing his efforts as creative director at The Shooting Gallery, Mr. Gosse produced the crime drama HANDGUN (1993) with Treat Williams for director Whitey Ransick, and followed this with collaboration with Spike Lee to produce NEW JERSEY DRIVE (1995) with LAWS OF GRAVITY director Nick Gomez. Deciding to direct was a natural next step, and Mr. Gosse got the job to direct THE LAST HOME RUN (1996) for the Shooting Gallery. After the release of that film, he was to direct the acclaimed NIAGARA, NIAGARA (1998) which was lauded at the Venice International Film Festival in 1997 and won the distinguished Volpi Cup for leading actress Robin Tunney. Mr. Gosse continued developing features for the Shooting Gallery including Billy Bob Thornton’s acclaimed SLINGBLADE (1997) as well as Kenneth Lonigan’s YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (2000). In 2000, Mr. Gosse adapted Wendy Hammond’s play “Julie Johnson” into a feature film starring Lilli Taylor, Courtney Love and the late Spaulding Gray. With the dot com collapse of Shooting Gallery in late 2001, Mr. Gosse turned back to producing films and screenwriting with Tim McCann’s RUNAWAY (2004), Michael Almereyda’s TONIGHT AT NOON (2006) and Carl Evan’s FRAME OF MIND (2007).
In 2008, Mr. Gosse directed the best-selling Tucker Max novel “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” which was released nationally on Sept. 25, 2009. It has been hailed as “the Godfather of gross-out comedies” and was released by Fox on DVD in January 2010. Currently Mr. Gosse is co-directing a documentary about The Shooting Gallery with former TSG founder and writer/director Whitney Ransick. He is also writing a screenplay about John Wilkes Booth.
Chris Heckman, Film Music Composition Faculty (2011) Composer of music for film, television, video games, theatre, sacred music, and concert music, holds a B.M. in Music Composition from Florida State University (2007) and an M.F.A. in Film Music Composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (2009). While a graduate student at UNCSA, Chris studied with David McHugh, and frequently assisted UNCSA Chancellor John Mauceri with several projects for major symphony orchestras, including the Radio Symphony of Vienna, North Carolina Symphony, and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Chris was awarded the 2009 ASCAP Fellowship for Composition & Film Scoring at the Aspen Music Festival, where he studied with Marco Beltrami. He has also composed music for Danny Elfman. Recent credits include the acclaimed video game, RED DEAD REDEMPTION (2010), and the award-winning short, THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN (2010). Chris is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Music Composition at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of ASCAP.

Patrick Read Johnson, Directing Faculty (2013)  Patrick Read Johnson was born on May 7th, 1962 and, again, on May 7th, 1968, while watching Stanley Kubrick's “2001: a space odyssey”. His subsequent years as a Super-8 filmmaking teen with too much ambition, too little supervision, and unfettered access to power tools and flammable liquids, might been worse on his family and friends, but for an unlikely series of events that propelled him from tiny Wadsworth, Illinois to Hollywood, California, in the spring of 1977, when an unknown film called “Star Wars” was just finishing up post-production. Watching the unfinished work-print at the visual effects facility for Lucas’ epic, along with a chance meeting, the next day, with Steven Spielberg, on the set “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”convinced Johnson to pack up his Ford Pinto and head for L.A., where he quickly landed a job as a model maker at a local visual effects facility. A year later, at the age of 19, he sold his first screenplay to 20th Century Fox and, for the next 7 years, lived the dual identity of occasionally-working Screenwriter/constantly-working Visual Effects Artist.   Finally, in 1988, he co-wrote the script "Martians!!!"which was produced the next year under Johnson's direction. The 2 million dollar film so impressed Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy that the director/producer duo helped arrange for its theatrical distribution through Touchstone Pictures, which released the work in 1990 as "Spaced Invaders". It also garnered Johnson a first look Directing/Writing/Producing deal with Universal Studios. One of the first projects to go into development, in partnership with screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue, was "Dragonheart", starring Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery.  Johnson’s feature and television motion picture directing credits include: "Spaced Invaders"(Touchstone, 1990), "Baby's Day Out" (20th Century Fox, 1994) and "Angus" (Turner Pictures, 1995),“When Good Ghouls go Bad” (Fox Television), starring Christopher Lloyd, and the upcoming “5-25-77”, starring John Francis Daley and Austin Pendleton. Mr. Johnson has also worked extensively with The Muppets, both in consultation on the development of Muppet Movie screenplays for Jim Henson Pictures, and the direction of a series of the company’s award-winning Muppet Meeting Films, as well as helming the FX- laden "When Food Goes Bad” episode of the hit Henson/Disney TV series “Dinosaurs”.   Prior to joining the UNCSA School of Filmmaking, Johnson served as a Senior Thesis Mentor for the American Film Institute.

Kevin Jones, Creative Producing MFA Faculty (2016) Jones, a founding member in the Film M.F.A. program, is a veteran studio executive, independent producer, manager and educator, comes to UNCSA from the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, where he was named head of creative mentors in 2012. He’s worked at The Ladd Company, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures. His credits with studios include Forrest Gump, “Coming to America, “Hunt for Red October, Spike Lee's Get on the Bus, Groundhog Day, Money Train, Multiplicity and The Net. As an independent film producer, his credits include Duets, Love and Sex and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. from the University of California at Riverside. He’s been a visiting faculty member at UNCSA and also has taught at the University of California at Riverside.

Bob Keen, Production Design Faculty (2013)  Mr. Keen has worked in the film and television industry for over 35 years and has been involved in hundreds of productions. He has directed 8 films and numerous commercials and has been Second Unit Director or Effects Director on over 30 projects.  Mr. Keen ran his own publicly listed Special Effects company, Image Animation plc, from Pinewood Studios, England, for 23 years with international branches in Los Angeles and Toronto. He continues to be a consultant and advisor to such companies as Sony Interactive Europe, the London Film Museum, Medient Corp. India, Thorpe Park (Tussaud Group), Cineaqua Paris, and EA Games.  Some of the films he has worked on include: DOG SOLDIERS, RONIN, EVENT HORIZON, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, CHILDREN OF THE CORN II, CANDYMAN, HARDWARE, NIGHTBREED, WAXWORK, THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, HELLRAISER, HIGHLANDER, ALIENS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, LIFEFORCE, THE NEVER ENDING STORY, RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE DARK CRYSTAL, THE KEEP, MEANING OF LIFE, BRITANNIA HOSPITAL, OUTLAND, TIME BANDITS, THE SHINING, FLASH GORDON, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, ALIEN, MOONRAKER, SUPERMAN, AND THE MEDUSA TOUCH.  Bob has worked for some of the greatest directors including: Clive Barker, Bernard Rose, Russell Mulcahy, Ken Russell, James Cameron, Frank Oz, Tobe Hooper, Wolfgang Petersen, Jim Henson, Michael Mann, Terry Gilliam, Lindsay Anderson, Ridley Scott, Richard Donner and Stanley Kubrick.

Janos Kovacsi, Directing Faculty (1993) M.A., Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary; M.F.A., Hungarian University of Drama and Film Art, Budapest, Hungary; Fulbright Scholar. Theatrical features as director, writer and co-writer include: CHA-CHA-CHA, RIGHT MAN FOR A DELICATE MISSION;  Deputy managing director, MAFILM. Prior his current position he served for 12 years as First Assistant Professor at his alma mater, the Hungarian University of Drama and Film Art.
John Le Blanc, Cinematography Faculty  (2006) Trained as a Cinematographer for over two decades, John has shot with some of the top named directors on feature films, music videos and commercials. He has won a prestigious Golden Lion award in Cannes for his AT&T International campaign.  His feature credits include ANGEL TOWN, STRIPPED TO KILL, PERSONAL FOUL, THE OUTSIDER, TRUTH OR DARE and COCOON.  In addition to numerous commercial credits, John also has music video credits including “Kiss” (Prince), “Eternity” (Sheena Easton), and “The Right Stuff” (Vanessa Williams).
Joseph Lopina, Animation Faculty (2005) A.A.S., in Electronic Engineering Technology; B.F.A., in Film, Syracuse University; M.A., in Educational Media, Appalachian State University. Has taught film and animation courses at the North Carolina School of the Arts since 1999. Associate of the CDI (Center for Design Innovation). Member of the International Association of Animators (ASIFA), Puppeteers of America, and the Puppetry Guild of the Carolinas.
William Mai, Screenwriting Faculty (1997) B.A., Cornell University; M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Cornell University. Screenwriting credits include: LIGHTSHIP, WALK ON THE MOON, CALDO LARGO, and FIG TREE JOHN. Has had selected publications in WESTBERE REVIEW, ANTAEUS, and EPOCH. Has taught writing at Ithaca College, St. Clare's Hall, Cornell University and for the Peace Corps.
Tim McCann, Directing Faculty (2013)   McCann has directed eight independent feature films, including Desolation Angels (presented by Jonathan Demme and Barbet Schroeder), Revolution #9, Runaway and White Rabbit, and has won a variety of international awards, including the International Critics Prize at the Toronto Film Festival, the Merchant Ivory | Kodak Award at the Telluride Film Festival, and Critic’s Choice at Rotterdam. Variety claimed “McCann’s instinctive camera-eye burnishes nearly every exchange with a Cassavetes dynamism”.   He has also worked as a screenwriter and cinematographer, and has guest lectured at Boston University, Cornell University, Ithaca College, The New School, Montclair and others, and was recently head of the Film Program at Purchase College, S.U.N.Y.
Laura Hart McKinny, Screenwriting Faculty  (1993) Member of the founding faculty at the School of Filmmaking.  BA, Lifetime Teaching Credential and graduate coursework, University of California, Los Angeles. Recipient of Writer’s Guild of America, East Foundation Fellowship Grant for an original screenplay.  MFA in Creative Writing, Queens University of Charlotte.  Numerous screenplays.  Writer of One in Eight.  Writer and co-producer of feature documentary, InBroad Daylight.   Writer of stage adaptation of The Land Breakers by John Ehle.
Darren Miller, Producing Faculty (2016) Miller joined the School of Filmmaking in January 2016 as a visiting faculty member. He co-founded Montage Media Group in 2008, where he heads the talent management, consulting, film and television divisions. For more than a decade he served as senior executive and producer for Paramount/Viacom, with credits including The Eye; Mission Impossible I, II and III; “Ask the Dust; Suspect Zero; “Shattered Glass; Elizabethtown; “The Last Samurai; Narc; Vanilla Sky; The Others; and Without Limits. He has a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Business Administration from the University of San Diego.   
Michael Miller, Editing & Sound Faculty (2015)
Dale Pollock, Cinema Studies Faculty (2007) Dean of School of Filmmaking (1999-2006) B.A., Brandeis University; Master of Science in Communications, San Jose State University. Dale Pollock produced 13 feature films, including SET IT OFF, MRS. WINTERBOURNE, A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, THE BEAST and BLAZE. His films have received four Academy Award nominations and have won several awards, including Best Film at the Cleveland and Houston film festivals. He was chief film reviewer for Daily Variety, film reporter for the Los Angeles Times (where he was a Pulitzer Prize nominee) and author of “Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas,” first published in 1984 with more than 150,000 copies in print.
Burton Rencher, Production Design Faculty  (2001) Member of Local 876, Art Director's Guild in Los Angeles. Has worked as production designer, art director and set decorator on a variety of film and television projects. As production designer: MARY JANE'S LAST DANCE, BRUNO, AMBUSHED, SHADRACH, STEPHEN KING'S THE NIGHT FLIER; as art director: KISS THE GIRLS, THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD, BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA, RUBY IN PARADISE, BLANK CHECK and STEPHEN KING'S THE STAND (Emmy nomination, Best Art Direction).
  John L. Roberts,  Editing & Sound Faculty (2015) His editing credits include the series “From Dusk to Dawn” for Netflix, “Sleepy Hollow” and “Glee” for FOX, ABC’s “The Black Box” and “Mind Games” and television movies Crazy, Sexy, Cool for VH1 and Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle for the History Channel. He studied in UNCSA’s Film School and received a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Julian Semilian,  Editing and Sound Faculty   (1998) Julian Semilian began his editing career in 1975, as assistant editor on films and TV shows such as The Big Bus, Jaws II, Lord of the Rings, Moonlighting, Laguna Beach, Knightrider, Rescuers Down Under, and others. As a feature editor, Semilian has cut CAPTURED, THE LAND LADY, THE NIGHT CALLER, KILLING GROUNDS, THE FIANCE, CUPID, DADDY'S GIRL, LONELY HEARTS, CYBORG, SCANNER COP and DEATH WISH II, among many others. Julian is also a poet and translator and has published his poems in magazines such as "Arshile," "Exquisite Corpse," "Suitcase," "Word Letter," Callaloo," and "Syllogism".
David Spencer, Cinema Studies Faculty  (2006)  B.A., Communications: Broadcasting and Film from UNC-Greensboro; Film Preservation Certification from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House Museum of Photography and Film.  Has been the Assistant Curator for the Moving Image Archives for over 10 years after spending two years in the School of Filmmaking as a student.  Has managed or directed the exhibition component for the Gala Opening of the School of Filmmaking, the 52nd Annual University Film and Video Association Conference, Cinethics: National Conference on Ethics, and the River Run International Film Festival.  A member of the Association of Moving IMage Archivists.
Ron Stacker Thompson,  Screenwriting Faculty   (1998) B.A., M.A., Illinois State University, 12 years experience teaching at Merritt College, during that time founded the Oakland Ensemble Theatre. As a writer and director of the stage, has mounted projects at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, The National Theatre Festival in North Carolina, and the Henry Street Settlement and AMAS theatres in New York. For the last ten years, has been a producer and writer for television and film. Film credits include: HOODLUM, SISTER ACT 2, THE CEMETERY CLUB, DEEP COVER, A RAGE IN HARLEM, FUNNY VALENTINES, SPLIT SECOND and AMERICA'S DREAM. Numerous awards include NAACP Image Award, Cable Ace Award, Audelco Award, NACCA Nomination, and a Bay Area Critics Circle Award.
Gary Tieche, Screenwriting MFA Faculty (2016) A graduate of the highly acclaimed screenwriting program in UCLA’s Department of Theater, Film and Television, Gary Tieche has been a professional screenwriter for over 20 years, working in both film and television.

Tieche created and executive produced “MDs” for ABC, an irreverent medical dramedy starring William Fichtner, Jane Lynch and Thomas Lennon. He’s sold several features and pilots including “Speaking of Sex,” starring Bill Murray, Catherine O'Hara and James Spader, and Supreme Courtships” for Fox TV, staring Leslie Odom and Kurtwood Smith. He wrote the four-hour miniseries Seven Deadly Sins” and also wrote on “Medium,” starring Patricia Arquette. Tieche worked to adapt the hit Japanese television show “The Beautiful Neighbor” for the USA Network with director Dan Sackheim (“Game of Thrones,” “The Americans”).

Mary Ann Zotto, Production Design Faculty (2010)  Mary Ann Zotto has a dedicated career in studio art as a painter. She has a bachelor’s degree in drawing and painting from North Texas State University, a master’s degree in painting and weaving from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Fine Arts in papermaking and painting from East Carolina University.

Ms. Zotto’s paintings can be seen in Ron Howard’s film PARENTHOOD and the film HOUSE OF CARDS starring Kathleen Turner. Her work has been placed in the U.S. Department of State Art Bank Project, the state of North Carolina Permanent Art Collection, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Mint Museum in Charlotte and the Wake Forest University Permanent Art Collection. Her art has been collected for corporate collections for Wachovia and other companies and is on display at the IBM headquarters in Germany, the Kimberly-Clark national headquarters, the Sealy national headquarters, the Burroughs national headquarters and the McKinney & Sliver headquarters.

Ms. Zotto has taught at Wake Forest University, East Carolina University, Penland School of Crafts and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Ms. Zotto has been awarded residencies as a visiting artist for the North Carolina Arts Council. She was also selected to participate in the 50th Anniversary Weeklong Retreat sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts Grant and the North Carolina Arts Council. She has taught workshops for the Tougaloo Art Colony. Her studios have been in Fort Worth, Texas; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Woodstock, N.Y.; and now in Winston-Salem, N.C.


School of Filmmaking Staff


Brian Best
Post Production Technical Officer
  Tim Bowman
Post Production Technical Officer
  Quenisha Browne
Business Officer
Stephanie Colopy
Head of Production
  Matt Jones
Associate Curator
  Tim Kottyan
Shop Supervisor


Bob Massa
Technical Operations Coordinator
  Kate Miller
Film Festival / Internship Coordinator
  Tiger Poston
Post Production Technical Officer
Eric Self
Exhibition Coordinator
  Dolores Watson
Academic Programs Manager
  Sarah Williams
Executive Assistant to the Dean
Adam Witmer
Archives Assistant













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This page last updated May 10, 2017