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Ninoos Beithishou



Doreen Bartoni has written, directed and produced award winning independent films that have been screened at numerous national and international festivals. In 2011 she was a visiting professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, China.  She is currently working on the script for Speranza, a feature film set in Italy and the American West, and researching contemplative approaches to education.
She has taught and developed courses in film production, documentary and history/theory. She has an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to education and co-authored the innovative course, Space, Time & Arts.  As the founding Dean of the School of the Media Arts (2001-2011), she was instrumental in the realization of the Media Production Center and oversaw multi-disciplinary initiatives in transmedia screenwriting, documentary, and the major in Game Design.
She holds a graduate degree in film and an undergraduate degree in communications from Northwestern University.

Ninoos Beithishou


Senior Lecturer

Alumni of Columbia College with more than 20 years of experience in filmmaking as a cinematographer, cameraman, producer, director, in the field of features films, educational, documentaries and TV spots. Some of the awards for projects are as follows Illinois Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival, International Mercury Award, APEX Award and Quest Star Award (Finalist).

Robert Buchar


Associate Professor

M.F.A. from Film Academy of Fine Arts in Cinematography, Prague, Czechoslovakia. Shot more than 20 films and worked extensively in motion pictures before defecting to the U.S. in 1980. Has since photographed several films and documentaries in the U.S. and Europe. His documentary feature film Velvet Hangover was screened in Film festivals around the world. He published several books: Sametova Kocovina (2003), Czech New Wave Filmmakers in Interviews (2004), Revoluce 1989 (2009), And Reality Be Damned…(2010). Currently he is working on his film The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story, a documentary about the collapse of communism in Europe. Mr. Buchar is the senior cinematography faculty and the principal author of the Cinematography Concentration.

Carrie Callis


Associate Professor

M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago. Screenwriter, poet, novelist and editor for Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), an NEA funded literary magazine. Has worked on various film productions as a crew member and as a creative consultant. Published in Columbia Poetry Review, Chicago Arts and Communication, Wire and 58. She is currently Development Program Director.

 Michael Caplan


Associate Professor

Michael Caplan is an independent film director and teacher. His most recent film, A Magical Vision, is a documentary that spotlights Eugene Burger, a magician, philosopher, and guru of the magical arts.  The film premiered at the Gene Siskel Theatre in Chicago in 2008 and recently won the Peoples Choice Award at the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival in June 2010 and had its international debut at the Global Cinema Festival in Indore, India.  Caplan also directed Stones from the Soil, a personal documentary that showed on national PBS in 2005 through 2007.  He is currently in production on Algren, a documentary that explores the life and legacy of Nelson Algren, the National Book Award-winning author of The Man with the Golden Arm and A Walk on the Wild Side.  Caplan teaches documentary and narrative film production as well as creative producing classes. 



Associate Professor

Kevin worked in various creative executive positions in Los Angeles ranging from Bay Films and Fox 2000 to Digital Domain where he served as an Executive Producer on Secondhand Lions starring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine.  Kevin also served as an Executive Producer on the U.S. Hungarian Co-Production Lora. Kevin directed the 3D family film I Heart Shakey that starred Steve Lemme, Steve Guttenberg and Alfonso Arau. Most recently, Kevin wrote and directed the short film entitled The Painter starring Ron Caldwell (Flight), produced under the Amarok Productions' banner. Kevin received a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and his MFA from UCLA.



Associate Professor

Ron Falzone is an award-winning screenwriter and tenured member of the full-time faculty of Cinema Art + Science. In addition, he is the host of two screening series: Talk Cinema in Chicago and Evanston and Cinema Slapdown at Columbia College. Falzone is a year 2000 recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship in Screenwriting, a 2006 and 2007 winner of the IAC Finalist Award and is an eleven-time Artist in Residence at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. He holds a BA in Film from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.



Animation Program Director
Associate Professor

Ron Fleischer received his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago in 1984 and has worked professionally in the animation industry for over 25 years. Ron was recognized for his contributions to broadcast series animation receiving Emmy recognition for his work on Steven Spielberg's Animaniacs as well various other Warner Brothers television productions. He also served as Technical Director on the feature film The Powerpuff Girls Movie in 2002. His award-winning animated short, Lemmings, has played to worldwide audiences in over 25 festivals and received the Chicago Award at the 40th Chicago International Film Festival. He continues to produce work through his company RonToon, Inc. and is currently in production on his next animated short, A Tooth Tale.

A tenured faculty member and Associate Professor in Cinema Art + Science, Ron is currently the director of the Animation Program coordinating all courses in both Traditional and Computer concentrations. Areas of specialization include traditional animation production, directing, and digital compositing.



Senior Lecturer

M.F.A. '97, Columbia College. Writer, script consultant, and director who has worked on both narrative film and dramatic stage productions. Documentary director for City at Peace, New York. Comedy feature screenplay 18th Hole co-written with faculty member Chris Swider, and historical feature screenplay, Huffman Prairie won Bronze and Gold Awards respectively at the Houston Worldfest International Film Festival.




M.F.A., University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Has directed films in dramatic, documentary, educational and industrial formats. Documentaries on social ecology and children's prisons. Dramatic screenplays on transcendental science fiction and the midlife crisis in gay men. Research on Westerns, film noir, and the French New Wave. Taught the Visions Project, 1994-2000, a documentary training program for European students sponsored by Groupement European des Ecoles de Cinema et de Television. Chap is the North American Representative to the Executive Council of CILECT, the world organization of film and television schools.



Associate Professor

Karla received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York City and B.A. from Amherst College. She teaches in the Cinema Studies and Screenwriting areas in the undergraduate and M.F.A. graduate programs.

Prior to teaching at Columbia College, Ms. Fuller held the position of Director of Feature Film Evaluation at Vestron Inc. which produced the hit movie Dirty Dancing among others.  She was a freelance script reader for New Line Cinema, Miramax and various other production companies.

Her research interests include racial and ethnic representation in Hollywood films, postwar Japanese cinema and authorship studies.  She has presented her work at film conferences both nationally and internationally.  She is also published in numerous film journals and has published an essay in the anthology, Classic Hollywood, Classic Whiteness, on the representation of the Japanese in Hollywood films during World War II.  Her book, Hollywood goes Oriental: CaucAsian Performance in American Film, was released by Wayne State University Press in 2010.  She is also under consideration by University Press of Mississippi for editing a book based on the interviews of award winning director Ang Lee.




Assistant Professor

Julian Grant is an award-winning filmmaker with twenty- nine feature films to his credit. A published author, fine-art photographer and acclaimed digital artist, Julian Grant's work can be seen worldwide on both cinema screens, television, independent forums and on the internet. As an independent writer, producer and director he has created numerous short films and music videos and continues to develop new media showcases, transmedia events and pedagogical strategies. An advocate of visual effects and emerging technologies, Julian Grant is a digital cinema evangelist.



Associate Professor

After receiving his M.A. from Florida State University in German Film Studies and an M.F.A. from the Ohio State University in Film and Video, Ted Hardin worked with a variety of artists at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada as director of photography, director, editor, lighting director, and assistant director. He has collaborated with the alternative media collective Paper Tiger Television in New York, researched and shot the documentary, Dark Near-Death Experiences for German Television. Ted's own experimental narratives and movement-based films have shown at festivals and galleries throughoutthe U.S. and Europe. For the last decade, he has been collaborating with his partner Elizabeth Coffman on experimental shorts and documentaries. Their past efforts include the feature documentary about Bosnia One More Mile: a Dialogue on Nation-Building and the short video and installation Long Distance. Recently they have been working on another short, Digital Afrika, and a feature documentary about wetland loss in Louisiana, Veins in the Gulf.



Associate Professor

Peter Hartel is a cinematographer, post-production producer and editor who specializes in visual effects, animation, and computer generated imaging projects for television, commercials, corporate, public relations, and multimedia distribution. He is a 1981 graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in Film. He has years of experience as an optical camera operator, and as a computerized motion control camera operator, as well as supervising and producing high-end postproduction editorial and compositing. Peter Hartel is also an experienced editor and compositor, and has studied in Montreal with Autodesk on the Flint/Flame/Inferno compositing systems as an Autodesk certified operator. He is a tenured faculty member of the Cinematography Concentration of Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago, creating and implementing curriculum at Columbia reflecting his expertise, and teaching his magic to a new generation.

Paul Hettel


Associate Professor

Paul Hettel has been making films for over thirty years. He has written and directed five feature films and over twenty-five short narrative, documentary and experimental films. Work can be screened at www.film242.com. He has filmed on location in Poland, Italy, Cyprus and the United States. His films have been screened in Europe, South America, Asia, Mexico, and the United States. Paul Hettel has been teaching at Columbia College, Chicago since 1981. His areas of specialization are: Production, Editing, Screenwriting, French and Italian Cinema.




Adam Jones received a BFA from the School of Art and Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago, and has worked on numerous television programs, commercials, music videos, and feature films primarily as a cinematographer and gaffer in Hollywood for more than thirty years.


Susan Kerns

Assistant Professor

Susan Kerns is currently producing the documentary Last of the Lawsonians, and she wrote the screenplay for Little Red, which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Berlin Independent Film Festival. She has produced, directed, or written numerous short films that have screened at national and international film festivals. Previously, Susan was Education Director at the Milwaukee Film Festival where she programmed the youth films and ran their filmmaking and screenwriting workshops. She also created a program where kids made music videos for local bands. She holds an MA from the University of Northern Iowa and completed her doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include conjoined twins, sideshows, disability in film, and melodrama, and an early portion of her dissertation can be found in the anthology Nip/Tuck: Television that Gets Under Your Skin.


Ruth Leitman

Assistant Professor

Ruth Leitman has a BFA in Film and Photography from University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has been teaching filmmaking for 14 years. Through her company Ruthless Films, she has directed 6 feature length documentary films that have received funding from Rockefeller Foundation, Paul Robeson Fund, TribeCa Film Institute, Fledgling Fund and Illinois Humanities Council. Her film Alma (1998), won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at IDFA, SXSW, DGA and Whitney Biennial. Her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) premiered at TriBeCa Film Festival and Hot Docs. It won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival, was released theatrically by Koch Lorber Films and broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards. Most recently Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010) an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize. The film won several advocacy awards after it became a clear agent for change, when it’s subjects were reunited in the US in August 2011. A broadcast is scheduled for 2012. Freelance clients include: The Redwalls, Neko Case, Ronald McDonald House, Safe Humane Chicago, American Trial Lawyers Association, Sallie Mae Student Loans, Harry Mitchell (D- AZ) and Fair Wisconsin. Early work as a photographer includes: Rolling Stone, SPIN, Esquire, Working Mother, Newsweek, Outkast, Black Crowes, REM and Indigo Girls. Leitman is in development on a 1950’s fiction feature film, The Pin Down Girl, about the pioneers of women’s wrestling.



Assistant Professor

Karen Loop has nearly 20 years experience as a Los Angeles based feature film producer. Her feature credits include: Outlander (Weinstein Co.) starring Jim Caviezel and John Hurt; Five Days Til Midnight (SyFy Channel) a five day mini-series with Timothy Hutton; Secondhand Lions (New Line) starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall; and Frailty (LionsGate) starring Matthew McConaughey in which actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut. Before striking out as an independent producer, she worked in development for Academy-award winning producers at Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios, often reading up to 700 screenplays per year. Before arriving in Los Angeles, she worked in physical production in New York City, directed several music videos, and worked on Emmy-award winning documentaries and public affairs shows for Boston television. She has a B.A. in Communication Studies from UCLA and a MFA in Film Production from NYU.



Assistant Professor

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, K-J Mathieson received her M.F.A. in Computer Arts & Animation at the award-winning Florida Center for Electronic Communication, under the direction of Senior Poet Laureate, Dr. Edmund Skellings. Her work has screened at various film festivals including: Anima Munde, Silveride, Crested Butte, Melbourne, The Seoul International Animation Festival, as well as SIGGRAPH, earning her a Telly Award. While working as an Animator at Electronic Arts (EA), Ms. Mathieson guest lectured at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Broward Community College, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, & The University of North Florida.



Assistant Professor

Vaun Monroe was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He earned his BA in African-American Drama at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and his MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia. He has written several feature length screenplays, directed many film shorts, a feature length film, a television pilot, numerous plays, and won the James Pendleton Fellowship in Screenwriting. He has produced, written and directed narrative films that have screened in film festivals both nationally and internationally. He recently wrote and directed a one hour dramatic television pilot titled Chicago Blues and was named President of the National Association of Black Screenwriters. Vaun currently teaches Screenwriting and Directing. He is particularly concerned with the humanistic dramatic portrayal of Black American experience. He considers himself a modern day Griot (African storyteller who passes the history of the village from one generation to the next) who utilizes the mediums of stage, television and film to narrate stories of the Black community.



Senior Lecturer

Sue Mroz is an award-winning filmmaker and Senior Lecturer in Cinema Art + Science. Prior to Columbia, she was Program Director of the Chicago International Film Festival and worked as an actor and filmmaker in Chicago with Wild Life Theater and Rococo Rodeo. She has an MFA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago, and studied extensively at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. Her areas of specialization are mythology, dreams, and the psychology of creativity. Classes taught and/or created include Project Development, PreProduction and Preparation; Myth, Dream, and Movie; Directing 1; Adaptation; and Creativity: Vision and Process. She was instrumental in the creation of the department’s new Foundations program. Her current areas of exploration are painting, photography, and puppetry.



Assistant Professor

Lee C Payton has been a professional film and audio instructor for over ten years; including two years as an Assistant Dean in Atlanta, GA, and several years designing film curriculum in Raleigh, NC, as well as teaching audio and video for gaming. He has produced several short films and documentaries, and has written and recorded seven CDs of original music. After gaining much experience in the southeast, and performing music wherever he goes, Lee is now a full- time tenure-track Assistant Professor of Cinema Art + Science. Lee received his MFA from Florida State University Film School in 2000, during which time he apprenticed with Academy Award winner Richard Portman, and studied with Academy Award winner Christopher Newman. He also holds a B.S. in Visual Art from Florida State University. Payton continues his work as a filmmaker, documentarian, writer, musician, artist through his company Payton Productions, established in 1986.


Carolina Posse


Born in Barcelona and grew up in Colombia, while a student at Columbia College she began working as production manager for television commercials and received a number of scholarships and awards. Immediately after graduation she became Programming and Operations Manager of the International Latino Cultural Center running the Chicago Latino Film Festival with over 30,000 attendees, 100 films and hosted 50 plus international directors, actors, producers and journalists. Carolina has traveled to prestigious international film markets and festivals like Montreal, Cartagena, San Sebastian, Guadalajara, Toronto, and many others. She has collaborated with international governmental arts organizations like Instituto Mexicano de Cine (IMCINE Mexico); Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematografica (INCAIC Cuba); Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuals (INCAA Argentina); Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV, Brazil. Her involvement with the Festival culminated as Interim Festival Director in 2007. Nationally, she has worked with Discovery Channel, Sundance Institute, National Alliance of Latino Producers, Latino Public Broadcasting Consortium, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and locally with WTTW Channel 11 and Facets Cinematheque.  She has co-produced a number of award-winning works, supervised the film festival screenings and secured distribution outlets. She is in production of a gothic-fantasy trans-media narrative photo-novella called The Francis Ellis Mysteries and in development of a short film called The Pond. She serves as curator for Mostra: Brazilian Film Series. Mostra began in the Fall of 2010 in conjunction with Partners of the Americas, an international volunteer diplomatic organization, and in collaboration with Roosevelt University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois in Urbana, DePaul, Northwestern, Northeastern, and Columbia College.



Associate Professor

B.A., Northern Illinois University.  Jim currently teaches courses in Computer and Traditional Animation Production.   Prior to Columbia, Jim worked in the video game industry (Midway Games, Sega Midwest). He was involved in all aspects of game art: Cinematics, Character Design, Environmental Modeling, Character Animation and Motion Capture.   Jim also worked in the Graphic Novel field; He developed several creator-owned comic book series (Fantagraphics Books and DC Comics / Paradox Press) and created cover illustrations for Dark Horse Comics. He was a senior instructor at the Screenwriter’s Group- a screenwriting workshop in Chicago.



Assistant Professor

(B.A., Vassar College; M.F.A., New York University) currently lives in Gary, Indiana. His photographs and films documenting the life and work of folk artist Peter Anton will be featured in the exhibit Almost There at the Intuit Center for Outsider and Intuitive Art from July-December 2010. The project, a collaboration with Aaron Wickenden, will be published as a book by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011. Dan’s interview with director Karyn Kusama (“And Maybe There is a Way to Give Hollywood the Kick in the Ass That It Needs”) was recently published in Filming Difference: Actors, Directors, Producers and Writers on Gender, Race and Sexuality in Film (University of Texas Press, May 2009), and his short story “Picky” was included in Front Forty Press’s award-winning Short Stories Illustrated by Artists. After graduate school, Dan was a member of The Playwrights Collective. His plays were produced in venues throughout New York. During this time, he worked in various capacities for Martin Scorsese and John Sayles. Dan recently received a Faculty Development Grant for Under Ed’s Roof, an essay film he’s making about his relationship to architect/developer Ed Noonan and Tryon Farm, a conservation community located in Northwest Indiana.



Associate Chair,Professor

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa has an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been teaching as a full time faculty at the Film and Video Department since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international cinema, Middle Eastern cinema, Exilic cinema, women, gender, race in cinema), documentary film theory and production and alternative forms. She has lectured and written extensively on Iranian cinema. Her book on Abbas Kiarostami co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum was published by the University of Illinois Press in March 2003. Mehrnaz is an award winner filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless far from Home, and Ruins Within have been shown in many international film festivals. Her recent film A Different Moon was shown in several European film festivals in 2009 and has been picked up for distribution by European Spiritual Film Festival in France. She is currently working a on a personal documentary film about her relationship with Jerry Lewis’s cinema.

Mehrnaz has been the Artistic Consultant of the Festival of Films from Iran, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago since 1989.



Assistant Professor

Zoran Samardzija is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His primary research explores post-communist East European and Balkan Cinemas in order to address the socio-political ramifications of European unification. He has published several articles and reviews, which include an analysis of Andrei Tarkovksy’s Nostalghia, the use of historical and national myths in the films of Theo Angelopoulos, representations of exile and migration in cinema about the Balkans, and David Lynch’s embrace of the Internet and digital video. In addition, he has articles forthcoming on pedagogical strategies for introducing students to communist and post-communist East European and Balkan Cinemas. Before arriving at Columbia he taught courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Facets Multimedia. He teaches a wide variety of courses on cinema, such as surveys of national cinemas, authorships courses, representations of sadism and violence, film theory, and introductions to film aesthetics.


Chair, Cinema Art + Science

Bruce Sheridan has been Chair of Cinema Art + Science since 2001 and is a leader in the move to redesign film and media education for the 21st century. He has 30 years experience directing, producing, and writing drama and documentary for the screen and teaches all of those disciplines. He won the 1999 New Zealand Best Drama Award for the tele-feature Lawless. In 2006 Kubuku Rides, a short film he produced with Tim Evans and Steppenwolf Films, was recognized as Best Narrative Short at Memphis IndieFest. He is currently developing a feature film set in New Zealand and Peru called Hunting Daniel and researching imagination and creativity as they relate to artistic development and expression. He holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in philosophy from the University of Auckland (New Zealand).



Associate Chair, Associate Professor

M.F.A., Columbia College. Co-founder and coordinator of Semester in LA. Independent filmmaker, producer and editor. He is the producer of the international co-production, feature film Threads (Khait Errouh) which was written and directed by Hakim Belabbes and was an official selection of the Venice Biennale. He also is the postproduction supervisor for Peter Hunt Thompson's epic documentary, Moviemento. He was the Director of Photography for Birgit Rathsmann's documentary Grit and Polish which examines the Hong Kong film industry. His current projects include development for Finding Farris, a palestinian-american comedy and he is in production on a year in the life of an Indiana high school girls' basketball team. He is the photographer for Soups of France, Chronicle Books, 2002.



Associate Professor

MA, University of Chicago. BA, UCLA. Associate Professor Spitz teaches documentary story, research, production, outreach and social activism. Spitz is the Director and Co-Producer of the official Sundance Film Festival & PBS selection, The Return of Navajo Boy, which reunited a Navajo family, triggered a federal investigation into uranium houses on the Navajo Reservation and resulted in a $100,000 payment from the US Dept. of Justice to a former uranium miner featured in the film. An ongoing environmental justice project, the film has evolved into websites, speaking tours for Navajo participants, curriculum and a Navajo led initiative to clean up Cold War uranium contamination.

Spitz has served in a hybrid capacity of writer-director-producer for several independent documentaries which have aired on PBS and cable, including the national primetime special, From the Bottom Up. Spitz's credits include America's Libraries Change Lives, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and The Roosevelt Experiment: An Integrated College in a Segregated City - an Emmy Award-winning documentary that aired on ABC-TV. Areas of interest: race relations, history of documentary, teaching documentary in schools, documentary and social justice movements, indigenous filmmaking and the history of South Africa’s Robben Island.


Associate Chair, Cinema Art + Science

Josef Steiff has an M.F.A. from Ohio University. A former licensed social worker creating films, installations, performance and written work that reflect his interest in the ways that people struggle to make personal sense out of random, impersonal events; his work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia; films include the award-winning short experimental narratives Catching Fire and Borders; educational documentary How Will I Tell? Surviving Sexual Assault; line producer for Korean MBC Television’s More Beautiful Than A Flower; general crew on Michael Moore’s Roger & Me and Wendy Weinberg’s Academy Award nominated documentary Beyond Imagining; sound installation artist for the first major exhibition regarding HIV in the United States, AIDS: The Artists' Response, and writer/performer of the critically acclaimed one-man show Golden Corral; books include The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking, Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?, Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder and Manga and Philosophy.




Chris (Christopher) Swider, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Directing Program of the Polish National Film School, Lodz, Poland (PWSFTv i T). He has made both documentary and narrative films. Mr. Swider is an associate professor at Columbia College, Chicago where he teaches directing, and he is a producer at BulletProof Film in Chicago. Mr. Swider also works as a script consultant and continues to write screenplays, both dramas and comedies. Three of his screenplays have been awarded in screenwriting competitions. His screenplay, Peter and the Chrome Plated Fish, was awarded first prize in the comedy screenplay category at the Houston International Film Festival in April 2007. His one-hour documentary Children in Exile was awarded two first prizes among the multiple awards it received in international competitions. It has also been broadcast in Europe.



Assistant Professor

M.F.A., Cinema-Television, University of Southern California. An award-winning producer, director and editor, David has created programs for Sony Pictures, The Muppets, The Sci-Fi Channel, Walt Disney Pictures, Fox, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Tokyopop, Mattel, Universal, Warner Brothers, Baby Einstein, Showtime and more. He is executive producer, director and editor of the new media comedy series Dorkumentary, starring Adria Dawn, and was editor of the Webby Award-winning Muppets series Statler and Waldorf From The Balcony, for Disney. His breakthrough film as producer/director/editor, the gothic fairy-tale Dinner, premiered at Slamdance, played on the SyFy Channel, and was released on DVD. David produced and edited the award-winning feature documentary What Babies Want, narrated by Noah Wyle, and its follow-up Reducing Infant Mortality. He produced and edited a series of documentaries for Sony Pictures, as well as serving as senior editor of The Pat Kilbane Show for Comedy Central. Besides making numerous films, series, commercials and trailers, David also produces and directs theatre, as well as being an accomplished musician, graphic artist and writer. Before joining the faculty at Columbia College, David worked in Hollywood for 14 years and taught documentary production at UCLA.



Associate Professor

Born and raised in Taiwan, Republic of China, Wenhwa Ts’ao is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has received numerous grants and scholarships such as Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Kodak Faculty Award and Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program. Her short films have been showcased in US, France, China, Romania, Mexico, Ecuador, Africa and the Netherlands international film festivals. Wenhwa is in pre-production on a dramatic feature about human trafficking titled Snakehead. The project has been selected for the Emerging Narrative program during New York’s IFP’s Independent Film Week and won 1st Place in the Feature Screenplay Competition in Las Vegas International Film Festival, 2nd place in Woods Hole International Film Festival, Finalist in the Canada International Film Festival Write Brother Feature Length Screenplay competition, Cinema City International Film Festival and New Hampshire International Film Festival. Wenhwa is in development on a feature script inspired by the historical looting of the Silk Road Buddhist Treasure from 1885 to 1925, and a sci-fi film about a coming-of-age thirteen-year-old cyborg girl.




Bonita Winer (Bonnie) grew up in Chicago with a fascination in nature, fantasy and mystery. With an MFA degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California, an MSW degree in Child and Family Counseling, and a BS in Early Childhood Education, she looks for the healing power of stories. She has worked as an editor and assistant editor in episodic TV, feature films and documentaries, working in Hollywood with a range of companies from Roger Corman to Warner Bros. For the last 10 years, she has been consulting, writing, teaching and developing projects for young audiences here in Chicago



Associate Professor

Barry Young became interested in animation while teaching Graphic Design as an Instructor of Design at Ohio University following the completion of his BFA degree there in 1967. He pursued this, in addition to filmmaking and calligraphy, in completing his MFA degree at Northwestern University in 1973. Several of Barry's short films have received recognition, most notably a live action/animated documentary of the 1906 Ringling Bros. circus season. After freelancing in animation and graphic design in the mid ‘70’s, Barry began teaching at Columbia and built the animation curriculum as we know it today. In 1995, he developed Columbia's computer animation curriculum. In 1992, Barry was invited to give a series of lectures on Western animation at the Beijing Film Academy. In 2006 he conducted an series of animation workshops in Makati City, Manila, Philippines. He continues to be involved in numerous children’s animation workshops throughout the Midwest, including the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International where he is also an Advisory Board member, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and many others.



Senior Lecturer

B.A., Columbia College. Sharon has won funding and a variety of awards for her independent and professional work as an editor, postproduction supervisor and producer. As the owner of Black Cat Productions in Chicago, she has edited independent feature films, including Hannah Free, The Trouble With Dee, Dirty Work and many successful short films and documentaries. She has postproduction supervised several features including The Merry Gentleman, CA$H and Drunkboat. She is on the board of directors of Chicago Filmmakers, co-founder and programmer for the Dyke Delicious screening series and volunteer for Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival.