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Faculty


DOREEN BARTONI  Professor, Cinema Art + Science, has written, directed and produced award winning independent films that have been screened at numerous national and international festivals. Current projects include co-producing John Hancock’s independent feature film, Swan Song, and working on the script for Speranza, a feature film set in Italy and the American West. She has led workshops on contemplative approaches to the arts and has presented at conferences on the potential of interdisciplinary approach to education.  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. 
In 2011 she was a visiting professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. 
She holds a graduate degree in film and an undergraduate degree in communications from Northwestern University.

 

CARI 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.

 

MICHAEL CAPLAN  Associate Professor, is a documentary director.  He is currently in post-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.  Previous films include A Magical Vision, 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, screened at the Global Cinema Festival in Indore, India and won the Peoples Choice Award at the Spirit Enlightened Film Festival in June 2010.  Caplan also directed Stones from the Soil, a personal documentary that showed on national PBS in 2005. Caplan teaches documentary and narrative film production as well as creative producing classes.

 

KEVIN COOPER Associate Professor, principal and founder of Amarok Productions, is currently in post-production on two films.  In January, he wrote and directed a short film called The Painter, starring Ron Caldwell (Flight), which is a fictional film about how the epidemic levels of violence in Chicago desensitize youth in high-risk neighborhoods.  In June, The Painter was accepted into the Academy Award qualifying Montreal World Film Festival and San Marino International Film Festival.  On June 23rd, Amarok Productions wrapped principal photography on its most recent Chicago-based feature film entitled Precious Mettle, which stars Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Fiona Dourif (True Blood and The Master) and Matt Bushell (Twlight and Leatherheads).  In May 2013, Amarok Productions signed an overall development deal with Emil Arab, who commissioned Kevin to write & direct the feature film Finn, a road movie about three siblings who discover one of them is dying, set off to find truth and the "perfect wave" on Lake Michigan…Yes, you can surf pristine, cerulean waves on the Great Lakes!

 

RON FALZONE Associate Professor, is an award-winning screenwriter. Most recently, he co-produced and wrote the feature film Close Quarters and the short film Typing.  His work has been screened internationally at numerous film festivals including Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner, Chicago International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, LA Short Film Festival, Midwest Film Festival, Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, and the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.  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. In addition, he is the host of two screening series: Talk Cinema in Chicago and Lake Forest, and Cinema Slapdown at Columbia College. Falzone holds a BA in Film from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

TOM FRATERRIGO 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.

 

CHAP FREEMAN Professor. 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.

 

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

 

JULIAN GRANT Assistant Professor, is an award-winning independent filmmaker with over thirty feature films to his credit.  Past films include, The Defiled, the mini-series Robocop: Prime Directives, NYC Int. Film Festival Multi-Award Winner "Fall Away" and the international animated success, The Doctor's Wife. For more information, please visit www.juliangrant.com http://www.juliangrant.com/

 

TED HARDIN 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 DP, 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 throughout the 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 , the experimental travelogue Digital Afrika, and a feature documentary about wetland loss in Louisiana, Veins in the Gulf. Ted is currently working on an experimental short about vision: a trans-media project involving German immigration, slavery, and identity in New Orleans: and an installation about the efforts to save Venice, Italy from sinking under the effects of climate change

 

KAREN LOOP Assistant Professor, has nearly 20 years experience as a Los Angeles-based feature film producer. Her feature credits include: Outlander starring Jim Caviezel and John Hurt; Five Days Til Midnight a SyFy mini-series with Timothy Hutton; Secondhand Lions starring Michael Caine and Robert Duvall; and Frailty starring Matthew McConaughey in which actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut. Before striking out as an independent producer, she worked in development for Hollywood studios, coordinated physical production, and won two Emmys for public affairs television.  She holds a B.A. from UCLA and a MFA from NYU.  She currently has two short films on the festival circuit and is finishing financing on a $15M biopic, which she hopes to shoot summer 2014.

 

SUE MROZ, Senior Lecturer,  is an award-winning filmmaker. 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 Undergraduate department’s Foundations program. Her current areas of exploration are painting, photography, and puppetry. Sue is the 2011 recipient of Columbia's Excellence in Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty, see profile.  She is currently the Screenwriting Coordinator.

 

CAROLINA POSSE EMILIANI, Lecturer,  was 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.  This year Mostra 4 is opening on November 1st at Columbia’s Film Row Cinema. Carolina resides in Chicago. She is married and has one son.

DAN RYBICKY Associate Professor,  is an artist and teacher whose work has been seen in venues throughout New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. His feature documentary ALMOST THERE recently received funding from ITVS/PBS and will have its premiere in 2014. While receiving his MFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Dan helped found The Playwrights Collective and began working in various capacities with Martin Scorsese, John Sayles, and John Leguizamo. The next film he plans to direct will profile iconic American photographer Mary Ellen Mark.

 

MEHRNAZ SAEED-VAFA Associate Chair,  has an M.F.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been teaching as a full time faculty for the 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 winning filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless far from Home, and Ruins Within have been shown at 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 finishing 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.

 

ZORAN SAMARDZIJA Assistant Professor, 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 cinemas from communist and post-communist East European, recent Serbian cinema, and the connections between Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek. 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.

 

BRUCE SHERIDAN Chair, Professor, since 2001. He writes, produces, and directs 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 and the 2006 Memphis IndieFest Best Short Narrative Award (with Tim Evans and Mary Frances Budig) for Kubuku Rides (This Is It), a project made in partnership with Steppenwolf Films. In 2012 he produced Head Games, a feature documentary on sports concussion with Steve James (director of Hoop Dreams). Head Games won for Best Documentary at the 2012 Boston Film Festival and was named one of the Best Sports Films of 2012 by both Sports Illustrated and iTunes. Professor Sheridan is currently working on a cross-media project about fathers and sons called The Infinity of Ghosts, developing a documentary on democracy, and researching imagination, creativity and improvisation as they relate to artistic development and expression.

 

JOSEF (JOE) STEIFF Senior Associate Chair, Professor. Raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Josef Steiff is a former licensed social worker with an M.F.A. in Film from Ohio University. His films, installations, performance and written work reflect his interest in the ways that people struggle to make personal sense out of random, impersonal events, and have been exhibited and published around the world. He is the writer/director of award-winning shorts Borders, Catching Fire and I Like My Boyfriend Drunk, the educational documentary How Will I Tell? Surviving Sexual Assault and “Chapter 4: Wiped Clean” in the collaborative exquisite corpse feature soulMaid. Other credits include writer/director of the feature film The Other One, line producer for Korean MBC Television’s feature-length movie More Beautiful Than A Flower; producer of the independent feature Rhapsody; general crew on Michael Moore’s Roger & Me and Wendy Weinberg’s Academy Award nominated documentary Beyond Imagining; sound installation designer 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.  His publications include editing Popular Culture and Philosophy volumes on Battlestar Galactica, Anime, Manga and Sherlock Holmes, contributing essays to books on Pink Floyd and The Transformers as well as writing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking and co-writing Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers.

 

DAVID TARLETON 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, 3Net, Fox, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Tokyopop, Mattel, Universal, Warner Brothers, Baby Einstein, Showtime and more. He is a producer and director of the upcoming stereoscopic 3D science fiction anthology TV series Dark Secrets, airing soon on cable channel 3Net. 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.

 

WENHWA TS’AO  Associate Professor, is the recipient of the Kodak Faculty Scholar Award, the Individual Artist Support Initiative Artists Fellowship, the Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Media Artist Fellowship, the Appalshop Southeast Media Program Fellowship. She has received grants from the City of Chicago Community Arts Program, the Columbia College Faculty Development Grant, and Ilford Imaging. Her shorts have screened in numerous film festivals including Palm Spring International ShortFest, Montreal World Film Festival, San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, Creteil Festival International de Film de Femmes, Vancouver International Film Festival, MadCat Women’s International Film Festival, Mill Valley International Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, Victoria Independent Film Festival, the Chicago Film Festival, and in festivals and showcases in China, Romania, Mexico, Ecuador, Korea, Africa, Iran, and the Netherlands. In 2011, Ts’ao was selected for the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women.  She currently has three works in progress. Ts’ao is completing a short sci-fi film in which the protagonist is a seven-year-old cyborg girl.  She is in development on a feature script inspired by the looting of Buddhist treasure along the Silk Road taking place between the years of 1885 to 1925. Adapting from a novel, Ts’ao is finishing a feature script explores the harshness and hypocrisy of immigration policies and procedures in the U.S. It gives a peek into the labyrinth of the human trafficking network and puts a human face to its casualties. www.wenhwatsao.com