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Hollins University
Graduate Center
PO Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
(540) 362-6288 (Fax)

Screenwriting & Film Studies faculty

Tim Albaugh
Program Director

Tim Albaugh is a writer/producer, and a graduate of the U.C.L.A. M.F.A. screenwriting program. Tim has taught screenwriting at U.C.L.A., U.C. - Irvine, Hollins University, Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Feature Animation. As a writer, he has sold or optioned scripts to various studios and production companies. He wrote the film Trading Favors, starring Rosanna Arquette, Devon Gummersall, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The original screenplays Weasel (by Steve Bagatourian) and Croak (by Rich Davis) were written in Tim's classes and subsequently set up as co-productions between Popular Films, Hudson River Entertainment, and Echo Lake Productions. Some of Tim's other students have sold scripts to numerous studios, producers and production companies including John Cusack's New Crime Productions, The Coen Brothers, Michael Bay, Wendy Finerman, Nickelodeon Films, Gough/Millar, New Regency Productions, HBO, Mandalay Entertainment, Showtime, Lifetime and all the major television networks. The film, The Machinist, starring Christian Bale, was written by Scott Kosar in Tim's U.C.L.A. class. The latest film written in one of Tim's classes to be produced is Balls to the Wall written by Jason Nutt and directed by Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World). In November 2011, Tim was named Director of the Hollins Graduate Program in Screenwriting and Film Studies.

Hal Ackerman Hal Ackerman has been on the faculty of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television since 1985 and is currently co-area head of the screenwriting program. His book, Write Screenplays That Sell…The Ackerman Way, is in its third printing, and is the text of choice in a growing number of screenwriting programs around the country. He has had numerous short stories published in literary journals including North Dakota Review, New Millennium Writings, Southeast Review, The Pinch, The Yalobusha Review. "Roof Garden" won the Warren Adler 2008 award for fiction and "Alfalfa," was included in the anthology, I Wanna Be Sedated…30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers. "Walk Through" is among Southeast Review’s World’s Best Short Shorts of 2010. His short story "The Dancer Horse" received a Pushcart Nomination in 2011. Testosterone: How Prostate Cancer Made a Man of Me was the recipient of the William Saroyan Centennial Prize for drama. Under its new title, Prick, it won Best Script at the 2011 United Solo Festival. His first novel, Stein, Stoned (Tyrus Books) came out in 2010. Stein, Stung followed in March 2012.
Reza Allamehzadeh Reza Allamehzadeh, Iranian filmmaker released from political imprisonment after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and living in exile in the Netherlands since 1982, has been writing and publishing novels and short stories in his native Farsi and making a number of films, including 10 documentaries for Dutch television, a feature-length film, and several shorts for children.
Marc Arneson Marc Arneson is a produced writer of shorts and feature films. He has been a visiting professor in the U.C.L.A. M.F.A. Screenwriting program and currently teaches in the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting. As a graduate of the U.C.L.A. M.F.A. screenwriting program, Marc was awarded the Jack Nicholson Prize, The Harmony Gold Screenwriting Award and the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in writing. As a winner of the Showtime/Tony Cox Screenwriting Award at the Nantucket Film Festival, he was selected as writer-in-residence at their prestigious Screenwriters Colony. Marc has developed, optioned and sold scripts across diverse media including internet shorts for the Game Show Network; a half-hour pilot at Fox Television Animation and the feature film Just Peck.
Edward Buscombe Edward Buscombe was educated in England and was Head of Publishing at the British Film Institute for over twenty years. A leading authority on the Western, Buscombe is the author of numerous books on the Western, horror films, and British television. He has delivered guest lectures and conducted seminars at a number of major universities, including Brown, Columbia, London, Northwestern, Oxford, Toronto, and Yale.
John E. Davidson directs the Ohio State University Film Studies Program, and is Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. He teaches course in film theory and history, as well as German culture, arts, and intellectual history from 1850 to the present. His publications include The Father of the Other German Cinema (monograph on Ottomar Domnick, in progress); Framing the Fifties: Film in a Divided Germany (Berghahn, co-edited with Sabine Hake); Deterritorializing the New German Cinema (U Minn Press); a forthcoming special edition of Studies in European Cinema on “aesthetics and European film studies”; and, articles on topics ranging from cinema and ecology to representations of the radical right in Germany to the literature of Sudanese author Tayeb Salih to a short history of the garden gnome. He is currently developing a project entitled “Calling, Cars, Kino: Mobilizing Labor in German Cinema.”
Seth Michael Donsky Seth Michael Donsky is an award-winning independent filmmaker and freelance journalist. His debut feature film, Twisted, premiered at the 47th Annual Berlin International Film Festival. He garnered a great deal of praise for his 2009 high-profile cover features for The New York Press “The Trouble with Safe Sex,” and “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” As an actor he most recently appeared in Fire Island Repertory Theatre’s 2008 revival of Sordid Lives. Seth holds an M.F.A. in film from Columbia University.
Doris Dorrie Doris Dörrie, among Germany’s most acclaimed filmmakers, is a regular visiting professor at Hollins. She is a graduate of the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film in Munich. Among her films are Kirschblüten (aka Cherry Blossoms, 2008), Bin ich schön? (aka Am I Beautiful?, 1998), Happy Birthday, Türke! (aka Happy Birthday!, 1991), and Männer (aka Men, 1985). Dörrie is also an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, and books for children.
Kelly Fullerton Kelly Fullerton is the executive story editor for MTV's hit comedy Awkward season two. She was previously a staff writer for Awkward season one. Kelly received her M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA as part of the televison show runner track. At UCLA, Kelly was the recipient of the Sidney Sheldon award for her feature script Always a Bridesmaid, and she won the Zaki Gordon Award for her feature Clarity. She was also a UCLA showcase finalist as well as a UCLA Humanitas finalist for her one-hour dramedy Maudlin. Kelly studied theatre at UC San Diego and got her bachelor's degree with an emphasis in acting and directing. She went on to work for La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, and The Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Geoff Geib Geoff Geib received his M.F.A. in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. After graduating, he worked as a staff writer during the final two seasons of the television show Medium, and later sold an original pilot entitled Happy Accidents to CBS Paramount. The script was developed at TNT with Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator of Moonlighting. Geoff's IMDb page also proudly lists the PA work he did on Gilda Radner’s Greatest Moments from 2002 and his dramatic turn as the 'Lightswitch Guy' in the hopefully never seen independent film Ante Up.
Amy Gerber-Stroh Amy Gerber-Stroh, associate professor of film at Hollins; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, School of Film/Video. Amy’s films have won honors at numerous film festivals and professional venues, including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Film Forum, Los Angeles, and Women In the Director's Chair, Chicago. Amy also directed films for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1993 to 1996. She has had significant professional film experience in Hollywood and New York, working on several movie features by Roger Corman as well as casting 12 major motion pictures including The Mask of Zorro (Columbia Pictures), Goldeneye (MGM), Afterglow (Sony Pictures Classics), Tank Girl (United Artists) and Angels In The Outfield (Disney). Gerber-Stroh’s latest documentary, My Grandfather Was a Nazi Scientist: Opa, von Braun and Operation Paperclip, was selected for several film festivals and honorary screenings during the 2010-12 film festival circuit. Venues include the 17th Annual Independent’s Film Festival, The German-American Heritage Museum, The Education Channel, and a premiere invitation at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., presented by the Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film. Amy is currently collaborating with award-winning filmmaker Ross Spears on a three-part series for PBS called The Truth About Trees: A Natural and Human History to be aired nationally during the 2013-14 broadcast season. Gerber-Stroh is also chair of the film department at Hollins.
Joe Gilford Joe Gilford has been a writer, producer, and director in theater, film, and television. His 2013 off-Broadway play Finks was nominated for the Drama Desk Outstanding Play and the Off-Broadway Alliance Best New Play. He is the screenwriter of the upcoming fact-based feature, Kalimantan and will be co-writing Bert & I: Tales of Maine with director Michael Pressman. Joe is a 2011 recipient of the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation playwriting grant for Danny's Brain, his new play on football concussions. Joe's plays have been produced in New York and regionally. His book, You Call THAT a Screenplay?!, will be published in 2015 by Michael Wiese Books. He is the winner of a New York Emmy Award for his documentary work on public TV. He has taught screenwriting since 1999 at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts' Undergraduate Film and TV program. He has taught at Hollins since 2009 and has been a guest lecturer and teacher of screenwriting at many other institutions including Columbia University and Montclair State University.
Niam Itani Niam Itani is an award winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and documentary producer. Her films have screened at film festivals all over the word including the 2012 Venice Film Festival. She served as a programs producer for five years at Aljazeera Satellite Network in Doha, Qatar and has taught screenwriting at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
Dave Johnson Dave Johnson is both a graduate of the Professional Program in Screenwriting and the M.F.A. Screenwriting Program at UCLA. He was the recipient of both the Jack Nicholson Award in Screenwriting and the Harmony Gold Award of Excellence. Along with being a produced television writer, Dave has sold and developed feature films for Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and New Regency.
Jon Klein Jon Klein, M.F.A. in Film and Television, U.C.L.A., is a professional writer whose work has been seen on both stage and television. The author of twenty produced plays, he adapted his play, T Bone N Weasel, for a film on the TNT network, starring Gregory Hines and Christopher Lloyd. His stage adaptation of the children’s classic, Bunnicula, is scheduled for a national tour, including the Kennedy Center. He teaches screenwriting and playwriting at Catholic University.
Mari Kornhauser Mari Kornhauser, a U.C.L.A. Film School graduate. She has written and co-produced Zandalee, starring Nicholas Cage, and The Last Ride, starring Mickey Rourke. Kornhauser has also written on assignment for 20th Century Fox, Tri-Star, and others. Her debut feature, Housebound (2000), which she wrote and directed, has won awards at film festivals around the world. She divides her time between Los Angeles and New Orleans.
Weiko Lin In film, Weiko Lin has written a dramatic feature for The Mark Gordon Company (2012) and Good Worldwide, Inc (The Messenger). He also has a comedy with Madhouse Entertainment (The Bounty Hunter, Safehouse) attached to produce. Currently, Weiko is developing a German crime thriller remake with Atlas Entertainment (The Dark Night). A Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award recipient and a Nicholl Fellow Finalist, Weiko was most recently on full-time faculty at Northwestern University's M.F.A. Writing for the Stage and Screen Program. As a Fulbright Senior Specialist, he has also taught M.F.A. screenwriting at Taipei National University of the Arts. As a producer, Weiko wrapped production in October on a Chinese romantic comedy directed by Emmy winning Henry Chan ("The B. in Apt. 23," "Scrubs," "King of Queens"). It is slated for an August 2013 release in Asia.
Christa Maerker Christa Maerker, Berlin filmmaker, journalist, film critic, and author. She has been writing screenplays and has shot 50 documentaries for television since the early 1970s. Maerker has worked with the Berlin Film Festival since 1979. Her most recent book is Marilyn Monroe und Arthur Miller: Eine Nahaufnahme (close-up).
Matt Marshall Matt Marshall is a visiting assistant professor of film at Hollins and a film lecturer at the University of Virginia where he teaches courses on film history, theory, and genre studies. He has been composing and performing live music for classic silent films for over 10 years with the Virginia Film Festival as well as other festival venues. In November, 2011 Matt performed his new score for the Turner Classic Movies and Library of Congress presentation of Buster Keaton's The General, at the Virginia Film Festival. Also in November, Matt's screenplay The Portrait, won the grand prize for best horror script at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. In April 2012 his paper "Through the Looking Glass Genre: a look at unreliable narrators in film," will be presented at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Stephanie Moore Stephanie Moore received her M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA. She won the Harve Bennett "Written By" Prize in Screenwriting, and the Harmony Gold Screenwriting Award. She has taught in the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting since 2001 to the present and was a guest lecturer at Pixar University in 2002. Stephanie co-wrote Life-Size starring Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan, an original movie for ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney," and also received "story by" credit. She was hired by Disney to co-write Life-Size 2.
Stephen Prince, professor of communication studies, Virginia Tech; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication. His interest areas include film criticism and history, with special interests in Japanese cinema and American Westerns. His books include Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film (Allyn And Bacon, 1997), Visions of Empire: Political Imagery in Contemporary American Film (Praeger, 1992), and The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa (Princeton University Press, 1991). Two new books on cinema of Sam Peckinpah will soon appear from University of Texas and Cambridge University Presses. He is past president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the world’s largest organization of film scholars, academics, students and professionals.
Lawrence C. Ross, Jr. Lawrence C. Ross, Jr., an important writer of African-American literature, has written five books, including The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities; The Ways of Black Folks: A Year in the Life of a People; Money Shot: The Wild Nights and Lonely Days in the Black Porn Industry; Friends With Benefits; and Skin Game. The Divine Nine is a multiple Los Angeles Times, Essence, and Blackboard best seller. In both hard cover and trade paper, The Divine Nine is in its seventh printing with over 50,000 copies sold to date. It also remains on the Amazon.com African-American studies best sellers list, and for the past year has been the #1 best selling book among African-American college students. His novels Friends With Benefits and Skin Game were also Blackboard best sellers. Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles, Ross received a Bachelor of Arts in History from U.C.L.A. Ross also received a Master of Fine Arts from the U.C.L.A. School of Theater, Film and Television. Ross has lectured at over four hundred universities, as he is universally recognized as the leading expert in the field of African-American fraternities and sororities. He regularly appears on National Public Radio, and has been interviewed by Ebony, Essence, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Root.com, The Grio.com, and the BBC, among others. Ross began his writing career in the mid 90s as the managing editor of Rap Sheet magazine, the West Coast’s first hip hop publication. After two years of writing about hip hop and interviewing the top stars in music, Ross moved to the Los Angeles Independent Newspapers, where he covered local politics in Westwood, Culver City, Hollywood and West Hollywood, for three years. Ross currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife April and their twelve-year old son Langston.
Laura Shamas Laura Shamas, Ph.D., is a screenwriter, an award-winning playwright, and a film consultant. In a chapter in her new book We Three: The Mythology of Shakespeare's Weird Sisters (Peter Lang, 2007), she traces the impact of female trios in contemporary movies as related to folklore and mythology. She's taught screenwriting at Pepperdine University (Malibu) and instructed screenwriters in UCLA Extension's Writing Program. Shamas has consulted on eight movies in the past five years. Her dramatic writing textbook, Playwriting for Theatre, Film, and Television, was published in 1991 (Betterway). With Jon Klein, she was awarded a 2006-2007 Aurand Harris Fellowship from the Children's Theatre Foundation of America to write a holiday play based on folklore and myth.
John Sweet John Sweet has been teaching screenwriting at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television since 2007. His script, The Affair of the Necklace, which he completed while a graduate student in the M.F.A. screenwriting program at UCLA, was made into a 2001 feature film starring Hilary Swank, Christopher Walken, and Adrien Brody. He has also sold and written other feature scripts for Warner Brothers, Sony and Disney Studios. Prior to entering the M.F.A. program, John was a working TV writer. Apart from writing network assignments, he was under contract for two years as a staff writer for RHI Entertainment’s development division. His television credits include the original pilot Braxton for RHI Entertainment, episodes of RHI’s Learning the Ropes and Fox's Mr. President, as well as the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies of the week Face to Face (for CBS) and The Great Elephant Escape (for ABC). In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA, John also teaches working professionals enrolled in the film school's growing Professional Program.
Ben Taylor Ben Taylor is a writer and an M.F.A. graduate of UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. In his first year at UCLA, he won the Showcase Award for television writing for his sitcom script PCU: Petty Crimes Unit; he won again the following year for his drama script Lifers, which was optioned in 2010. His feature-length script, At First Blush, was optioned in 2012. Ben has also worked on many television productions including The CW’s Reaper, ABC’s Eastwick, SyFy’s Eureka and Animal Planet's Pet Star. Of all those shows, he can say with absolute certainty the most difficult cast member was the skiing squirrel. Ben has also served as a noted columnist and editor for the alternative newsweekly, Nashville Scene.
Bradley Wigor is a writer, director, and producer, living and working in Los Angeles and Toronto. His most recent independent film premiered 2007 at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and his Emmy Award-winning film for the Showtime Network, The Sandy Bottom Orchestra, based on the book by Garrison Keillor and Jenny Lind Nilsson, was nominated for the Humanitas Prize. Wigor’s other work in television has received numerous awards including the Emmy, the Humanitas Prize, Chicago Film Festival, Ohio State, and National Education Association Awards. For his film, Love in the Dark Ages, Wigor was also nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award.