FAVS Director Giovanna Chesler and Assistant Professor Hans Charles on the set of JAVA. (Photo by Dixie D. Vereen)
FAVS Director Giovanna Chesler and Assistant Professor Hans Charles on the set of JAVA. (Photo by Dixie D. Vereen)

Full-time Faculty

Giovanna Chesler, M.F.A., FAVS Director
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Photo by Evan Cantwell

Professor Chesler is the Director and Associate Professor in the Film and Video Studies Program and affiliated faculty in Women and Gender Studies and Film and Media Studies. Chesler is a Director and Producer of documentary and fiction film through her production company G6 Pictures. Giovanna’s new short film Java about an artist and her obsession with a coffee addict premiered at the Richmond International Film Festival this March. Java is a co-production of G6 Pictures and the Mason Film Lab. Giovanna worked with Zeinabu irene Davis on her feature documentary Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from UCLA documenting the first sustained independent movement of Black filmmakers in the USA and its beginnings at UCLA Film School. Spirits won Best Diaspora Documentary at the African Academy Awards and Best Documentary at Blackstar Film Festival in 2016. Giovanna recently produced the documentary feature Out in the Night (dorosh-walther, 2015) a co-production of Independent Television Service (ITVS) and CPB. Out in the Night was broadcast on PBS’ documentary showcase POV and the Logo network simultaneously and tells the story of four young African-American lesbian friends who became criminals for defending themselves. Giovanna’s previous films Period : The End of Menstruation a feature documentary on trends in pharmaceuticals that changed the meaning of menstruation, transmedia project Tune in HPV, the trilogy BeauteouS, and short documentary hand-some, have played in over 100 festivals in 15 countries. Giovanna’s scholarly publications include “Truth in the Mix: Frederick Wiseman’s Construction of the Observational Microphone” (Jump Cut, Fall 2012, "Collaborative Media Production, Authorship, and Distribution." (Issues in Engaged Scholarship: An Exploration of Community-Campus Collaborations. Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership & NYMAPS. New York, 2013 with Rebecca Mushtare,) “Re-Presenting Choice: Tune in HPV”, “Drop by Drop: Cinematic Menstrual Activism One Viewer At a Time” (Sex Roles, April 2011) a co-authored chapter on her Tune in HPV project published in Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010) with Bree Kessler, “The Audio First Classroom: A Sound Place for Engagement with Theory and Practice” (Jump Cut, 2007) on sound pedagogy in the video classroom. She earned an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State (Most Distinguished Graduate) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in Anthropology (with Highest Distinction) and a minor in Women’s Studies. Giovanna is an active member of Film Independent and University Film and Video Association.

M.F.A., San Francisco State University, Cinema

Associate Professor, Film and Video Studies

Director, Film and Video Studies

Contact

Building: College Hall, Room: C100D

Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30-3:30pm

Phone: (703) 993-6198

Courses

Spring 2017:

FAVS 450 - Internship in Film and Video Studies

FAVS 550 - Internship

Tommy Britt, M.F.A.
Tommy Britt has been a full-time teacher in Film and Video Studies since 2007 and was recognized by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence as a Teacher of Distinction and recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award.   Courses Created and Taught FAVS 280 Writing for the Moving Image (Traditional and Distance Learning sections) FAVS 300 Global Horror Film (fulfills Mason Core: Global Understanding Requirement) FAVS 352 Ethics of Film and Video (fulfills Mason Core: Synthesis Requirement) FAVS 365 Documentary Filmmaking I FAVS 375 Fiction Film Directing FAVS 399 Genre Studies: Film Comedy FAVS 470/598 TV Writing FAVS 483 Feature-Length Scriptwriting FAVS 496 Advanced Visual Storytelling Additional Courses (Co-Created and/or Taught) FAVS 470 Film and Video Screenwriting (Writing-Intensive Course) FAVS 498 Creative Producing and Development (Writing-Intensive Course) FAVS 499 Senior Project THR 482 Advanced Screenplay Workshop (Writing-Intensive Course) Recent Presentations  “Shared Monsters of Page & Screen,” ACLA Annual Meeting 2016, Harvard University http://www.acla.org/annual-meeting/meeting-schedule “Spectator Imputation in Classic & Cult Films,” Film-Philosophy Conference 2015, University of Oxford http://www.film-philosophy.com/conference/index.php/conf/FP2015

MFA, Ohio University, Script Writing, Documentary

Associate Professor, Film and Video Studies

Contact

Building: College Hall, Room: C102

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3 pm-4:00 pm

Phone: 703-993-1992

Email: tbritt@gmu.edu

Courses

Spring 2017

Summer 2017

 
Hans Charles, M.F.A.
h-charlesHans Charles started studying cinema at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center and worked for Tracey Edmonds (Soulfood, Set it Off) , Bridget Davis (Sister Act II, Hav Plenty) and Patrick Ian Polk (Punks, Noah’s Ark) at Edmonds Entertainment. After leaving Los Angeles, Mr. Charles pursued his MFA in film at Howard University’s School of Communication. While a graduate student, he produced his first feature Like Water, but developed an eye for cinematography. He has shot for a range of directors including Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay (Venus vs) and Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom, Sparkle) and has worked on several films including Entre Nos, Pariah, Middle of Nowhere, and Mother of George . They have screened at at festivals all over the world including, Urban World Film Festival, the New York City Latino Film Festival, OutFest, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Zanzibar Film Festival, the Black Star film festival, HBO and ESPN. Hans was a former professor of Cinematography at Howard University, and is currently working on BET network’s new television series The Start Up.
Amanda Kraus

kraus1Amanda has been teaching college-level courses for 13 years in video editing, sound recording and mixing and post-production.  Kraus participated in curriculum development at Columbia College of Hollywood and course development at George Mason University (as she expanded and honed our FAVS courses in editing: previously COMM 360 (now FAVS 260): Video Editing and FAVS 460: Advanced Video Editing.) Kraus' significant professional experience bolsters her teaching experience: 11 years serving as Senior editor / Senior Producer and Director at GMU-TV.

Kraus has managed the build and design of instructional Foley facilities (post-production sound recording), served as Assistant Engineer at

Paramount Recording Studios and Director of Post-Production Operations at Sonic Surgery. Her numerous television awards include seven Telly Awards, a Gracie Award, and Teacher of the Year at Columbia College Hollywood. Beyond her B.A. from Columbia College, Kraus earned a certificate from the Recording Engineer Program at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA where she also taught a Studio Basics course. She has taught an extensive range of courses, all of which will pertain directly to her teaching assignment in Film and Video Studies: Advanced Editing, Video Editing, Motion Graphics, Studio Basics (sound engineering), History of Film Editing, Producers Workshop, Principles of Editing, Video Production Workshop, ADR/Foley, Production Sound, Script Writing, Film Scoring, Final Cut Pro, AVID Editing, Sound Design, and Acting for Directors. Kraus has a BA in Film and Television from Columbia College, Hollywood.
Ben Steger, M.F.A.

Steger Bio copyProfessor Steger is a director and producer of documentary and fiction films. His films have screened internationally, receiving awards and critical praise. He teaches classes in fiction directing and documentary production, as well as the senior capstone courses in the Directing and Producing Concentration. He is the Concentration Head for the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Film and Video at Mason. He holds an M.F.A. in Film and Video Production from Columbia College Chicago and a B.A. in Theater and Film from the University of Kansas.

His most recent documentary, Stage Four: A Love Story, won the 2015 Award of Merit for Best Documentary Feature at the 69th Annual University Film and Video Association’s national conference and received an International Award of Excellence from the International Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion, and Visionary in Jakarta, Indonesia. His previous documentary feature, Left Field, was an official selection of the Austin Film Festival, the Kansas International Film Festival, and Dallas Videofest among many others. An article about the film was featured on the front page of the Chicago Reader, Chicago’s weekly alternative newspaper. The  Chicago Sun-Times reviewed the film favorably. Film critic Robert Butler featured Steger’s short fiction film, Great Bend, in the Kansas City Star as a “Critic’s Pick for Best of Festival” when it played at the Kansas City Filmmaker’s Jubilee in 2006.  Stewards of the Parks, a short documentary he directed and produced for Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication and the National Park Service, which was crewed by Mason Film and Video Studies students, won the 2015 award for Best Film in the Hope Category at the International Film Festival for Climate Change in Portland, Oregon while receiving honorable mentions in the Advocacy, Documentary, Educational, and Water categories . His short documentary, Shalom House, was an official selection at the 2008 Non Violence Film Festival in Cambridge, Canada. Steger created and has taught the Potomac Academy’s Film and Video Summer Camp for adolescents since the summer of 2012. In 2014, he was a nominated for a Teaching Excellence Award at Mason.  He has worked in varying capacities as an assistant director, actor, documentary cinematographer, and location sound recordist on hundreds of productions, including nationally broadcast films such as Standing Silent Nation, New Muslim Cool and The Calling. He is currently developing a new feature documentary as well as a short fiction film.
 
Lisa Thrasher, J.D., B.F.A.

Lisa Thrasher, J.D., is an Independent Film Producer, Entertainment Law Specialist and Film Professor at George Mason University.  Lisa earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, focusing on Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law and studied at Parsons School of Design and Virginia Commonwealth University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Film.

At POWER UP Films, Lisa was President of Film Production & Distribution conducting all Film, TV & PSA development, production and distribution, including:  “GIRLTRASH: All Night Long;” “ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE,” (Berlinale “Teddy Award” Nominee & South by Southwest “Best Narrative Feature Jury Award); “Get to Know Us First” PSA (NBC,ABC, CBS); “Little Black Boot,” (Sundance) “Billy’s Dad is a Fudge-Packer” (Sundance) and “DEBS,” (Sundance, Berlinale); and Stuck (Sundance.)

At 20th Century Fox, Lisa did International Anti-Piracy Litigation & Trademark Prosecution and Anti-Piracy Advocacy seated on the Motion Picture Association's International Anti-Piracy Committee with Sony, Universal, MGM, Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros where Lisa conducted negotiations with Foreign Heads of State, including Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, to protect the Studios’ Films. Also a Film Professor/Film Festival Panelist at: Chung Ang University in Seoul, Korea; The Goethe Institut in Johannesburg, South Africa and The South African Broadcasting Corp in Cape Town for Out in Africa; University at Buffalo; Ohio State University “Pop! Impact Forum;” Madrid’s Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; South by Southwest “Gender and Sexuality in Film;” and a Short Film Screener for the Sundance Film Festival.  Lisa also worked on documentaries for Producer Michael Paseornek, CEO/Founder of Lion’s Gate Films, and a Reality Television Producer on "Lunch Box Heros" (NBC) starring Leslie Nielson and "Open For Business" (PBS) starring Itzhak Perlman.

Adjunct and Affiliated Faculty

Samirah Alkassim, M.F.A.
Samirah Alkassim is an independent filmmaker, film scholar, and curator with published articles about Arab cinema and media appearing in such journals as New Cinemas Journal, Nebula, and Bidoun. She recently edited and introduced the English translation of The Dream – Diary of a Film, written by film director Mohamad Malas, American University in Cairo Press, 2016 and is currently an editor for a forthcoming book series on Arab cinemas published by Palgrave Macmillan . As an experimental and documentary filmmaker, her films include “Far From You” (1996) about Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum and memory, and a current work in progress documentary about Palestinian artists in Jordan, among various other experimental films and installations.  She has taught film studies and production in Singapore, Cairo, and the San Francisco Bay Area at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University and the American University in Cairo among other places; and recently served as co-chair of the Middle East Caucus group of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies organization. She currently works as Program & Communications Manager at The Jerusalem Fund for Education & Community Development, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, and curates screenings of independent and experimental Arab films at other venues (ISEA 2015, Sight Unseen). M.F.A. Cinema, San Francisco State University, 1996
Yi Chen, M.F.A.

chenYi Chen has a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Electronic Media from American University. She has produced digital media across platforms for organization include the United Nations, Times Square, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, MIT TechTV, Link TV, American Idol, Hillwood Museum, Voice of America, Asian Fortune Magazine and many others.

Chen’s films have screened at over 15 film festivals in the United States, Canada and China. She was named “Filmmaker of the Month” by District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in April 2013. NBC Washington recognized her “contributions and achievements in our community” in May 2014. Her films

have received a number of awards including two Peer Awards by TIVA-DC, Best Narrative Short by Our City Film Festival and Excellence Award by Trans-Pacific Youth Documentary Competition. Chen has spoken on topics include Asian cinema, documentary filmmaking and media literacy at International Media in Transition Conference, D.C. Historical Studies Conference, EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival, DC Shorts Film Festival, and East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference. Chen is currently working on a trans-media project as a 2014 Artist Fellow selected by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The project is an extension of her latest documentary “Chinatown,” which has screened across the country to advocate for low-income limited English proficient immigrants impacted by gentrification. The film has been featured on the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, National Public Radio, AsAm news, Public Asian, Montgomery Community Media, Arlington Independent Media, and Howard Community College Television. Prior to joining FAVS, Chen has taught at American University, Edmund Burke School, and Montgomery County public schools. Chen is a resident of Chevy Chase, Washington, DC.
Robert Farr, M.A.I.S.
farrRob Farr is the executive producer for Arlington TV, Arlington County's government cable channel and website. In his reel life, he has authored or co-authored articles on silent film and early film comedy and is acknowledged for contributions in several books on the subject. In 2003 he founded the Slapsticon, a four-day film festival celebrating silent and early sound comedies. The 10-year anniversary Slapsticon was hosted by Indiana University - Bloomington in June 2013. He is currently teaching History of World Cinema (FAVS 225) at George Mason.
Ziad Foty, M.F.A, M.Phil
Ziad Foty is an emerging independent filmmaker and film scholar. His films seek to highlight unrepresented stories in an effort to challenge the dominant representation in film. He holds a BA in English Literature and Film from Lafayette College, producing Pornified (2010) as his thesis, a documentary film examining racial taboos in pornography.  Additionally he holds an M. Phil in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin where he wrote a dissertation entitled “A New Group of Palestinian-American Films: Salt of this Sea and Contrarian Representations of the Homeland”. While in school Ziad continued to produce films such as The Strange Ways of the Occident (2013), an ethnographic documentary which chronicles the journey of a veiled woman to the land of the “Occident”.  This film was screened at the DC Palestinian Film Festival and the Alwan Film Festival. Ziad also holds an MFA in Film Production from Howard University where he produced The Renaissance Man (2016) as his senior thesis, a documentary exploring the fight of a native DC artist against gentrification. In addition, Ziad has written and produced short film Il Mahal (2016) about a teenage Arab American trapped in a family convenience longing for his missing father on his 18th birthday. Ziad has many ongoing projects such as Return to Ramallah, a documentary film capturing the epic return of his father back to his homeland after 40 years.
Cynthia Fuchs, Ph.D.
fuchsCynthia Fuchs is the director of Film & Media Studies at George Mason University. She is also Associate Professor of English, African and African American Studies, Film and Video Studies, and Sport and American Culture at Mason. Cynthia is the the film and TV editor at PopMatters.com.

Visit:

FAMS at GMU

FAMS on Facebook

FAMS on Twitter

Cynthia Fuchs at PopMatters

Lucy Gebre-Egziabher, M.F.A.
LGE headshot.jpgLucy Gebre-Egziabher is an award winning, independent filmmaker and a Fulbright Scholar who lives in Falls Church, VA.  She earned a MFA degree in Film from Howard University and a BS degree in Communications & International Relations from Wilson College. Lucy produced & directed narrative films as well as organizational videos under Teret Productions, a production company she founded in 1999.  She is an Assistant Professor at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus, in the Communication Studies & Theatre Department; she teaches Screenwriting, Film Directing as well as classes in Film History, Theory & Criticism. Lucy is currently co-writing a script for a feature film project that she will direct in Virginia. For more information on Lucy visit her faculty site: http://blogs.nvcc.edu/lgebre/ Email: lgebreeg@gmu.edu
Penny Tranette Hollis, M.F.A.
Susan Kehoe, D.A.

kehoeDr. Kehoe is Director of Educational Media Services and the Senior Executive Producer at GMU-TV. She serves on the board of directors of the Communications Media Management Association and has been inducted into the International Academy of Visual Arts. Kehoe is one of only a handful of individuals twice honored as one of the Top 100 Media Producers in the nation by AV Video Multimedia Producer Magazine.

Dr. Kehoe has won over three-dozen video awards including an Outstanding Individual Achievement Gracie award from the Alliance for Women in Media.

DA, 2000, George Mason University

Heather McDonald, M.F.A.
mcdonaldHeather McDonald (MFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts) is professor of theater and head of playwriting and dramaturgy concentration. McDonald’s plays include An Almost Holy Picture; When Grace Comes In; Dream of a Common Language; Available Light; The Rivers and Ravines; Faulkner’s Bicycle; The Two Marys; Rain and Darkness; and The Suppressed-Desire Ball. Her work has been produced on and off Broadway. Her most recent work, STAY, is the result of a 2-year collaboration with choreographer Susan Shields. STAY combines theatre, dance, music and SLAM multimedia projections. McDonald wrote the libretto for the opera, The End of the Affair. She has also directed many productions, most recently Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, a steampunk version of The Elephant Man, The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh and the world premiere of Two-Bit Taj Mahal by Paul D’Andrea. The production she directed of Dream of a Common Language was nominated for eight Helen Hayes Awards and won four, including Outstanding Resident Production. Her work has been honored with a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize and three NEA Playwriting Fellowships. She has written and sold two screenplays, Rocket 88 and Walking After Midnight and is at work on a new project for television, Gold.
Sam Meddis, M.A.I.S.

meddis-100x150Sam Meddis is an adjunct professor of Film and Video Studies. He is also an adjunct professor of Journalism at American University. He has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in video from George Mason University. In addition to video production, he studied film theory and the cinema of China and Japan.

Meddis is the former video team lead at USA TODAY, where he oversaw an award-winning group of video journalists and helped to develop a digital video strategy focused on expanding production and spreading visual-storytelling skills across the newsroom. He was previously a USA TODAY deputy managing editor, a role in which he helped oversee news coverage and operations of usatoday.com, coordinated training programs for print and online editorial staff, and supervised the editorial technology group.

He is a founding member both of usatoday.com and USA TODAY the newspaper. Beginning at the paper’s founding in 1982, he served as lead reporter covering the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. In 1995, he became founding technology editor for usatoday.com. His reporting has won a number of awards, including: a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, a Unity Award for Investigative Reporting from Lincoln University’s Department of Journalism, a Champion of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a public service award from Investigative Reporters & Editors.
Contact
KJ Mohr
KJ.jpgKJ Mohr has been working in film and electronic arts for over two decades as a curator, programmer, organizer, educator, filmmaker, and administrator. An independent consultant, she is currently Program Director for the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the country’s fourth largest queer film festival, which celebrates its 26th anniversary this fall. As Director of Film and Digital Media Programs at Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, she founded and organized the Charm City LGBT Film Festival, now heading into its fifth year. She is also a programmer for Baltimore’s WAMM Fest (Women and Minority Media Festival). Most recently KJ has curated programs for the Chicago Film Archive, Marymount College Manhattan, University of Maryland, Bangkok’s Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University and Syracuse University. She is a regular presenter for Cinema Sundays at the Charles Theater in Baltimore. She also works with WAMM Fest and the Maryland Film Festival in supportive capacities. Mohr works with curatorial partners and groups in such film programming endeavors as Discount Cinema in Chicago, Stateless Cinema in DC and Heartland Homos!. Her own film work and curated programs have appeared at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco and the Museum of Image and Sound in São Paulo, Brazil, among many other venues around the world. In the mid-2000’s KJ served as the first Curator of Film and Media Arts at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, prior to which she was the curator of Conversations at the Edge, a weekly visiting artist series at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago as Director of Public Programming in the Department of Film, Video and New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was also on the department’s faculty, teaching courses on independent curating, film festivals and microcinemas. She got her start with the extraordinary media arts and activist organization and film festival Women in the Director’s Chair in Chicago (1980-2005).
Richard Wood
woodRichard Wood is General Manager and Executive Producer at GMU-TV, with nearly two decades of experience crafting messages for screen as a Producer/Director/DP/Editor. In addition to his role at GMU-TV, Richard is also a Managing Partner at a boutique production company, Chalk Line Productions, who specialize in corporate communications and documentary.

Staff

Samantha Beach
Samantha Beach is the Office Manager for the Film and Video Studies Program. She has worked in various creative settings as a communications and marketing intern at Wolf Trap and as an art and technology teacher at a local private school in Northern Virginia. In addition, she has several years of experience managing offices and working as an administrative assistant. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Visual Technology with a concentration in Graphic Design from George Mason University.  
Rebekah Mejorado
mejorado-100x150Rebekah Mejorado is Assistant Program Director for the Film and Video Studies Program in George Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She began her career in the film office of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where she managed a year-around program of international independent films, including annual series of Latin American, Iranian, and Turkish film. She moved on to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York where she helped produce the 2009 and 2011 Native American Film + Video Festivals. At NMAI she also programmed daily screenings for adults and children and the annual Animation Celebration! program. Her higher education experience includes working in the admissions and enrollment office at Mercer University in Macon, GA and in the Visual Resource Center at George State University in Atlanta. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Art History with a concentration in Latin American Art from Georgia State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Arts Management at George Mason University.
Lori Yi, M.Ed.
yi-121x150Lori Yi is Academic Advisor and Admissions Coordinator for the Film and Video Studies Program. She has worked in several realms of university life as an advisor within career services, student involvement, first-year experience, and campus information. She is an active member of the Mason Academic Advising Network (MAAN)and the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Lori holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of Vermont and a B.A. in Human Development with minors in Ethnic Studies and Psychology from UC San Diego.

Student Workers

Andrew Jorgensen

hans-68-crop-u11402Andrew Jorgensen is a Junior in the Film and Video Studies Department.  He transferred to GMU from Columbia College Chicago in 2015.  Currently he is working towards completing his Bachelors Degree, focusing on Production and Post Production. He is an aspiring Cinematographer and Gaffer and is additionally pursing a minor in education and teaching.

 

Bldg: College Hall, Room C100