Andrew Ahn - Instructor for Acting and Directing
Andrew Ahn is a queer Korean-American filmmaker born and raised in Los Angeles. His feature film SPA NIGHT premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance. The film also won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Independent Spirit Awards. Ahn participated in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab, and the Film Independent Directing Lab for the film.
Ahn is an alum of Film Independent’s Project Involve and has promoted diversity in the arts by mentoring youth filmmakers through programs like Pacific Arts Movement’s Reel Voices and Outfest’s OutSet. He is also a board member of Los Angeles Performance Practice. He graduated from Brown University and received an MFA in Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Tanuj Chopra - Instructor for Acting and Directing Workshop
Tanuj Chopra is a filmmaker from the Bay Area with projects stretching out to Uganda, New Delhi, New York and Los Angeles where he currently lives. His first feature film PUNCHING AT THE SUN about South Asian teenagers coming of age in post 9/11 Queens premiered at the 2006 Sundance and Tribeca film festivals and won the grand jury prize at the San Francisco International Asian American Film festival. Variety called the fiery debut “a display of talent that's distinctive, original and iconoclastic.”
Tanuj's recent award winning feature titles GRASS and CHEE AND T were both acquired in 2017 by genre leader Comedy Dynamics. CHEE AND T premiered at 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival where it won a jury prize for comedy. The buddy comedy went on to screen at Urbanworld, San Diego Asian American film festival (Best Picture) Cinequest, Outfest, Omaha, Atlanta, CAAMfest and the LA Asian American film fest. Grass also screened at CAAMfest, LA Asian American film fest and the Austin Asian American film festival where it won best picture.
Other award winning titles he's directed include BUTTERFLY, CLAP CLAP, ITVS Futurestates films TEACHER IN A BOX and PIA. He is the co-writer, director, and editor of the popular episodic female comedy mini-series NICE GIRLS CREW starring Sheetal Sheth, Michelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen. He also directed the Benny Lava music video for rap-boy band Swetshop Boys with Prashant Bhargava.
Chopra holds a BA in Art Semiotics from Brown University and an MFA in film direction from Columbia University where he was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship. He was recently selected to the Fox Global Filmmaker Initiative and owns the title of most screened artist at the LA Asian American Film Festival. Alongside teaching he runs his industrial production outfit Chops Films dedicated to creating innovative branded content.
Alison Crouse - Associate Program Director
Alison Crouse is the Associate Program Director of Los Angeles Study Away. She received her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University, and her BFA in Photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
Alison’s creative work aims to personalize the experiences of abstract struggle. Her current documentary production, My Cells are Red Bananas, follows eight-year-old Sakaiyah and her battle with sickle cell anemia.
Having traveled extensively for school, work, and pleasure, Alison is motivated by the power of artistic and cultural exchanges. She is passionate about the potential for study away programs to expand the educational possibilities of students through intellectual engagement embedded within experiential opportunities.
firstname.lastname@example.org Office: Annenberg Hall room #14F.
Sonja Bertucci - Instructor for LA Plays Itself
Sonja Bertucci is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and scholar. She has an MFA in Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts as well as a PhD in French Literature and Film Studies from UC Berkeley. Originally from France, she has taught at numerous institutions of higher learning in the US (including UC Berkeley, Duke University, Miami University, and Concordia College). At Berkeley, her dissertation, entitled "Proust and Godard through the Lens of Intermediality," examines how Proust and Godard address the expressivity of their own medium in relationship to other modes of representation, situating these two artists within a larger history of intermedial aesthetics from Horace’s ut pictura poesis to Lessing’s Laocoön to more recent aesthetic discourses (Merleau-Ponty, Badiou, Rancière). In dialogue with her academic research, her films take a poetic-experimental approach to documentary filmmaking and have focused so far on the question of ephemerality, representations of grief and loss, and the struggle for personal and communal survival within a web of geopolitical events that diminish possibilities for agency. She just completed her first feature-length documentary entitled Stranger from Within, a personal and political film about Serbian culture in Kosovo, which was pre-screened to general acclaim at the RedCat Theater in Los Angeles.
Anthony Carfello is trained as an artist, engages as a writer and editor, and has worked as Deputy Director at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood, California since 2009, where he curates exhibitions in the Center’s landmark modernist buildings and runs the international artists and architects-in-residence program. In each capacity, his work uses tourism and corporate franchising to understand physical locations and identify their respective places on the spectrum of globalization. He studied at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Iowa.
Karin Chien - Instructor for Art of the Sell
Karin Chien is an independent film producer and distributor based in Los Angeles and New York. Karin is the 2010 recipient of the Independent Spirit Producers Award and the producer of ten independent feature films, including STONES IN THE SUN (2012), JACK AND DIANE (2012), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011), THE EXPLODING GIRL (2009), THE MOTEL (2005) and ROBOT STORIES (2002). Her films have won over 100 festival awards, been nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Films Festivals, and received distribution in over 30 countries. Karin is the founder/president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent cinema from mainland China, and the creator/director of the Center for
Asian American Media (CAAM) Fellowship, a mentoring program for emerging Asian American media professionals.
Amy Olk - Summer Faculty Director, Internship Director
Internship Director and instructor Amy Olk is an MFA graduate of Temple's Film and Media Arts program. After completing her MFA in 2005, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Romania, where she spent a year documenting the lives of children transitioning out of state-run institutions into foster homes. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to continue working in documentary production while enjoying the city's excellent weather, creative energy and abundant hiking trails. She has recently worked as a producer on the independent feature documentaries Harmony (Sundance 2012, NBC) and A Nuclear Family, as well as a producer and camera operator on numerous TV series for A&E, HGTV, WE tv, Discovery, and PBS. She has been working with Temple's Study Away Program since 2011.
As an undergraduate student, Amy majored in French literature and studied abroad in Dijon, France for two years. She later moved to Bosnia to volunteer in humanitarian aid, where she met several documentary filmmakers who inspired her to learn the craft. Her first job in the "industry" was at the public television station in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where she hired an intern who is still working at the station today. She has traveled to Cuba to research the film and television industry, led video workshops for youth in the West Indies, Philadelphia, and Romania, and worked on a reality show about sextuplets in Los Angeles. Having taken several detours in her own career, she loves helping students explore the many opportunities that the entertainment industry has to offer, while providing guidance to help them make the most of their Los Angeles experience.
Lou Pepe - Faculty Director; Instructor for Entertainment Industry Perspectives,
Acting and Directing Workshop
Lou Pepe directs both documentary and fiction films, among them Lost in La Mancha (2002), shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary and winner of the Evening Standard’s Peter Sellers Award for Best Comedy; Brothers of the Head (2006), winner of the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature; and Malkovich’s Mail (2003), an original documentary special for AMC. His most recent documentary feature The Bad Kids premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize for Verité Filmmaking in the U.S. Documentary Competition and subsequently went on to screen at international film festivals and national PBS broadcast. The Bad Kids is currently part of a national outreach campaign to bring greater awareness and support to public education and drop-out prevention programs. Pepe holds a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Humanities from M.I.T. and an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University. He is a fellow of the Sundance Institute's Feature Film Directors Lab and Documentary Film Program. He has collaborated with co-director Keith Fulton for over 20 years. As Low Key Pictures they have received commissions from the Gates and Participant Foundations to create documentary programming about public education, including The New Teacher Experience (WNET, 2012) and the web-series I Am Education (2013). Pepe’s interest in education also extends to practice, and he serves as the Faculty Director of Temple University’s L.A. Study-Away program for aspiring young entertainment industry professionals. He is currently at work on a documentary follow-up to Lost in La Mancha, following director Terry Gilliam through his 27-year odyssey to film a screen adaptation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
Kelly Thomas - Instructor for Art of the Sell; Internships
Kelly Thomas is an independent producer and co-founder of Extraordinary Renditions, a media development and production company. Thomas received a 2017 Film Independent Spirit Award as a producer for Andrew Ahn’s Spa Night, a feature that premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and played festivals worldwide. Thomas has produced seven feature films and has worked with acclaimed directors Rodrigo Garcia, Phedon Papamichael, Robin Swicord, and Brad Silberling.
Previously, Thomas was the Producer-in-Residence for Film Independent’s Artist Development programs where she produced branded entertainment for Vanity Fair and Lincoln Motors and managed labs for writers, directors, producers, and documentary filmmakers. Thomas also served as VP of JuntoBox Films’ Incubator Initiative. Prior to her work in the film industry, Thomas taught college English courses and was employed in the financial sector at Standard & Poors. She has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Virginia.