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School of Motion Pictures & Television Faculty

Jana Sue Memel

Executive Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Jana Sue Memel is an Academy Award-winning producer and writer. She has produced over 25 movies. In addition, she has produced over 65 half-hour, live action shorts that have played as television series in more than 30 countries, been nominated for 11 Oscars, and won three.

Jana began her career as an agent for emerging writers, representing Dean Pitchford (Footloose), Tom Hedley (Flashdance) and Evan Katz (24). Shifting into production Jana was the head of both Michael and Kirk Douglas's Production Companies. Her debut film as a producer was Tough Guys, starring, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Eli Wallach and Dana Carvey. Among her other feature credits is So I Married An Axe Murderer, starring Mike Meyers.

Jana founded Chanticleer Films which produced the Academy Award winning Discovery Program and Directed By series for Showtime. These series also won Emmys, Director and Writer Guild Awards and were nominated three years in a row for Best Series on Cable.

Discovery and Directed by Films launched the directing careers of Danny Glover, Margaret Cho, Jessie Nelson, Laura Dern, Griffin Dunne, Rob Lowe, and Helen Mirren along with over 60 other directors. These films have starred the likes of Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, LL Cool J, Robert Downey Junior, Kiefer Sutherland, Bill Macy and Shia LaBeouf.

Outside of these series, Eric McCormick tapped Jana to produce his first directing effort, Pirates. Tobey Maguire asked Jana to partner as a producer on Kevin Connolly's (Entourage) directing debut, Whatever We Do starring Robert Downey Jr. and Amanda Peet.

At Chanticleer, Jana produced 18 television films, including: Gold Coast (starring David Caruso and Marg Helgenberger, from the best-selling Elmore Leonard novel) for Showtime; Everything That Rises (starring Mare Winningham and Dennis Quaid, which also marked Quaid's directing debut) for Turner; The Emmy Award winning Lush Life (starring Jeff Goldblum, Forrest Whitaker and Kathy Baker), and Down Came a Blackbird (starring Vanessa Redgrave, Raoul Julia and Laura Dern) for Showtime; Tru Confessions (starring Shia LaBeouf) for the Disney Channel, and Going to the Mat (starring Andrew Lawrence) for the Disney Channel which was the recipient of the 2004 DGA Award for Best Television Family Film and nominated for the 2004 Humanitas Prize.

In addition to producing, Jana wrote and directed Champion, a feature length documentary based on the life of Evander Holyfield and his quest to unify the three major Heavyweight belts. She has also directed "wrap around" sequences for Showtime's On The Edge and the Oscar De Lay Hoya episode of Fox Sport's Beyond the Glory. For SET Pay Per View, Memel created, Ask Sylvia Browne, a record setting special interest pay-per-view event. As a public service, Memel recently produced over 20 alerts, announcements and commercials (as well as a 3D Music Video and motion control ride) for the Los Angeles Metro Transit System.

As a script consultant Jana, has worked with Patricia Resnick, (9 to 5), Gina Wendkos, (Princess Diaries), Jon Gordon (American Hustle), Chris Moore (American Pie), Clare Kilner (The Wedding Date) and a long list of other writers and directors.

As a writer, Jana has adapted Faultline for ABC Family based on the YA novel and Ruby Fruit Jungle for PRN Productions, In The Middle for director Chris Moore and Alona for producer Craig Franklin. She has done extensive rewrites on Life and Death at 17 for Hoggswood. She also has worked as an additional writer on a pilot for Fox and features at New Line, Warners, Disney, Universal, and Revolution Studios.

Jana received B.A.s from Pitzer College in Sociology and History and graduated with honors from USC Law School. She began her career as a literary agent first at the Gersh Agency and then at ICM. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Writer's Guild.

Kenn Ferro

Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Kenn Ferro has 30 years of experience in cinematography. His film credits include The Prophecy and The Opposite of Sex. Television work includes Desperate Housewives, Cosmos, and ER. He also lensed the ultra-high-speed cinematography for the Clio award-winning Sony Bravia "SuperBall" spot, featuring 750,000 bouncy balls unleashed onto the streets of San Francisco. He has worked with musicians Santana, Los Lonely Boys, Cypress Hill, and many others. He has served on the Board of Governors of The Society of Operating Cameramen and is a Member of the American Society of Lighting Designers.

Jess Kreusler

Online Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Jess Kreusler joined Wild at Heart Films as Creative Executive in 2009, developing feature screenplays and television series including projects with Martin Scorsese, three-time Oscar-winner Mark Harris, and Richard Donner. Before becoming Online Director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television, Jess served as Online Coordinator since 2012.

James Egan

Executive Director, Immersive Technology and Short Term Programming

James Egan is an award-winning writer-producer whose documentary Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is currently being filmed in association with Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions. With best-selling author Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer and the TV series Bosch), he recently produced the feature documentary Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story. Working with Participant Media, James produced Angels in the Dust, which won the Amnesty International VARA Award for Social Justice. He also teamed up with writer-director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) to executive produce the award-winning Kimjongilia, which premiered at Sundance.

James began his film career working with director John Waters. He has sold feature screenplays to Fox, Disney, Paramount and Sony. James began his television writing career at the BBC and received his first break in American television by selling a story to Remington Steele. With Barbara De Fina and Martin Scorsese, he developed and sold a TV series, The 12, to the SyFy channel.

James is a vested member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). He is a national advocate for educating wounded veterans and has been honored by the Marine Corps for the educational programs he created at the Wounded Warrior facilities at Camp Pendleton and Camp 29 Palms. Before becoming Executive Director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television, James served as Online Director since 2012.

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Elan Santiago

Technical Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Elan Santiago has over 35 years of experience in the Motion Pictures, Photography and Television industry.  A native of Havana, Cuba, Elan graduated with honors from the University of Havana, Cuba, and went on to receive a Professional Merit Scholarship to the Paris National Audio-Visual Institute for his Masters.  As a Director and Director of Photography, he has worked for the National Cuban Radio and Television Network, Babylon Films, Ramon Suarez, and the National Audio-Visual Institute, among others.  Some of his past photography clients include KDTV, the Miami Herald, Emerson USA, Medical Tribune Magazine, and David Starr Make-Up.  He has worked at Academy of Art University for nearly 28 years where he has taught Studio Lighting and MFA GDS in addition to guest lecturing at Kun Shan University in Taiwan.

Curran G. Engel

Producing Track Head, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Curran G. Engel began working in the motion picture industry in 1988. He has worked on more than 400 productions including independent and studio films, commercials, documentary, corporate image films and music videos. Curran expertly guides students through project development and fundraising to exhibition, with particular emphasis in project management and specialized industry practices.

Curran’s credits include: Executive Producer – Tectonic Entertainment – Art School of Horrors; Special Thanks – Dead and Breakfast; Line Producer – This Space Between Us, Tryst and The Demon Within (a.k.a The Sculptress); First Assistant Director – Cherish, Ralph Ellison: An American Journey and Heartwood.

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Jack Perez

Lead Directing Faculty, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Jack Perez has directed over a dozen feature films. His latest is a World War 2 adventure-comedy being produced by Ben Stiller. His movies include the indie hits Some Guy Who Kills People (produced by John Landis), La Cucaracha (Winner Best Feature Austin Film Festival), and The Big Empty (Winner AFI Film Fest Best New Writer). He is also the writer/director of the modern cult classic Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus; directed Wild Things 2 for Sony Columbia and wrote/directed Monster Island for MTV. He is also the director/creator of the hit Adult Swim video game, Polar Bear Payback.

His television directing credits include the pilot for Xena: Warrior Princess; episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys; the hit reality series Temptation Island and Last Comic Standing; and the made-for-television movies, Unauthorized: Brady Bunch, The Final Days and The Mary Kay Letourneau Story.

A member of the DGA & WGA, he is the recipient of awards for both writing and directing and has received the critical praise of Roger Ebert, Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News, Fangoria magazine, Film Threat, The LA Weekly, the Austin Chronicle and the New York Times.

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Alfred Pollard

Set Design Manager, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Since 1976, Alfred Pollard has been designing and constructing sets for stage, television, and film. Currently, Pollard is designing a set for Shorgun Player's The Miser by Moliere. Some of Pollard's career highlights include work on an independent film called The Californians, in which he helped coordinate construction of a set with a $100,000 budget. Ultimately, the film went on to earn $10,000,000. Pollard was also an Art Director at the Sundance Film festival, where he designed three main sets and graphics for locations.

Stuart Thomas

Graduate New Student Coordinator, School of Motion Pictures & Television and Online Coordinator, School of Writing for Film, Television, & Digital Media

A teacher, writer, actor and director, Stuart Thomas has extensive experience in the motion picture, television and theater arts. Additionally, he is an experienced musician and composer for productions, an author of numerous articles on arts-related subjects, and the former playwright-in-residence at the Citizens Theater in Glasgow, Scotland. He has been an Acting instructor at Academy of Art University since 2009. Previous to joining the Academy, Stuart was a Music and Drama Specialist for the Scottish Opera For All. Stuart is currently the Graduate
New Student Coordinator for the School of Motion Pictures & Television at the Academy. Stuart received his MFA in Motion Pictures & Television with an emphasis in Screenwriting from Academy of Art University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Glasgow.

Tim Boxell

Full-Time Faculty, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Tim Boxell directed feature films Aberration for Artisan and romantic comedy Chasing Destiny for Artists View as well as working on dozens of features in the roles of visual consultant and storyboard artist. As creative director for Colossal Pictures Tim was actively involved in MTV’s notorious mixed media hit show Liquid Television for which he directed Winter Steele and Las Apassionadas. His work has been seen on Saturday Night Live, Comedy Central, The Disney Channel, ABC, The WB and Nickelodeon. He’s directed and designed numerous award-winning commercials (Hershey’s, Nintendo, Doritos, Budweiser) and broadcast graphics (VH-1, MTV, TNT) featuring and inventive blend of animation, live action and effects.

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