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School of Motion Pictures & Television Faculty

James Egan

Executive Director, School of Motion Pictures & Television

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.


Robert Keats

Executive Director, School of Writing for Film, Television, & Digital Media; Executive Director, The Network

Robert Keats has been writing for film and television since the 1970s. His television work includes Happy Days, The Love Boat, The Ellen Burstyn Show, Buck Henry's comedy sci-fi Quark, and the adaptation of Down and Out in Beverly Hills. He has written and produced pilots for networks and cable including the HBO presentation Women Without Men, produced in association with Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video. In film, Robert has written screenplays for MGM, Columbia and Warner Bros., and many independent production companies. Mr. Keats oversees all writing in the School of Motion Pictures & Television.

Shaaron Murphy

Director of Editing, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Shaaron Murphy has been teaching at the Academy since 1995, teaching Final Cut Pro, Avid, The Work of Great Directors, and the Advanced Editing Theory course, which she created for the department. She also oversees more than 100 labs and a large group of instructors, technicians and staff. With her fifteen years of work in feature films, documentaries, national ads and narrative shorts, she brings valuable industry expertise to the editing portion of the program. She is a graduate of the USC School of Cinema Production, where she was a winner of the Student Emmy Award for Production.

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.


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.


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.

Harry Winer

MFA Directing Track Head

Harry Winer is a writer, producer and director with over 25 years of experience in film and television. He directed the motion pictures SPACECAMP and HOUSE ARREST. He produced and directed over 25 films, miniseries and television pilots and created over 50 hours of series television. He has worked with some of the leading talents in motion picture industry such as Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Joaquin Phoenix, Jim Carrey, Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner and Aaron Eckhart.


Jack Perez

Undergraduate Directing Track Head, School of Motion Pictures and 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.


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.

Kenn Ferro

Cinematography Track Head, 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.

Rob Alan Martin

Motion Pictures & Television Foundations Coordinator, School of Motion Pictures & Television

Rob Alan Martinis principal creator of Sol Gate Studios in Oakland. His international credits include U.S. Producer of Lost in Las Vegas and Rich in a Flash and Privatdetektive im Einsatz for Film Pool /RTL Television in Germany. He was executive producer/director of the PBS National Park travel series, The Grand View, and co-director of Untapped, a documentary about the physiology of human hands. He is currently working on the feature film Arranging Anna, to be shot in Australia this year. Additionally, he played Frederick Olmsted in the PBS mini-series California Forever.