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School of Motion Pictures & Television Faculty

James Egan

Executive Director of the 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 work in television 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 also written and produced pilots for networks and cable including the HBO presentation Women Without Men, which was produced in association with Lorne Michaels' company, Broadway Video. In film, Mr. Keats has written screenplays for studios including MGM, Columbia and Warner Bros., as well as a number of independent production companies. As the Executive Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media, Mr. Keats continues to oversee all writing in the School of Motion Pictures & Television.

Shaaron Murphy

Director of Editing

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 Engel

Producing Track Head

Curran is a producer, production manager, first assistant director, and second assistant director, and has over 12 years of extensive industry experience. He was the producer on several feature films, such as Skeleton Woman, This Space Between Us, Downfall, and Cherish and First Assistant Director on Heartwood, Tweeker, and Chalk. Curran is an accomplished professional who has worked in a variety of roles. He guides graduate students through the various elements of production, from breaking down a script to scheduling and budgeting, and his first-hand experience of sales and marketing prepares students for the challenges of producing their own projects. Curran's extensive list of projects includes music videos, commercials, television and movies.

Eduardo Rufeisen

Full-Time Faculty, Motion Pictures & Television

Eduardo Rufeisen has more than 17 years of international experience producing, directing, and managing creative teams and crews. He worked as the Senior Advisor of Advertising for Bosch-Blaupunkt group in Brazil, directing ad campaigns for print, TV and radio and has been producing and directing multi-camera TV shows for local San Francisco Bay Area cable channels and multinational companies including Hewlett Packard. Since completing his Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in Motion Pictures and Television Studies at Academy of Art University, Eduardo has also been working as a film and television instructor at various colleges in Northern California.

Tim Boxell

Faculty, 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 of Motion Pictures & Television, MFA & BFA

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

BFA Directing Track Head

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

MFA New Student Coordinator

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 AAU, Stuart was a Music and Drama Specialist for the Scottish Opera For All. Stuart is currently the MFA New Student Coordinator for the School of Motion Pictures & Television at AAU. Stuart received his MFA in Motion Pictures & Television with an emphasis in Screenwriting from the Academy of Art University. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Glasgow.

Kenn Ferro

Cinematography Track Head

A Northern California native, with thirty years of experience in cinematography, Kenn Ferro attended film school in Southern California. Having used his student loan money to by a 16mm camera he proceeded to shoot as many films as he could for his fellow students. During this time, he became fascinated with the steadicam and nearing graduation he sold his camera and bought a used steadicam system. Now graduated from film school in debt and unemployed, he worked in all job positions in the camera department from loader to Director of Photography. In 1990 he was inducted into the American Society Of Lighting Designers. Eventually settling in Los Angeles, he became a full fledged member of the International Cinematographers Guild in 1992. Shortly there after he was accepted into the Society of Operating Cameramen (S.O.C.). Through the years, he has worked as an Operator on feature films like A Walk in The Clouds, The Prophecy, and House of Sand and Fog. Television work has included shows like Desperate Housewives, Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and ER. His work in commercials has been varied but one of the highlights has been lensing all of the ultra high speed cinematography for the Clio award winning Sony Bravia "SuperBall" spot. This ground breaking commercial launched 750,000 actual bouncy balls down the streets of San Francisco. Other work has included working with bands like Los Lonely Boys, Third Eye Blind, Cypress Hill, Dead Can Dance, Carole King and scores of others.

Rob Alan Martin

MPT Foundations Coordinator

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.