TFTV Impact Report 2021/2022

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Daniel Altamirano (‘22) performs in the 2022 Acting/ Musical Theatre Senior Showcase. Photo by Patrick Ryan

STUDENT SUCCESS Alex Bruckner (‘22) performs in the 2022 Acting/Musical Theatre Senior Showcase. Photo by Patrick Ryan.

In April 2022, TFTV presented the second annual digital edition of the BFA Acting/Musical Theatre Senior Showcase. The filmed showcase was sent to thousands of talent representatives, casting directors and network executives in major markets across the United States and Canada. The online release of the 2022 digital showcase has so far resulted in Daniel Altamirano (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘22) signing with the Wolf Talent Group in NYC and CJ Barbosa (BFA Acting, ‘22) signing with McGowan Rodriguez Management in LA, with further negotiations to be finalized. Watch the Showcase 2022 sizzle reel.

With mentorship and strategy support provided by External Relations and Advancement Director Kerryn Negus and Professor Lisanne Skyler, films created by 11 BFA Film & Television students and 1 BA student earned an unprecedented 36 film festival selections in cities across the country and around the world, including the Academy Award-qualifying Urbanworld Film Festival and Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Films officially selected between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 are as follows: FILMS BY SENIOR STUDENTS Treasures Beneath My Tree | Alexandra Cerna (BFA Film & Television, ’21) Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2021 | Chicago, IL FILMAR en América Latina 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland LA Latinx Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2022 | Seattle, WA Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA San Diego International Children’s Film Festival 2022 | San Diego, CA Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA BAMKids Film Festival 2022 | Brooklyn, NY Adventure Festival 2022 | Boulder, CO

Fallacy | Atlas Woods-Smith (BFA Film & Television, ‘21)

Seattle Queer Film Festival 2021 | Seattle, WA San Francisco Transgender Film Festival 2021 | San Francisco, CA Triangle North Carolina Film Festival 2021 | Raleigh, NC Tag! Queer Shorts Festival 2022 | Portland, OR Muskoka Queer Film Festival 2022 | Bracebridge, Canada Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

One-Way Mirror | Mackenzie Giguere (BFA Film & Television, ’21)

International Black Film Festival 2021 | Nashville, TN Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

En La Cuna De Mi Madre | Pablo Perez (BFA Film & Television, ’21)

Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

Tesoro | Roxanna Denise Stevens Ibarra (BFA Film & Television, ’20)

Urbanworld Film Festival 2021 | New York, NY (pictured) Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival 2021 | Los Angeles, CA Idlewild International Film Festival 2021 | Detroit, MI Arizona International Film Festival 2022 | Tucson, AZ Latina Independent Film Extravaganza 2022 | Los Angeles, CA Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

IRIS | Zach Lovvorn (BFA Film & Television, ’20)

Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival 2021 | Brooklyn, NY Phoenix Shorts 2021 | Ottawa, Canada (Award: Best SciFi/Fantasy Short) Next Generation Indie Film Awards | Los Angeles, CA Bristol Science Film Festival | Bristol, United Kingdom

Barren | Emma Sinex (BFA Film & Television, ’20)

Reading FilmFEST 2021 | Reading, PA HER INTERNATIONAL Film Festival 2021 | Killarney, Ireland Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

Karen from Susie May | Dan Crowley (BFA Film & Television, ’20)

Roxanna Denise Stevens Ibarra (’20) arrives at Cinépolis NYC for the Urbanworld Film Festival Young Creators Showcase, featuring her senior thesis film Tesoro in a lineup of films by 7 emerging filmmakers. Along with UA School of Theatre, Film & Television, filmmakers represented USC School of Cinematic Arts, FSU College of Motion Picture Arts, and L’Inis Montreal among others (October 2021)

Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2021 | Philadelphia, PA

Houses in Motion | Adrian Meyer (BFA Film & Television, ’20)

Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2021 | Philadelphia, PA

FILMS BY JUNIOR STUDENTS Daughter of Eve | Linda Paola Varela (BFA Film & Television, ’22) Festival Fotogenia 2021 | Mexico City, Mexico

Changement | Sasha Reist (BA Film & Television Producing and Studies, ’23) Social Impact Film Festival 2022 | Los Angeles, CA

Something to Fear | Brett Jones (BFA Film & Television, ’23) Doc Sunback Film Festival 2022 | Mulvane, KS

In fall 2021, senior Linda Paola Varela (BFA Film & Television, Minor in Psychology, Minor in Theatre, ’22) was selected as The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre’s inaugural Emerging Playwrights Fellow. The program, which selects a BIPOC playwright each fall and an LGBTQIA+ playwright each spring, is designed to address the lack of representation for communities that have been historically marginalized or excluded both on the page and on the stage.

Camden Stankus (‘23) in pale yellow dress, with fellow cast members of Arizona Theatre Company’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

• The School of Theatre, Film & Television enjoys a robust partnership with the Arizona Theatre Company. As part of the partnership, Acting/Musical Theatre students regularly undertake internships at the theatre. In December 2021, BFA Acting junior Camden Stankus was interning with the production Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and was unexpectedly asked to play Elizabeth Darcy – a role she hadn’t understudied. The emerging actor triumphed. “Camden went on with thirty minutes notice,” said ATC Artistic Director Sean Daniels. “Script in hand, she earned the instant standing ovation and cheers she got at curtain call.” •

Michael Tellez (BFA Design &Technology, emphasis Sound Design ’22), pictured below, was awarded the Pat MacKay Diversity in Design Scholarship. The Pat MacKay Diversity in Design Scholarships, funded by LDI and Live Design, were introduced to support underrepresented and unique voices in the field of entertainment design and are presented in partnership with the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association (TSDCA) and USITT for undergraduate students. More at Live Design.


Professor Beverly Seckinger received a University Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award. The awards recognize outstanding faculty whose scholarship-based outreach to the state, nation and the world has demonstrated sustained excellence in the University’s outreach mission. Professor Seckinger’s outreach integrates her research methods and her teaching. As a social justice documentarian (Laramie Inside Out, Hippie Family Values), her research focuses on unique communities and provides a platform for the voices in those communities. As an educator, her innovative courses encourage students to find their own voices as filmmakers and make films on topics they’re passionate about. She was integral to the founding of the online interdisciplinary Human Rights Practice graduate program, which grew in large part out of the success of her course Advancing Human Rights through Documentary Media. She launched Lesbian Looks, which has become one of the longest-running lesbian-focused film series in the United States. She also was a founder of the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies, now an internationally respected center for LGBT-related research. Most recently, Seckinger was part of a team awarded a production seed grant from the University of Arizona Office for Research, Innovation and Impact for Las Mujeres de Manzo, an upcoming film profiling the work of four long-time Chicana feminist activists at the forefront of immigration rights organizing in Southern Arizona: Isabel Garcia, Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, Guadalupe Castillo, and Margo Cowan.

Acting/Musical Theatre division head and Arizona Professor Beverly Seckinger Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Hank Stratton, pictured above, received the Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence. The award, created through a gift from the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in honor of Gerald J. Swanson, professor emeritus of economics, recognizes excellence in undergraduate teaching. Under Stratton’s leadership, the flagship program continues to draw attention. In April 2022, a Broadway World review of the Arizona Repertory Theatre production of High Fidelity commended the “stellar musical theatre program to rival some of the nation’s most reputable institutions” and the “clarity and verve” of Stratton’s directing. Stratton was also promoted to Associate Professor.

Secret Things, the new play by Theatre Studies Associate Professor Elaine Romero, enjoyed a criticallyacclaimed production in November/December 2021 at 1st Stage, under the direction of Artistic Director Alex Levy. The production was singled out as a staff favorite for DC Metro Arts for best of the year. Romero’s plays, A Sentiment and Swastika, were accepted for publication by TRW Plays. She has forthcoming chapter contributions for the Routledge Companion to Latinx Theatre and Performance, Decolonizing Dramaturgy in Global Context (Routledge), and Fornés In Context (Cambridge University Press). Her war pentalogy play, When Reason Sleeps, was a 2022 finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference out of 1200+ submissions. Prosperita was named a winner in Off-Broadway’s Red Bull Short New Play Festival 2022: Alchemy where it will be produced alongside plays by Larissa FastHorse and Stephen Adly Guirgis. • A Dutiful Spouse, a film directed by Film & Television Associate Professor Michael Mulcahy, was selected to screen at the 2021 Loft Film Festival. The spine-chilling short was made entirely at Mulcahy’s home during the pandemic lockdown. Mulcahy also earned this year’s James R. Anthony Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching, presented to a member of the College of Fine Arts faculty who has consistently demonstrated a sustained level of outstanding achievement in teaching.

• Assistant Professor Christie Kerr directed and choreographed Moving Beyond the Box, a video installation that highlights the positive aspects of a technology-dependent era. Kerr reached out to 14 dancers from across the U.S. and sent them choreography to learn via an instructional video. The dancers, both professionals and TFTV Acting/Musical Theatre students, recorded themselves in their various locations and sent the resulting videos back to Kerr. The Michael Mulcahy directs, and stars in, the spine-chilling short dance videos were then edited together with snippets of A Dutiful Spouse media stories and sound in a cohesive virtual dance piece that united the far-flung company of dancers in one digital space. Moving Beyond the Box screened in the Theatre Building Courtyard via a large-scale projection installation on January 28-29, 2022. More at The Theatre Times. •

TFTV Professor of Practice Kevin Black produced, directed, and starred in Fine Revolution, a cinematic theatre interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Made with support from the University of Arizona Office of Research, Innovation & Impact, the University of Arizona Libraries and the College of Fine Arts, the immersive production was presented at the Brink Foundation in Tucson. Black starred alongside a national cast of veteran television and stage actors, including Nikki Crawford (currently starring in the Pulitzer-Prize winning Fat Ham at the Public Theatre), David MacDonald (Person of Interest), John Kozeluh (The Dan Band), TFTV alumna Betsey Kruse Craig, Associate Professor David Morden and Professor Emeritus Harold Dixon. The production’s multimedia creative team featured TFTV’s Professor of Practice Matt Marcus, Professor Brent Gibbs, Associate Professor Michael Mulcahy, instructors Alex Leyton and Craig Huston, and an array of recent film and theatre graduates. Now in development for a touring production, Fine Revolution and its exploration of technology’s impact on mental health is the subject of a forthcoming Arizona Public Media Arizona Illustrated story.

Asst. Professor Dr. Anna Cooper’s first single-authored book The American Abroad was published by Bloomsbury Publishing. In the book, Cooper, pictured, explores how post-war Hollywood cinema adopted elements of British and French imperial visual culture, transforming them to suit a new United Statesian context. Cooper argues that four visual discourses, in particular the sublime, the ethnographic, the picturesque, and glamour, became building blocks in the development of a new American visual language.

Since 2011, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Art + Film Gala has brought together the creative communities of Los Angeles. Co-chaired by Eva Chow and Leonardo DiCaprio, LACMA’s Art + Film Gala draws notables from the art, film, fashion, music and entertainment industries to celebrate the most influential artists and filmmakers of our time. When the pandemic hit and the gala couldn’t take place, LACMA turned to Film & Television Professor Lisanne Skyler to create a film looking back on the extraordinary history and impact of the Museum’s signature event. Skyler’s A Few Things about Art + Film tracks its history from its early days as an initiative to revitalize the film program to becoming known as “the Met Ball of the West.” A Few Things about Art + Film was released in 2022 to celebrate the return of the in-person Art + Film Gala, honoring Steven Spielberg, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. • Theatre Studies Assistant Professor Greg Pierotti presented on his research modality Affect Theater and his co-production Unstories (with co-PI Cristiana Giordano) as part of the Values of Multimodal Projects Series hosted by Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology at Humboldt University in Berlin (watch conference highlights). Pierotti also completed an invited chapter in An Ethnographic Inventory Field Devices for Anthropological Inquiry, edited by Tomás Criado & Adolfo Estalella for the Theorizing Ethnography: Concept, Context, Critique book series, Routledge (in press). He represented the University of Arizona at Washington and Lee University’s 15th National Symposium of Theater and Performing Arts in Academe, where he co-presented a paper with collaborator Cristiana Giordano entitled Getting Caught: A Collaboration Between Theater and Anthropology On and Offstage. Pierotti’s interdisciplinary explorations in anthropology were featured in a podcast called What does anthropology sound like, hosted by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. He also co-created the live event, Affect Theater, which was performed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) in Philadelphia. • Design/Technology Assistant Professor of Practice Matt Marcus served as the Sound Designer/Head of Audio Production for the 40th annual La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference. A model for other mariachi festivals, the Tucson International Mariachi Conference was founded in 1982 and nurtured by such legends as Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlán, Mariachi Cobre, the late Lola Beltrán, and Tucson native Linda Ronstadt. Her two Grammy Awardwinning albums of classic mariachi songs learned while growing up in Tucson are a tribute to Ronstadt’s own Mexican-American roots and expanded the audience for mariachi music. At the 2022 edition, Marcus presided over all major events in the Music Hall including the Vocal Competition, the Student Showcase, and the Espectacular Concert, where the facility was officially renamed the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in the presence of the acclaimed singer. Marcus was also accepted into membership of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, the professional membership organization of sound designers and composers for the performing arts working in the United States. Marcus joins sound designers from Broadway, Off Broadway, regional theaters in the United States and international venues.


In May 2022, Dr. Brant Pope succeeded Andy Belser as the Director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television. Pope, who served as chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin from 2010 to 2019, will be the School’s Interim Director for two years.

Dr. Orquídea Morales, pictured, joins the School’s Film & Television Producing and Studies division as an Assistant Professor, FTV Studies. Dr. Morales joins TFTV from the State University of New York, Old Westbury. She received her PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan after which she was the César Chávez Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College. Morales’ research interests include Horror Studies, Latinx Media and Border Studies.

Dr. Orquídea Morales Darnell T. Roulhac, pictured above, who received his Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy in Contemporary Commercial Music from Shenandoah University and Bachelor of Music from Boston Conservatory, joined TFTV’s Acting/Musical Theatre faculty as an Assistant Professor of Practice. Some of Roulhac’s performance credits include Gobin in La Rondine, Monostatos in Die Zauberflote, Ernest Diggle in Jerry Springer the Opera, Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette with Bel Cantanti Opera Co and Peppe in Leoncavallo’s Il Pagliacci.

Following a national search, Mia Farrell, pictured, was selected to join TFTV as the new Director of the Hanson FilmTV Institute. She joins the School from the British Film Institute, where she served as the PR Manager, BFI Festivals and Programme Manager, BFI London Film Festival Critics Mentorship Programme. She was previously VP of International Publicity at Paramount Pictures.

Following 23 years of invaluable service at the helm of MARPL, the School’s equipment resource for Film & Television students, Dan Brock retired. Sheldon Ham succeeds him as the new FTV Production Services Manager.

The Design & Technical Production division welcomes Apollo Weaver, Assistant Professor of Practice in Scene Design, and Ken Phillips, Assistant Professor of Practice in Lighting Design.

Mia Farrell


Missing in Brooks County, the documentary co-directed and produced by Jeff Bemiss and TFTV instructor Lisa Molomot and edited and produced by TFTV Associate Professor Jacob Bricca, ACE, was one of eight films selected for the second edition of the Semana de Cine Migrante, a traveling exhibition of new films sponsored by the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores and the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior in Mexico. In spring 2022, the collection of films screened in public venues in Tijuana, Puebla, Hidalgo, Baja California, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas, Mexico, and in summer 2022 is slated to screen in Chiapas and Veracruz before beginning an international tour that includes Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Madrid, Berlin, Asunción (Paraguay), Santiago (Chile), and Hong Kong. The film is also making its way out into the world via a successful educational distribution campaign managed by its distributor, Good Docs. Schools that are using the film in their curriculum include the Baylor University School of Law, The University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, Michigan State University, The University of New Mexico, The University of Minnesota, The University of Tennessee, Wesleyan University, and Texas A&M University, among many others. Hailed by The Boston Globe as “one of the most nuanced and disturbing ... films about the immigration crisis,” Missing in Brooks County has now been seen at more than 55 film festivals globally, won 20 Audience Choice and Best Documentary awards, and was a nominee at the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. After making its PBS premiere on Independent Lens in January 2022, the film is now viewable via Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play.


The School of Theatre, Film & Television was again named a Top 50 U.S. Film School by The Wrap, the leading digital news organization covering the business of entertainment and media. TFTV was ranked No. 7 among public universities and No. 25 overall on The Wrap’s sixth annual list of the Top 50 Film Schools, published November 2, 2021. The rankings are determined by a poll of more than 2,000 entertainment industry leaders, educators, deans, filmmakers and film commentators, along with experts tasked with evaluating each school.

ENGAGING ARIZONA High School participants in TFTV’s outreach program Stories Travel are joined by family, friends, teachers and TFTV mentors at their end of semester presentation on campus at the University of Arizona.

With support from the Provost’s Investment Fund and guidance from Arizona Arts in Schools executive director Brad Richter, TFTV launched the first semester of Stories Travel, the School’s high school outreach program. Stories Travel introduces students to a variety of storytelling methods and provides them with mentorship and resources. A goal of the program is to empower the students to imagine a place for themselves on campus and to encourage them to consider developing their creativity and studies in the areas of theatre and film/television at the college level. Meeting daily over the course of three months, Stories Travel paired students from Flowing Wells High School with three instructors representing the University of Arizona and the School of Theatre, Film & Television. Through a series of fast-paced and fun exercises, Theatre Studies Adjunct Instructor and Stories Travel curriculum lead Wolfe Bowart guided students in a variety of ways to tell stories, considering obstacles, objectives, and conflict, and examining their own life stories, family stories, stories from films, animations, and fairy tales. Design & Technical Production Professor of Practice Matt Marcus examined the many technical ways of capturing sound and led students on a journey of audio discovery. UA Digital Learning Videographer/Producer Luis Carrión covered foundational concepts of documentary production, such as editing, pacing, sound, lighting, and point of view. The semester concluded with two events on campus – students were given a comprehensive tour led by TFTV Associate Director Yuri Makino, and on a separate evening were invited to share their productions for an audience of family, friends, school teachers, and TFTV faculty and staff. “This experience has helped me learn more about how I do creative things and has given me new creative strategies,” said Flowing Wells student Kayden. “After this program I decided that I want to try my hand at doing film as a career. I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said fellow student Elijah.

In a project spearheaded by School Director Andy Belser, TFTV collaborated with the Kinlani Film Project in Flagstaff, an after-school filmmaking program for Diné, Hopi, Tohono O’odham, and Havasupai high school students, and BlackMagic Design to provide support for the Indigenous high school filmmakers to create their own short film. BlackMagic supplied camera equipment and TFTV contracted alum Kristian Jackson (BA, Film & Television ’19) to edit the film and interact with and mentor the student filmmakers during the editing process. The collaboration resulted in a short film entitled Tsiiyééł (Hair Bun), a drama about a Diné teenager who draws strength from her culture and overcomes her identity conflict. With a film festival strategy put together by TFTV’s Advancement & External Relations Director Kerryn Negus, Tsiiyééł was officially selected for the Navajo Film Festival, the 43 CineFestival San Antonio, the Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts Festival and the Native Spirit Film Festival in the UK. Speaking to the University’s land-grant mission and specifically to Pillar 3 of the University of Arizona’s Strategic Plan, the Arizona Advantage, TFTV aims to deepen the connection with the Kinlani Film Project and continue to encourage young Indigenous filmmakers to consider furthering their film studies at the College level.


The 17th annual I Dream in Widescreen – a marquee annual event of the School of Theatre, Film & Television – returned in person to the historic Fox Tucson Theatre for the first time since 2019. The IDIWS producing team, comprising Jacob Bricca, ACE, Lisanne Skyler, and Kerryn Negus, with support from Anna Cooper and Marketing Specialist Jordan Lorsung, organized the School’s most high-profile event in over two years. The showcase screening took place on the evening of Saturday May 7, 2022 and featured the World Premiere of 12 thesis films created by the Film & Television Production Class of 2022. The program was subsequently made available for online viewing via the School’s YouTube channel. The in-person event generated a broad range of media attention including positive film reviews, and the online edition attracted over a thousand views within 48 hours of launch. The event itself drew approximately 900 attendees to the Fox Tucson Theatre, making IDIWS2022 one of the most successful editions yet. “Throughout my time in the film program, our past screenings have either been streamed online or shown at the Loft while they were only accepting a half capacity theatre,” said Martin Olloren (BFA Film & Television, ’22), pictured. “Walking into the Fox Theatre and seeing the line out the door and almost all seats filled was so surreal to me. It totally made all the work this past year worth it. Seeing all the friends I’ve made over the past four years, the faculty that’s helped me to this point, and the family that’s supported me along the way definitely felt like a full-circle moment. One of the highlights of the night was right before we first entered the screening room, when my class was lining up outside the doors. I remember looking down the line and seeing smiles from all of my classmates as we were expressing how proud we were of each other.”

Header Image: IDIWS22 Filmmakers at the Fox Tucson Theatre Above: Martin Olloren (‘22) with Film Tucson Award for Achievement in Filmmaking/Directing Photos by Julius Schlosburg

Under the leadership of Associate Professor Dr. Jessica Maerz, the Theatre Studies division introduced the Next Performance Collective, a new initiative housing outstanding student-devised pieces, works by emerging playwrights, and texts that experiment playfully with form and content. With the goal to provide mainstage opportunities for more theatre students, Next’s ensemble-driven productions showcase BA students as content creators, storytellers, and performance makers. Inaugural productions included Branden JacobsJenkins’ playful allegory Everybody, where the actors were assigned their roles by lottery at the beginning of each performance, and the New Directions Festival, a showcase of 100% student-created, student-designed, and student-performed content. More at The Arizona Daily Star.

The Film & Television Internship Program, led by Professor Lisanne Skyler, provides personalized professional career training to all Film & Television students. Over the past two years, through faculty mentoring and collaboration with alumni working across the industry, student placement more than doubled. Students regularly intern at Luber Roklin Entertainment, United Talent Agency and Spectacle Content Media, among many other leading companies. In the summer of 2022, Film & Television students were selected for competitive internships across the country, from Warner Bros. Discovery in New York, to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and Cinema St. Louis in the Midwest to Black Entertainment Television (BET) and ESPN/Disney in Los Angeles.

Making space for emergent artists whose voices have been historically underrepresented in the Performing and Visual Arts, the School of Theatre, Film & Television and the School of Art collaborated on SALON, the Student Artist Live Opportunity Night, co-presented by InVisibility and the Sienna Collective. The event offered an opportunity to see student works and works-in-progress. Tioni Collins, TFTV student services coordinator and acting instructor, and School of Art Associate Professor Aaron Coleman were the driving forces behind the concept. Next Performance Collective presented Everybody by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. Cast Members: Erika Brittain, Lisitte Mora, Alex Kaplan, and Dylan Crites. Scenic Design by Dustin Bielich. Costume Design by McKay Keith. Lighting Design by Alex J. Alegria. Sound Design by Michael Tellez. Stage Managed by Aidyn Corkell. Directed by Roweena Mackay and Rick Wamer. Photo Tim Fuller.


Lydia Martinez stars in Treasures Beneath My Tree, written and directed by Alexandra Cerna (‘21)

Lindsay Utz (BA Film & Television, ‘03) received the College of Fine Arts Award at the 2021 Alumni of the Year ceremony, which annually recognizes accomplished alumni for their achievements and contributions to the university. “I want to particularly thank Professor Beverly Seckinger, whose History of Documentary class introduced me to all of the classics of non-fiction film and ever since then, I have been in love with the art form. Bev’s classes inspired and challenged me at a formative moment in my life, and I am so grateful to her and the entire department for giving me a filmmaking foundation that helped me transition into my career today,” said Utz, who recently co-edited Civil, a Netflix documentary about the civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival. Read more. • At the 2021 Emmys, Amy Duddleston, ACE (‘86) earned two nominations for her editing work on HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Lindsay Utz (BA Film & Television, ‘03) was nominated for her work on the Apple TV+ documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, and John Matter (BA Film & Television, ’01) won a statue for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama for his work as Dialogue Editor on HBO’s Lovecraft Country. As part of the Emmy celebrations, Duddleston joined a panel discussion by Emmy-winning and Emmy-nominated picture editors about their art and craft of storytelling. Watch it here.

• At the 74th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards, Paul Pennolino (’85) was nominated in the category of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports - Regularly Scheduled Programming for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Pennolino is currently directing his ninth season of the award-winning show. In addition to six Peabody Awards, Paul has earned six Emmy nominations for his directing as well as six DGA Directing Award nominations. In 2022 Paul served as a juror of TFTV’s senior thesis film showcase, I Dream in Widescreen.

Lindsay Utz (’03), right, with mentor Professor Beverly Seckinger

Tamika Lawrence (BFA Musical Theatre, ’10) earned a 2022 Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and an Antonyo Award nomination in the category of Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Off Broadway) for her role in Black No More, the new musical inspired by George S. Schuyler’s Afrofuturist novel set during the Harlem Renaissance. The New York Times chief theatre critic Jesse Green called Lawrence “a stunning singer” in a February 15 review of the show.

Amrita Ramanan (BFA Theatre Production, ’07), pictured, was named The Public Theatre’s Director of New Work Development. Since premiering Hair in 1967, The Public continues to play a major part in creating the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Girl From the North Country by Conor McPherson and featuring the music of Bob Dylan, and the revival of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. More at Playbill.

Tyler Gillett (BFA Film & Television, ‘04) co-directed the long-awaited fifth installment of Scream, which was released in January 2022. The film was a box office hit, earning a worldwide box office total of over $140M. Gillett subsequently signed to co-direct Scream 6, which has an expected release date of March 31, 2023.

After the pandemic-enforced suspension of performances, Ben Crawford (BFA Musical Theatre, ’05) made his triumphant return to the lead role in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera, which celebrated its 34th anniversary on January 26, 2022. In a special onstage speech after the curtain call that night, Crawford acknowledged the 19 million people who have seen the show at the Majestic Theatre since 1988, making Phantom the largest single generator of income and jobs in Broadway and U.S. theatrical history.

Scenic Designer Jason Jamerson (MFA Theatre Design and Production, ’19) whose work regularly appears Off Broadway and in regional theatres across the country, joins Louisiana State University as Assistant Professor of Virtual Production and Immersive Media. Prior to this position, Jamerson led the New Media Program in Virtual and VR Production at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

Tony Moreno (BFA Musical Theatre, ’21) was cast as the lead in the new original musical Sensation, which had its first industry reading in June 2022 in New York. Sensation features book, music, and lyrics by Ayden Skye (Anderson Lena and the Things That Don’t Matter). The rest of the team comprises director Will Nunziata (Little Black Book), music director Rich Mercurio (Waitress), casting director Jenna Gelenberg (Ryan Murphy’s The Prom), music producer Russ DeSalvo (Celine Dion, Lionel Richie), and multiple award-winning producer Cory Rosenberg of CRee8 Productions. Moreno is represented by CGF Talent.

Tyler West (BFA Acting, ’18) joined the cast of La Clique, the original, trailblazing, genre-defining cabaret show that debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004 and has subsequently travelled the world to international acclaim. The show is part of the Underbelly Festival in London, UK, through July 2022.

Tyler West (‘18) performs in La Clique. Photo by Tigz.

Sierra Teller Ornelas (BA Film & Television, ’05), the co-creator of Peacock’s ground-breaking TV comedy series Rutherford Falls, renewed her overall deal with Universal TV. Under the pact, Ornelas will continue to create and develop new projects for the studio. Rutherford Falls, featuring one of the largest Indigenous writers rooms on television, recently began its second season. More at The Hollywood Reporter. • Treasures Beneath My Tree, the senior thesis short film by Alexandra Cerna (BFA Film & Television, ’21), pictured left, was officially selected by 9 film festivals internationally, including the Academy Award qualifying Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and FILMAR en América Latina in Geneva, Switzerland. On being awarded “Best of the Fest” at the Children’s Film Festival Seattle, Cerna’s film became part of the Festival’s traveling film series and has screened in cinemas around the country. Treasures Beneath My Tree was also part of the 6-month exhibit trees stir in their leaves at the Center for Creative Photography. It will next be seen at Comic-Con International, the largest popularculture convention in the world, as part of the 18th San Diego International Children’s Film Festival.

Brenna DiStasio (BFA Acting, ‘15) secured a role in Disney’s Christmas … Again?! The new comedy can be seen on the Disney Channel and is also available on Disney+. DiStasio is a Chicago-based actor, teacher, producer, and Founding Governing Ensemble Member of The Story Theatre. She is represented by the Gray Talent Group.

Fatimah Amill (BFA Theatre Production, ‘16) joined the Stage Management team as an Assistant Stage Manager on The Devil Wears Prada. The production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro with music by Elton John, will have its World Premiere in Chicago, July 2022.

IRIS, the senior thesis short film written and directed by Zach Lovvorn (BFA Film & Television, ’20) and produced by Antonia Maher (BFA Film & Television, ’21) and Lana Moltrop, was nominated in the category of Best Science Fiction Short Film at the Next Generation Indie Film Awards in Los Angeles. Lovvorn’s film also was also an official selection at the Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival in New York, the Phoenix Film Festival in Arizona, and was awarded Best Sci-fi/Fantasy Short at the Phoenix Shorts Film Festival in Ottawa, Canada. In June 2022 the film was part of a special screening presented by the Bristol Science Film Festival in the UK, where it was included in a line-up of science fact or fiction films with a data science and AI theme shortlisted for the Jean Golding Institute prize.

Kailyn Toussaint (BFA Musical Theatre, ’18) signed for representation with New York-based management company The Talent Express, and Sophia Goodin (BFA Acting, ‘21) signed with Free Flight Talent Managers in Los Angeles.

Camryn Elias (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘21) has not stopped working since graduation, securing roles in the Sierra Repertory Theatre’s production of Shrek the Musical, Casa Mañana’s production of Disney’s Descendants, and in Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to name a few.

Roxanna Denise Stevens Ibarra (BFA Film & Television, ’20) was selected from 100 applicants nationwide as the first Video Production Fellow for Edutopia, the educational foundation established by George Lucas. In addition to work tasks, the paid position offers Stevens Ibarra mentorship on all aspects of production. “Roxanna’s combination of expertise in video production together with experience in K-12 education made her stand out,” said Melissa Thompson, Senior Video Editor/Producer at Edutopia. “Her former colleagues and supervisors describe her as both artistically gifted and incredibly reliable and detail-oriented, which we see as a winning combination. During her fellowship, we hope Roxanna will get to try out all the things that go into an Edutopia video – from pitching and pre-production, through production, post, and publishing.”

Legendary Television appointed Jennifer Breslow (BA Film & Television, ’97) as EVP, Television & Digital Media. Prior to the Legendary appointment, Breslow was Director of Content for International Original Series at Netflix, where she worked on a variety of series in such territories as Mexico (Casa de Las Flores, Diablero), Brazil (O Mecanismo), India (Sacred Games), Korea (Love Alarm), France (Lupin, Revolution, The Hook Up Plan, November 13th: Attack on Paris), Italy (Suburra, Baby) and Sweden (Quicksand). More at Deadline.

Zackry Colston (BFA Acting, ’16), pictured, joined the Sunday company of The Groundlings, the renowned improv and sketch comedy theatre and school whose many alumni include Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, Melissa McCarthy, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph.

Courtney Blanc (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘21) secured roles in back-to-back productions at Indiana’s Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts’ 2022 summer season, including The Addams Family, Brigadoon, and the lead role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Alec Williams (BFA Acting) featured in Top Gun: Maverick in the role of Aide to Rear Admiral Cain, played by Ed Harris. In June 2022, Williams performed onstage in Lab Actually, a new show from the Groundlings Theatre.

Vinessa Vidotto (BFA Acting, ‘18) is starring in CBS’s FBI: International, a spinoff series in Dick Wolf’s FBI franchise. Vidotto stars as the ambitious new member of the International FBI Fly Team unit. More at Deadline.

A first-person account penned by Anna Jennings (BA Theatre Arts, ’15; MFA Generative Dramaturgy, ’19) was published in the The Zackry Colston photo by Yves Bright Los Angeles Times. The piece, which recounts the breakdown of a relationship between Jennings and her roommate, featured in L.A. Affairs, a section chronicling the search for romantic love in all its various expressions in the L.A. area.

Adia Bell (BFA Musical Theatre, 19) was in Cinderella and Groundhog Day at the Paramount Theatre in Chicago. In June 2022, Bell joined the cast of the new musical Skates, which had its World Premiere at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago.

Carly Natania Grossman (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘20) took to the stage in the one-woman musical My 80-YearOld Boyfriend at Arizona Theatre Company.

• Christopher Nataanii Cegielski (BFA Film & Television, ’16) signed for exclusive commercial representation with the Brooklyn-based production company Voyager. Among his recent projects, Cegielski, pictured, was tapped to direct a PSA for ABC in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The PSA, featuring an appearance by his mother, pictured, aired nationally during Thanksgiving 2021. Watch the Director’s Cut. •

Christopher Anaya-Gorman (BFA Theatre Production, ‘09) was front and center at the 75th annual Tony Awards when host Ariana DeBose took a moment to acknowledge his work, and all Broadway stage managers whose work is essential to a production’s success. Anaya-Gorman is the stage manager for the Tony awardwinning Broadway musical Paradise Square. Read more.

Rachel Gibney (BFA Design and Technical Production – Lighting Design, ‘11) was promoted to Associate Principal and Hamilton Smith (BFA Design and Technical Production – Lighting Design, ‘13) was promoted to Senior Associate at Available Light, the award-winning Lighting Design firm. The firm’s areas of specialization include museum exhibition lighting design, architectural lighting design and special event and trade show exhibit lighting design and production.

Brian Klimowski (BFA Musical Theatre, ’16) booked Cinderella at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Quinn Corrigan (BFA Musical Theatre, ’19) was in Legally Blonde at Chicago’s Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Amanda Valenzuela (BFA Musical Theatre, ’20) was in the World Premiere Opening of Million Dollar Quartet Christmas at the Phoenix Theatre. Josh Dunn (BFA Musical Theatre, ’17) was part of the world premiere of The Wanderer at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.

David Bornstein (BA Film & Television emphasis in Producing, ’13) was selected as one of 20 Fellows to participate in RespectAbility’s 2022 Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. More at The Hollywood Reporter.

Pretty Problems, a comedy feature written by and starring Michael Tennant (BFA Theatre Production, ’03), made its World Premiere at SXSW 2022, and was one of just two films acquired for distribution at the festival. IFC Films will distribute the film later this year (more at Deadline). Pretty Problems also won the Audience Award at SXSW and the top award at the Sonoma Film Festival. The film, about a couple whose relationship is put to the test when they try to fit in with new acquaintances during a weekend of wine and wealth, also stars Clayton Froning (BFA Acting ’07). A testament to both the on-screen and behind-the-camera talent of TFTV alumni, the crew of Pretty Problems features Second Unit Director of Photography Symeon Platts (BFA Film & Television, ’15), Key Grip Matt Cole (BA Film & Television, ’16), First Assistant Camera Pancho Ortiz and Second Assistant Camera Alejandro Olmedo (BA Film & Television, ’14). “I never really understood how important lighting was,” Tennant said. “Symeon Platts and Matt Cole came to us with so much input. They could show us in 30 minutes how to entirely black out a glass house.” Read the Deadline review.

Justin Mashouf (BFA Film & Television, ‘08) directed a heart-warming short and a series of national TV spots for Honda’s Project Courage. Read more.

Jaime Plá (BFA Acting, ‘20) published his first novel, The House of Wolves: The Tether, a page-turning sci-fi Western. The book is available at Barnes & Noble.

Ghosts(?), the hilarious senior thesis short film directed by Antonia Maher (BFA Film & Television, ’21) and starring Max Murray (BFA Acting, ’24) and Caitlin Bussey (BA Theatre, Film & Television Production & Studies, ‘23) won the award for Best Mockumentary Film at the Houston Comedy Film Festival.

Mosquito, a short film written by Jimmy Fay and directed by Alexis B. Preston (BFA Film & Television, ’14), was an official selection at the Portland Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, Los Angeles Women in Film, and the Napa Valley Film Festival. The film involved multiple TFTV alumni in front of and behind the camera including Cooper James (BFA Film & Television, ’14), Santiago Bahti (BA Film & Television, ’11), Brody Anderson (BFA Film & Television Arts, ’12), Emmet Andrews, Stephanie Coon (BFA Film & Television Arts, ’14), Michael Dean, Ben Dietzel, and Tom Smith. Read more.

Rachel Reznick (BA Film & Television, ‘13) co-produced the film Firestarter, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name starring Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, and Sydney Lemmon. The film was released nationally in May, 2022.

Voice actor Chris Okawa (BFA Musical Theatre, ‘16) plays the role of the narrator in Dafne and the Rest, a new Spanish television series that debuted on HBO Max in October 2021. Also this year, Okawa was the voice of the Pepsi “Gear Up” national radio campaign, and made his trailer debut voicing the King Richard Academy Award campaign, which aired on network television. Okawa is represented by Atlas Talent.


Human rights activist Isabel Garcia is interviewed for the documentary Las Mujeres de Manzo. Photo by Leslie Epperson

Associate Professor Michael Mulcahy received funding from the University of Arizona Research, Innovation and Impact Production Grant Program and the College of Fine Arts Small Grants Program to support the development of Making Arizona, a new documentary video series profiling everyday Arizonans dealing with the major challenges the state - and country - face, including climate change, drought, extreme heat and fire.

In order to better serve students identifying as transgender or non-binary, Associate Professor of Practice Darnell T. Roulhac received funding to study and teach gender-affirming speech and voice-training. Roulhac studied gender-affirming care, medical considerations, and voice feminization and masculinization tools.

Associate Professor Yuri Makino received funding to further her work researching American healthcare for a feature-length documentary entitled America’s Health. In the film, Makino examines the disruptors transforming American healthcare today, one community at a time.

Professor Lisanne Skyler received funding from the University of Arizona Research, Innovation and Impact Production Grant Program, the College of Fine Arts Small Grants Program, the Ray and Wyn Richie Evans Foundation and the Kadima Foundation in support of her documentary This Side of Midnight. The film, produced by Erin Wright (The New Bauhaus), explores the generation of creators who grew out of the 1980s New York club scene as the writers, visual artists, performers, designers, musicians, and filmmakers who made culture flourish when the city was economically crippled.

Professor Beverly Seckinger was part of a team awarded a production seed grant from the University of Arizona Office for Research, Innovation and Impact for Las Mujeres de Manzo, an upcoming film profiling the work of four long-time Chicana feminist activists at the forefront of immigration rights organizing in Southern Arizona: Isabel Garcia, Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, Guadalupe Castillo, and Margo Cowan. Seckinger’s team members include Associate Professor of Mexican American Studies Michelle Téllez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Associate Professor Ana Cornide, and Trayce Peterson from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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