Film Forum Faculty
Film Forum Volunteer Artistic Director:
Robert Walden is a three-time Emmy nominated actor for his portrayal of Joe Rossi, the reporter in the series Lou Grant. Walden has acted alongside many of the greats, including George C. Scott, Anthony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert DeNiro in Bloody Mama, which was filmed in Arkansas. He has worked with directors Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, and Alan Pakula. Walden is currently starring in the new TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced with Fran Drescher and Rita Moreno. He is an adjunct professor of acting at The New School University in New York City, lives on Petit Jean Mountain, and serves as Distinguished Artist in Residence and adjunct professor at the University of Central Arkansas.
is the film commissioner for the state of Arkansas. A Little Rock native, he has been in charge of the Arkansas Film Commission since 2007 and has worked to grow Arkansas’s film industry and increase the amount of film production in the state. Most recently, Crane helped bring about the Arkansas Production Alliance
, a partnership between the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Northwest Arkansas Council, Fifty for the Future, and the Film Commission. Branded “arfilm,” the Arkansas Production Alliance seeks to connect producers with Arkansas talent, locations, and incentives through its website at www.arkansasproduction.com
Joan Darling is an Emmy and Directors Guild of America winner. In the early '70s, she landed a regular acting role in the series Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law. She made her directing debut in First Love, and was the original director of the groundbreaking series, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, as well as director of the legendary Mary Tyler Moore Show episode, Chuckles Bites the Dust, which went on to be named by TV Guide as the number one best television episode. She teaches and mentors at the Sundance Film Labs and has taught at Moonstone in Ireland and Scotland. Darling served as a professor of acting and directing for six years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and recently presented a one-woman Shakespeare evening entitled Joni vs. the Bard: The Shakespeare Smackdown in New York and Los Angeles.
is a screenwriter, director, and actor. Drazan wrote and directed Imaginary Crimes
, starring Harvey Keitel, and the much-acclaimed independent film Zebrahead
. He also directed Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Chazz Palminteri in Hurlyburly
. Drazan has been an advisor at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab since 2000, both in the U.S. and at the International Labs in Mexico, Brazil, and Jordan. Currently teaching at the Columbia University Graduate Film School, Drazan has more than fifteen years of experience teaching and lecturing at such places as New York University, the Film is Not Dead workshops, and the American Film Institute. In addition to directing and teaching, he continues to produce screenplays and act, most recently performing the solo show The Nod
at venues and workshops around New York.
has been producing and directing award-winning documentary films since 1983. Her films have been narrated by Dustin Hoffman
, Meryl Streep
, Carl Lumbly
, and Luis Valdez
, among others. Her work as Consulting Producer on The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
took her to the 2012 Oscars where the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Short Documentary, following its Sundance Film Festival premiere in 2011. Her two most recent feature documentaries, Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice
and Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey
reveal Ginzberg’s unique ability to combine history with biography in films that engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Ginzberg has been a guest lecturer on the role of Documentaries as a Tool for Social Change at Yale, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, John Marshall and Vanderbilt Law Schools and will be teaching a 2013 winter session course at Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
is an Arkansas filmmaker and producer who works in film, web, and television. He is the co-founder and current principal of Category One Entertainment Group
, a production company based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jackson wrote, produced, and directed Where's My Close-up, Mr. Thornton?
, which was named Best Short Comedy at the Magnolia Independent Film Festival. He was also the producer for Looking for Lunch
, a documentary that received the Arkansas Times Audience Award at the Little Rock Film Festival. Most recently, he was the executive producer for the film The Last Ride
, a fact-based meditation on Hank Williams’s final days. Jackson also serves as a moderator and panelist at many film festivals and events.
Joel C. High
is a music supervisor and producer who has worked on over 100 films and television projects and also is chief executive for a company he co-founded in 2006. Over the last decade, he created and supervised the music departments for two of the leading independent studios in the industry: Trimark Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment. He built the publishing division for both companies and started the boutique soundtrack label Lions Gate Records. Joel is the music executive behind such films as Saw
, Monster’s Ball
, and the Leonard Cohen documentary I’m Your Man
. He oversaw Lionsgate’s first Academy Award nomination in the Original Song category, for Best Picture winner Crash
, and the Golden Globe–nominated score from Girl With a Pearl Earring
by Alexandre Desplat. Joel has been the music supervisor for all of Tyler Perry’s
films and has also worked with such directors as Marc Forster
, Peter Bogdanovich
, Don Roos
, Roger Avary
, James Foley
, Bill Paxton
, Billy Ray
, Mario Van Peebles
, Duane Adler
, and Rob Zombie
. He is a four-time nominee as outstanding Music Supervisor of the year and is a founding member and board member of the Guild of Music Supervisors
, and has previously served on the board for the California Copyright Conference
. Joel is currently the principal executive at Creative Control Entertainment
, a multi-faceted music supervision, consultation, live event, and production company, with offices in Los Angeles and New Orleans and diverse clients ranging from independent studios and national brands to international governments.
is a writer and actor with a career extending through theater, television, and film. Of his many film appearances, Luckinbill is best known for his roles in The Boys in the Band
, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
. On television, Luckinbill has appeared in Murder, She Wrote
and Law & Order
. He wrote the Emmy-winning biographical story for the NBC TV special, Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie
. His stage work includes Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, such as his Tony-nominated part in The Shadow Box. Luckinbill currently tours the world portraying Lyndon Johnson, Clarence Darrow, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway in his award-winning solo performances. Luckinbill has also been inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame and recently served as the McIlroy Family Visiting Professor in Performing and Visual Arts at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, his alma mater.
is the chief film critic, MovieStyle
editor and a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
. In 20 years at the Democrat-Gazette
, he has won a number of national and regional prizes for his criticism and columns, including two Green Eyeshade Awards and two Great Plains Journalism Awards. Currently serving as the president of the Southeastern Film Critics Association
, he’s also the author of two books of essays, The Shortstop’s Son and The Artificial Southerner and the monkey in the nose cone of the Blood, Dirt & Angels
blog. In his journalistic career, Martin has been a sportswriter, a criminal investigator (along with Dallas-based Hugh Aynesworth he wrote some of the first stories casting doubt on serial killer Henry Lee Lucas’s claims to have murdered more than 400 people), a political columnist, a sports editor, the executive editor of an alternative weekly, and a newspaper executive in charge of a small chain.
writes about movies, culture, and sports style for Grantland
. He won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for criticism for his film and culture writing for the Boston Globe
, which included essays on the films of Sydney Lumet
, the legacy of Steve Jobs, and the complexities of race in The Help
and The Fast and the Furious
series. His work has also appeared in Slate, Film Comment, and Ebony. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
has worked as a production executive for multiple Los Angeles-based entertainment companies and serves as a creative consultant for Aardman Animation in the U.K. She is a producer in both film and television, and is currently in pre-production on DreamWorks Animation’s B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations
for a 2015 release and is developing Flanimals
, a film adaptation of Ricky Gervais’s
popular book series, at Universal. Pledger recently executive produced Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
also for Universal, which starred Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly. For her work in television, she has received Woman in Film’s Lillian Gish Producer Award and an Emmy nomination. In her home state of Arkansas, Pledger is the interim director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
. She has also been named the first executive director of the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute
. Founded in 2011, AMPI is focused on expanding film education and supporting the growth of film, television, and digital media in the state.
Craig Renaud, in partnership with his brother, Brent, has spent the last decade producing award-winning news and documentary programs around the world. Renaud brothers productions have appeared on most of the major news and television outlets in the United States and have also aired abroad. Renaud is a regular contributor to The New York Times and co-founder of the Little Rock Film Festival. Most recently, the Renaud brothers traveled to the front lines of the drug war in Juarez, Mexico, where they produced a five-part video series for The New York Times online. Along with his important work in nationally recognized filmmaking projects, he remains active in the Little Rock Film Festival and other Arkansas film-related endeavors.
Tom Schulman is an award winning screenwriter. Schulman is best known for Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams, which won Schulman an Oscar. He wrote and directed the film 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, winning a Silver Raven award at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Schulman also wrote the screenplays for Medicine Man, What About Bob?, Welcome to Mooseport, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. He was honored by the Writers Guild of America, USA, with the Valentine Davies Award for elevating the art of writing in 2008 and served as vice president for the Writers Guild of America, West, in 2009.
Sandra Seacat is a distinguished acting coach, actor, and director with Broadway, film, and television credits to her name. As an acting coach and teacher she has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, among them Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lange, Laura Dern, Ryan Gosling, Colin Farrell, Andrew Garfield, Michelle Williams and others. Seacat has appeared in a range of films since the late 70’s including Crazy in Alabama, The Baby Dance, Country, Frances, Daddy and Them (playing Billy Bob Thornton’s mother and filmed in Arkansas) and more. Most recently she has acted in HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack (with Al Pacino) and Enlightened (Laura Dern), and the upcoming films The Time Being (Wes Bentley and Frank Langella) and director Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto. Seacat directed the film In the Spirit (Peter Falk, Elaine May, Marlo Thomas, Olympia Dukakis).
is a documentarian whose films about American politics have won numerous national honors including multiple Emmys, Peabodys and du-Pont-Columbia Journalism awards. His films include Sundance Special Jury Prize winner George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire
(directed and produced with Dan McCabe), Vote for Me: Politics in America
(directed and produced with Louie Alvarez and Andy Kolker), Last Man Standing: Politics Texas Style
(which aired on PBS’s P.O.V. series), two of the Eyes on the Prize
civil rights series films, and Frontline’s The Choice 2008
, about the Obama-McCain election race, which he co-produced and wrote with director Michael Kirk. Dr. Stekler has a doctorate in American politics and worked as political pollster in Louisiana. He lives in Austin where he teaches documentary film production and is the Chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas.
Bill Svanoe is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Svanoe has created highly acclaimed television movies including Miles to Go, which won a Christopher Award; Terror on the Beach; Returning Home; Superdome; The Cardboard House; The Six Million Dollar Man; The Dreammakers; and Sparks. Films include Waltz Across Texas, starring Anne Archer, and Fatal Beauty, starring Whoopi Goldberg. His first play, The Newstand, won New Playwright Awards in New York and Holland. The Black Duck and Punch and Judy have been published, and five plays were produced in Los Angeles. Trader Jack headlined a Key West Theatre Festival. Svanoe and his wife, Joan Darling, divide their time between California and North Carolina.
has worked in the film industry for more than three decades as a producer, studio executive, and consultant. At studios such as MGM, Warner Bros., and Orion, Tarnoff supervised or produced many films, including The Year of Living Dangerously
, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
, and Poltergeist
. As head of show development at DreamWorks Animation SKG, he initiated the Academic Outreach Program to recruit entry-level animation artists and engineers from leading universities worldwide. Through his consulting firm, Newspeak Media LLC, Tarnoff has worked with clients including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The ACME Network, an online mentorship community. Currently he is the head of industry relations for the Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College.