The Film and Video Studies Faculty come from many units across campus. Faculty expertise ranges from film theory and history to video production and management which is what makes the Film and Video Studies multidisciplinary degree so rich and exciting.
The FAVS faculty teach everything a graduate needs to enter the film industry: scriptwriting, acting, management, critical theory and history, production (multimedia, sound, video, digital), ethics, management, and presentation of their materials. Through the faculty, the program itself, gives students the academic and experience with real film industry professionals both in the classroom as well as in the field.
Professor Chesler is the Director of the Film and Video Studies Program, Associate Professor in the Communication Department, Concentration Head for the Film and Video Studies concentration in the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies program, and affiliated faculty in Women and Gender Studies. She teaches courses in film and video production and theory, and transmedia for social change. Giovanna is a Director and Producer of documentary and fiction film through her production company G6 Pictures. She earned an M.F.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State (with the distinction of Most Distinguished Graduate) and a B.A. from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in Anthropology (with Highest Distinction) and a minor in Women’s Studies.
Currently, Giovanna is a Producer on blair doroshwalther’s documentary feature Out in the Night, a co-production of Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Out in the Night tells the story of four young African-American lesbian friends who became criminals for defending themselves. The film premiered in documentary competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is currently on tour internationally. It received support from the Sundance Film Institute, Cinereach, the Jerome Foundation, Frameline, Astraea Lesbian Justice Foundation, NYSCA, the Women in Film Finishing Fund, and other foundations. The United Nations launched the film initiative for the Free and Equal Campaign to address homophobia and transphobia worldwide with Out in the Night. The film will play in 77 countries in screenings hosted by the UN. As a Producer, Giovanna was selected to participate in the Film Independent Artist Development Program Fast Track with Out in the Night. Her feature narrative work in development includes Java, a dramatic work of speculative fiction around memory loss, trauma and an unlikely friendship.
Giovanna's previous films have screened at over 120 film festivals in 15 countries. Her hour long documentary Period: The End of Menstruation? (16mm, 54 min) on cultural and medical trends in menstruation (distributed by Cinema Guild, New York) became a touchstone on the menstrual suppression debate when it was covered on the front-page of the The New York Times. Her short films include Bye Bi Love (HD, 17min, 2010) a fictional melodrama about a woman who receives an invitation to her ex-girlfriend's wedding, BeauteouS: The Trilogy (BeauteouS, BeauteouS: Giovanna and BeauteouS: Stephanie) an examination of three sisters and their relationships to beauty (16mm, 43 min) and hand-some, a reflexive documentary on a failing lesbian relationship (16mm, 13 min) distributed by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. Awards for Giovanna's films include Honorable Mention in Fiction Filmmaking from the University Film and Video Association for Bye Bi Love in 2010, the Gold Plaque Award for Best Student Documentary from the Chicago International Film Festival in 2000 for BeauteouS: Stephanie, and Honorable Mention in documentary from the Georgetown Independent Film Festival for BeauteouS: Stephanie.
Her new media work includes Tune in HPV, a web television channel for awareness, expression and entertainment around the human papillomavirus. This project was a collaborative piece made with her students at American University in a course on Communication and Social Change. She is the Transmedia Producer on Out in the Night, developing innovative outreach and engagement projects in collaboration with technology partners and community groups working on social justice issues that intersect with the themes of the film.
Giovanna’s publications include “Truth in the Mix: Frederick Wiseman’s Construction of the Observational Microphone” (Jump Cut, Fall 2012). This essay updates her earlier chapter in an edited collection on Wiseman's work in DFI Vorwerk. Other essays include the co-authored essay "Collaborative Media Production, Authorship, and Distribution." (Issues in Engaged Scholarship: An Exploration of Community-Campus Collaborations. Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership & NYMAPS. New York, 2013) with Rebecca Mushtare, “Re-Presenting Choice: Tune in HPV”, “Drop by Drop: Cinematic Menstrual Activism One Viewer At a Time” (Sex Roles, April 2011) a co-authored chapter on her Tune in HPV project published in Three Shots at Prevention: The HPV Vaccine and the Politics of Medicine's Simple Solutions (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010) with Bree Kessler, “The Audio First Classroom: A Sound Place for Engagement with Theory and Practice” (Jump Cut, 2007) on sound pedagogy in the video classroom. She has served on the selection committee for the AFI Silverdocs Film Festival and has curated film programs for the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, Cabinet Magazine, and Ladyfest San Diego. She has worked with the Center for Social Media at American University as a media fellow on Fair Use issues.
Giovanna is an active member of Film Independent and IFP.
M.F.A., San Francisco State University, Cinema
Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Director, Film and Video Studies
Concentration Head, MAIS Film and Video Studies Concentration
A327 Robinson Hall
Office Hours: By appointment
Envision, United Nations screening of OUT IN THE NIGHT, July 2014
Outfest, Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, July 2014
Los Angeles International Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Frameline, San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, New York with OUT IN THE NIGHT, June 2014
Deerfield Progressive Forum, Deerfield Beach, FL with OUT IN THE NIGHT, March 2014
Chair, STEM+Culture at STEM+Women conference, GMU, March 2014
Transgender representation in Orange is the New Black, GMU, March 2014
Docs in Progress Decade of Docs, Feb 2014
"Professor's Film Examines Infamous New York Crime Case" George Mason University News, June 30 2014
Tommy Britt has been at George Mason University since 2007, when he was hired as the first full-time faculty member of the Film and Video Studies program. Tommy has created several courses within the program, including Ethics of Film and Video and Genre Studies.
Tommy's documentaries and music videos have screened internationally. His essays on film and popular music are available in edited volumes and print and online journals. PopMatters publishes "On Principle", Tommy's column about media ethics.
MFA, 2005, Ohio University, Script Writing, Documentary
Associate Professor, Film and Video Studies
A407G de Laski Performing Arts Building
Office Hours: Tuesday, 3:30pm-4:30pm
Other days/times by appointment
Hans Charles started studying cinema at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center and worked for Tracey Edmonds (Soulfood, Set it Off) , Bridget Davis (Sister Act II, Hav Plenty) and Patrick Ian Polk (Punks, Noah’s Ark) at Edmonds Entertainment. After leaving Los Angeles, Mr. Charles pursued his MFA in film at Howard University’s School of Communication. While a graduate student, he produced his first feature Like Water, but developed an eye for cinematography. He has shot for a range of directors including Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay (Venus vs) and Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom, Sparkle) and has worked on several films including Entre Nos, Pariah, Middle of Nowhere, and Mother of George . They have screened at at festivals all over the world including, Urban World Film Festival, the New York City Latino Film Festival, OutFest, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Zanzibar Film Festival, the Black Star film festival, HBO and ESPN. Hans was a former professor of Cinematography at Howard University, and is currently working on BET network’s new television series The Start Up.
MFA, Howard University, School of Communication
Assistant Professor, Film and Video Studies
A407B de Laski performing Arts Building
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday, 10:30am-11am
Assistant Professor Benjamin Steger joined Film and Video Studies at George Mason University in the fall of 2010. Benjamin has several years of experience as a producer, director, videographer, and sound recordist for documentary, fiction, and corporate films and videos. Before coming to Mason, Benjamin served as an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University Chicago. Benjamin holds a MFA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Theatre and Film from the University of Kansas.
MFA, 2005, Columbia College Chicago, Assistant Professor, Film and Video Studies.
Assistant Professor, Film and Video Studies
A407H de Laski Performing Arts Building
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Phone : 703-993-5091
John Kowalski is the Program Coordinator for Film and Video Studies. John is the primary academic advisor for all undergraduates in the BA Film and Video Studies program. He also manages course scheduling, curriculum development, video and computer equipment, and program administration. John obtained a BS in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University.
B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University, Mass Communication
Yi Chen has a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Electronic Media from American University. She has produced digital media across platforms for organization include the United Nations, Times Square, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, MIT TechTV, Link TV, American Idol, Hillwood Museum, Voice of America, Asian Fortune Magazine and many others.
Chen’s films have screened at over 15 film festivals in the United States, Canada and China. She was named “Filmmaker of the Month” by District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in April 2013. NBC Washington recognized her “contributions and achievements in our community” in May 2014. Her films have received a number of awards including two Peer Awards by TIVA-DC, Best Narrative Short by Our City Film Festival and Excellence Award by Trans-Pacific Youth Documentary Competition.
Chen has spoken on topics include Asian cinema, documentary filmmaking and media literacy at International Media in Transition Conference, D.C. Historical Studies Conference, EuroAsia Shorts Film Festival, DC Shorts Film Festival, and East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference.
Chen is currently working on a trans-media project as a 2014 Artist Fellow selected by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The project is an extension of her latest documentary “Chinatown,” which has screened across the country to advocate for low-income limited English proficient immigrants impacted by gentrification. The film has been featured on the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, National Public Radio, AsAm news, Public Asian, Montgomery Community Media, Arlington Independent Media, and Howard Community College Television.
Prior to joining FAVS, Chen has taught at American University, Edmund Burke School, and Montgomery County public schools. Chen is a resident of Chevy Chase, Washington, DC.
MFA, American University, Film and Electric Media
FAVS 365/565: Documentary Filmmaking
Rob Farr is the executive producer for Arlington TV, Arlington County's government cable channel and website. In his reel life, he has authored or co-authored articles on silent film and early film comedy and is acknowledged for contributions in several books on the subject. In 2003 he founded the Slapsticon, a four-day film festival celebrating silent and early sound comedies. The 10-year anniversary Slapsticon was hosted by Indiana University - Bloomington in June 2013. He is currently teaching History of World Cinema (FAVS 225) at George Mason.
Office Hours: TBD
FAVS 225: The History of World Cinema
Cynthia Fuchs is the director of Film & Media Studies at George Mason University. She is also Associate Professor of English, African and African American Studies, Film and Video Studies, and Sport and American Culture at Mason. Cynthia is the the film and TV editor at PopMatters.com.
PhD, 1989, University of Pennsylvania 1989
Associate Professor, Film and Video Studies
Robinson Hall A461
Phone : 703-993-2768
ENGH 319: Film and Video Forms
Dr. Kehoe is Director of Educational Media Services and the Senior Executive Producer at GMU-TV. She serves on the board of directors of the Communications Media Management Association and has been inducted into the International Academy of Visual Arts. Kehoe is one of only a handful of individuals twice honored as one of the Top 100 Media Producers in the nation by AV Video Multimedia Producer Magazine.
Dr. Kehoe has won over three-dozen video awards including an Outstanding Individual Achievement Gracie award from the Alliance for Women in Media.
DA, 2000, George Mason University
Office Hours: TBD
Phone : 703-993-3108
FAVS 399: Web Series
Amanda Kraus became a proud member of George Mason University’s FAVS department in the Fall of 2011. Miss Kraus teaches COMM 360 - Video Editing and FAVS 460 - Advanced Video Editing. Amanda has worked successfully in the entertainment industry for over 16 years. In this time, she has worked in a variety of crew positions. Though primarily an editor, she has also worked as a Producer, Production Manager, Post Production Supervisor, Director and Sound Designer/Recordist. In general, Amanda is an all-around filmmaker.
She has also taught college-level filmmaking courses for 13 years. Prior to Mason, Amanda taught Video Editing, Sound Design and the Advance Production Workshop courses at Columbia College Hollywood (CCH), her alma mater. She also played a key role and revamping the sound curriculum at CCH. It is there she earned the “Teacher Of The Year” award in 2005.
She currently holds a senior level position at GMU-TV where she makes educational television programming for the university. Amanda loves her role at GMU-TV and continues to learn something new every day! Her work at Mason since 2006 has earned her over 2 dozen industry awards including the Gracie Allen Award and several Tellys.
Continued growth as a filmmaker and seeking new challenges is always on Amanda’s horizon. She loves to edit, loves to teach and loves being a part of the FAVs department at Mason!
Office Hours: TBD
Phone : 703-993-4592
COMM 360: Video Editing I
Dr. Lont is the former Director of Film and Video Studies and Professor in the Communication Department. Her degrees include an A.A. from Auburn Community College, a B.A. from the State University of New York at Oswego, MA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Lont serves as President of the Eastern Communication Association.
Her honors include the 2011 Videographer Honorable Mention for FAVS Studio A with guest Mark Stoeckinger, 2011 Communicator Award of Distinction for FAVS Studio A with guest Andrew Simpson, 2010 Communicator Award of Distinction for FAVS Studio A with guest Cuong LeNguyen as well as 2009 Telly Bronze Award, 2009 Davey Silver Award, 2009 Videographer Honorable Mention, and a 2008 Gracie Award from the American Women of Radio and Television. Dr. Lont served as guest speaker at the National Women's History Museum Katharine Hepburn Exhibit Opening at the National Portrait Gallery and earned the National Communication Association's Mass Communication Division’s Teaching Award honoring excellent teaching in the mass communication field.
Her most recent publication is co-authored with Dr. Xiaomei Cai (2012) “The Unchanging Face of the News: A Content Analysis of Online News Websites” published in Rebecca Lind’s Race/Gender/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers, 3rd edition.
PhD, 1984, University of Iowa , Professor, Communication Department, Video Production, Women and Media, Visual Communication Theory
Professor, Department of Communication
Sam Meddis is an adjunct professor of Film and Video Studies. He is also an adjunct professor of Journalism at American University. He has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in video from George Mason University. In addition to video production, he studied film theory and the cinema of China and Japan.
Meddis is the former video team lead at USA TODAY, where he oversaw an award-winning group of video journalists and helped to develop a digital video strategy focused on expanding production and spreading visual-storytelling skills across the newsroom. He was previously a USA TODAY deputy managing editor, a role in which he helped oversee news coverage and operations of usatoday.com, coordinated training programs for print and online editorial staff, and supervised the editorial technology group.
He is a founding member both of usatoday.com and USA TODAY the newspaper. Beginning at the paper’s founding in 1982, he served as lead reporter covering the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. In 1995, he became founding technology editor for usatoday.com.
His reporting has won a number of awards, including: a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, a Unity Award for Investigative Reporting from Lincoln University’s Department of Journalism, a Champion of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a public service award from Investigative Reporters & Editors.
Office Hours: TBD
FAVS 225: The History of World Cinema
Lisa Thraser, J.D., is an Independent Film Producer, Entertainment Law Specialist and Film Professor, currently an Adjunct Film Business Professor at George Mason University. Lisa earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, focusing on Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law and studied at Parsons School of Design and Virginia Commonwealth University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography & Film.
At POWER UP Films, Lisa was President of Film Production & Distribution conducting all Film, TV & PSA development, production and distribution, including: “GIRLTRASH: All Night Long;” “ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE,” (Berlinale “Teddy Award” Nominee & South by Southwest “Best Narrative Feature Jury Award); “Get to Know Us First” PSA (NBC, ABC, CBS); “Little Black Boot,” (Sundance) “Billy’s Dad is a Fudge-Packer” (Sundance) and “DEBS,” (Sundance, Berlinale); and Stuck (Sundance.)
At 20th Century Fox, Lisa did International Anti-Piracy Litigation & Trademark Prosecution and Anti-Piracy Advocacy seated on the Motion Picture Association's International Anti-Piracy Committee with Sony, Universal, MGM, Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros where Lisa conducted negotiations with Foreign Heads of State, including Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, to protect the Studios’ Films.
Also a Film Professor/Film Festival Panelist at: Chung Ang University in Seoul, Korea; The Goethe Institut in Johannesburg, South Africa and The South African Broadcasting Corp in Cape Town for Out in Africa; University at Buffalo; Ohio State University “Pop! Impact Forum;” Madrid’s Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences; South by Southwest “Gender and Sexuality in Film;” and a Short Film Screener for the Sundance Film Festival. Lisa also worked on documentaries for Producer Michael Paseornek, CEO/Founder of Lion’s Gate Films, and a Reality Television Producer on "Lunch Box Heros" (NBC) starring Leslie Nielson and "Open For Business" (PBS) starring Itzhak Perlman.
FAVS 355: Business of Film and Video
Richard Wood is General Manager and Executive Producer at GMU-TV, with nearly two decades of experience crafting messages for screen as a Producer/Director/DP/Editor. In addition to his role at GMU-TV, Richard is also a Managing Partner at a boutique production company, Chalk Line Productions, who specialize in corporate communications and documentary.
Office Hours: TBD
Phone : 703-993-3116
FAVS 335: Sound and Lighting for Film and Video
Cherelle is the Programs Assistant for the Film and Video Studies & Film and Media Studies programs. She coordinates social media, communications, marketing, public relations, manages events, and creates promotional materials for both programs.
B.A., Hampton University, Print Journalism
Programs Assistant, Film and Video & Film and Media Studies
Phone: (703) 993-3287
Micayla is a senior in the Film and Video Studies program and works part-time as a Student Program Assistant. She coordinates video equipment check out to students, videography and video editing of campus events, and assists the faculty and staff with office administration.
John is a senior in the Film and Video Studies program and works part-time as a Student Program Assistant. He coordinates video equipment check out to students, videography and video editing of campus events, and assists the faculty and staff with office administration.
Marcela is a senior New Media Arts major and works part-time as a Student Program Assistant. She coordinates video equipment check out to students, videography and video editing of campus events, and assists the faculty and staff with office administration.