Who We Are

RTF faculty and staff combine real-world industry experience with award-winning teaching expertise. Our faculty have worked for major film studios like Disney, won Texas Emmys for work on hit PBS shows, managed major television production facilities, screened films at prestigious film festivals, and received international, national and local grants for artists and educators.

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Mitch Abney

Associate Adjunct Professor

I hail from a farm near Champaign, IL & still miss the phenomenon of 4 seasons. I received my Bachelors in Media Studies from the University of Illinois, then moved to Austin where I earned my Masters in the Dept. of Critical & Cultural Studies in Film. My thesis was an economic study of Warner Bros. cartoons – meaning I earned major college credit for discussing pigs, ducks, & rabbits. I used to manage Vulcan Video (still the best!) & am currently a Patient Navigator with the American Cancer Society. I have a lovely wife named Angela & we have a mischievous Corgi named Murphy. I am on my second stint of teaching at ACC & have honestly loved every minute of it. I can narrow my favorite films down to five (check your syllabus…) : Wings of Desire, Night of the Hunter, Black Narcissus, Ikiru, & The Third Man. I still remember drive-ins & miss the days of 1 theater : 1 film.

Amy Bench

Adjunct Professor

Amy Bench is a cinematographer and filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. She took a circuitous path to filmmaking, first working as an engineer for Eastman Kodak before pursuing an MFA in directing at the University of Texas. She has been twice nominated for the Kodak Excellence in Cinematography Award, won grants from the Texas Filmmaker’s Production Fund, Women in Film- Dallas, and the Department of Education’s Jacob K. Javits Fellowship.

After obtaining her MFA, Amy spent a few years in New York, working on a number of projects with Maysles Films, camera assisting on 30 Rock, shooting for MTV’s high school reality series “MADE,” and studying photography with documentary photographer Amy Arbus.

Amy is currently teaching production and film studies classes at the University of Texas and Austin Community College, and shooting features, docs, music videos, and commercials. Her work has screened at festivals including SXSW, Berlin, and Sundance.

Mark D. Cunningham

Adjunct Professor

Mark CunninghamMark D. Cunningham received his Ph.D. in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation considered narrative, race, and gender in John Singleton’s hood trilogy: Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Baby Boy. His research interests include film studies, literature, popular culture studies, and race studies. He has contributed an essay on the film Crooklyn for The Spike Lee Reader, edited by Paula J. Massood, an essay on the film adaptation of the Twilight novels for Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the Twilight Series, edited by Anne Morey, an essay on the television show Noah’s Arc for the forthcoming anthology Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences, edited by Beretta Smith-Shomade, and entries on Dave Chappelle and The Hughes Brothers for the African-American National Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. He is currently at work on an essay for an anthology on black film and another for an anthology focusing on the career of rapper/actor Ice-T.

 

Laura DiMeo

Instruction Associate/Adjunct Professor

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DiMeo

A transplant from Boston to Austin, Laura DiMeo graduated from North Adams State College in the Berkshires (Hill Country) of Massachusetts. For the past three decades, Laura has crewed as a Best Boy Grip, Dolly Grip and Electric on independent and feature films, national and local commercials, rock videos, television series and sporting events. In the 80’s, she became the first woman on the East coast to pass the IATSE Union classification as third electric and third grip. Laura enjoyed 25 years of employment as a freelancer for the video and scenic departments at WGBH, the PBS flagship station. Some of the shows she worked steadily on were: “Antiques Roadshow”, “Masterpiece Theatre”, “Nova”, “Mystery!” and “The Boston Pops.” Her feature and television credits for first and second unit include “A Case of Deadly Force,” “Against the Law,” “Blown Away,” “Big Time,” “The Brinks Job,” “Cheers,” “The Crucible,” “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control,” “The Fitzgeralds & the Kennedys,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Glory,” “Karate Kid III,” “Lianna,” “Once Around,” “School Ties,” and “Warlock.”

Since moving to Texas in 2005, “Hey, Laura?” worked as a Lab/Teaching Assistant for the RTF Dept at Austin Community College, while attaining the dual Workforce Certificates in Film/Video Production Technology and Management. In the fall of 2010, Laura was given the “wicked awesome” opportunity to share her professional film production knowledge with ACC students as an Adjunct Professor. In Spring 2011, she additionally accepted a RTF support position as Instructional Associate.

 

Philip Fagan

Associate Adjunct Professor

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Raised in Teheran, Iran, Philip R. Fagan has traveled extensively throughout the US, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.  In addition to four years at sea with the US Navy, he has worked as a bartender, day laborer, public school teacher, travel agency manager, and as a Texas State-Certified Private Investigator. He has attended more punk rock shows and midnight movies than he cares to remember even if he could.

Fagan received his B.A. degree from the University of North Texas, where he studied film, literature and theater and received the President’s Screenwriting Award. He went on to receive an M.A. degree in film studies and new media from Northern Illinois University in 2006, where he produced the feature film “Welldigger” as his thesis. He studied media and culture in Ireland for both degrees before returning to Austin, Texas in 2007.

A passionate and literate cineaste and working filmmaker, his work has been featured locally at the Lone Star Film Festival, Alamo Drafthouse, and AFS Cinema, as well as Anthology Film Archives in New York. His film and multimedia work has also been commissioned for gallery installations, served as opening acts for touring musicians, and received the live musical score treatment. He continues to enjoy collaborations with musicians and performance-based artists. 

As a film programmer, he has curated, introduced films, and written program notes for the Austin Film Society, Alamo Drafthouse, the Contemporary Austin, the University of Texas, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. From 2015-2019, he was a lead programmer for Austin’s Experimental Response Cinema, presenting a wide array of works of the classic and contemporary avant-garde cinema.

Fagan’s current research and work includes a film and book project on his late uncle. Philip Norman Fagan was a true Beat era maverick: Motorcycle gang member and world speed champion, wandering monk in war torn Southeast Asia, performance artist, and underground film pioneer. The project chronicles his involvement in the various subcultures of the 1950s and 60s, including his collaborations and relationships with William Burroughs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Gregory Markopoulos, Jonas Mekas, Marie Menken, Jack Smith, and Andy Warhol, among others. 

Fagan has taught academic film studies and production courses at Austin Community College since 2009 and began teaching at the University of Texas in 2019. His areas of focus include Silent Cinema,  Film Noir; Underground and Experimental film; Hollywood and European Cinemas of the 1950s, 60s and 70s; German, British, Irish and Scandinavian Cinemas; Documentary; Portrayals of race, social class, and gender in cinema; Postmodernism and emerging media; Cultural Studies; and  Literature and literary theory.

 

jFroeschleJames Froeschle

Assistant Department Chair

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James Froeschle currently teaches as an Associate Professor at Austin Community College. He earned his Master’s of FIne Arts degree in Film and Television production from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with an honors degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. He has studied filmmaking at New York University and screenwriting in the Writer’s Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professionally, James has worked as a music video director for Warner/Elecktra Records and as an editor for Austin’s CBS news affiliate.

Angel Granados

Adjunct Associate Professor

angel.granados@austincc.edu

Granados Catalina AplysiaÁngel Granados is a recent returnee to the Austin film community after having lived and worked in Los Angeles and San Diego for over a decade.  While in Los Angeles, Ángel served as an in-house cinematographer for the American Society of Cinematographers and American Cinematographer Magazine.

Throughout his career, Ángel has directed and photographed a variety of award-winning projects including narrative features and shorts, documentaries, and commercials.  His film work has taken him to five continents around the globe and his films have screened in a number of festivals including SXSW and Cine Las Americas.  In 2012, Ángel won the CINE Golden Eagle Award for his cinematography on the short film Waltham Vanguard. He also photographed television pilot Hollywood Heights which won a Student Emmy in 2007 and the documentary Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits which won an Emmy in 2008.

Ángel has lectured about film production, film directing and cinematography at UCLA; San Diego State University; Howard University were he was an Assistant Professor in Media, Journalism, and Film; and Autonomous University of Baja California in Mexicali, Mexico.  At Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City, continues to build a curriculum for the communication department’s budding film production program.  In 2012, Ángel was a fellow at the Global Cinematography Institute in Hollywood and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Cinematography from University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master of Arts degree in Television, Film, and New Media – Directing from San Diego State University.

Jay Hubert

Associate Professor

jay.hubert@austincc.edu

Jay Hubert began his professional filmmaking career in China while studying in the cinematography department at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy. He worked for several years as an assistant to top-tier Chinese cinematographer Wang Yu on numerous commercials and feature films before striking out on his own to direct, shoot, and/or edit a number of commercials, documentaries, and promos for clients such as Apple, Volkswagen, Chevy, Peugeot, Intel, Lenovo, China Unicom, Bud Light, Discovery, Vice, Nylon, and Xiaomi, while also working on several Chinese feature films. In 2013 he served as director of photography and co-editor for Volkswagen Group China’s “People’s Car Project – Building the Car Series”, a 10-episode web series awarded a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions.
Hubert has written and directed over two dozen short films in various countries and languages, screening and winning awards at numerous film festivals around the world. Twice he has had films selected for the nationwide PBS Online Film Festival. He is also an award-winning photographer and writer, and has been nominated for the HUMANITAS David and Lynn Angell Comedy Fellowship. Hubert has spent more than a dozen years of his adult life in Asia, and is fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, conversant in Cantonese and Korean, and speaks just enough Mongolian to make his mother-in-law laugh hysterically.

Dr. Jean Anne Lauer

Professor

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Dr. Jean Anne Lauer has promoted the development and exhibition of Latinx, Iberoamerican, and Indigenous film and media since 2004. She first discovered her passion for the field when working with the International Pitching Market at the Guanajuato International Film Festival (Guanajuato, Mexico, 2004 through 2013). Since then, Jean has also worked with Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (Austin, TX, 2008 to present), and with Fantastic Fest (Austin, TX, 2013 to present). Currently, she teaches courses at ACC in the Dept. of Philosophy, Religion, and Humanities and the Dept. of Radio-Television-Film. Along with building a professional résumé and working with filmmakers in the US and abroad, Jean holds an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature, and an M.A. in Humanities, both from Arizona State University. Jean completed her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in the Dept. of Radio-Television-Film. Jean has been a faculty member at ACC since Fall of 2005.

Clay Lifford

Professor

Clay+LifordClay is a graduate of the University of Texas film program. He has written and directed three features, including WUSS (SXSW 2011, AFI 2011 Audience Award Winner) and EARTHLING (SXSW 2010). His comedy short, MY MOM SMOKES WEED, has played over forty festivals, including the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

 

As a director of photography, Clay has shot twenty features, including the award winning films ST. NICK(SXSW 2009) and GAYBY (SXSW 2012). The feature script for SLASH was a participant in the 2013 IFP Emerging Storytellers lab. Clay also recently produced the Sundance 2014 short film RAT PACK RAT, and a segment of the upcoming ABCs OF DEATH 2. He is currently in post production on his latest feature, SLASH.

 

Nate Locklear

 Adjunct Professor

Nathan “Nate” Locklear is an award-winning filmmaker and content creator.  Before working with the RTF department Nate received his Associate of Arts degree from ACC then went on to the University of Texas where he received his Bachelor of Science in RTF.  Some of his work includes a web series and multi-platform story titled, Once You Leave for which he won several Telly Awards, a Webby Award and an Indie Series Award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing. He was also the Co-Producer, Director of Photography and Editor for the first two seasons of the hit PBS show The Daytripper. He won two Emmy® Awards for his work.

Nate has been working with the RTF department since 2002. He developed and teaches the Film and Video Editing courses and helped developed the current production program. Between 2007-2015 Nate was the Equipment Manager overseeing all production equipment for the department.  Currently he teaches and helps supervise the open editing lab times.  He is certified in the Final Cut Pro editing program, trained in Avid, Final Cut X and Adobe Premiere.

 

Christian Raymond

Department Chair

cRaymondChristian Raymond’s adventures in media range from writing screenplays at Walt Disney Pictures to producing story-driven educational films distributed worldwide, to creating film projects in partnership with under-resourced communities in Transylvania. He also served as head editor of the film journal Persistence of Vision, designing issues and writing on topics like narrative innovation in the digital age.

As an educator, he’s developed recognized programs de novo like the Austin Film Society’s multifaceted community program at Austin Studios, and has taught in high school and colleges, including New Media Literacy in RTF at the University of Texas at Austin. Raymond’s community/creative initiatives have received support or been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, CEC Artslink, the Southby Southwest Interactive Festival and many others.

 

 

David Schneider

Adjunct Professor/Instructional Associate

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david.schneider@austincc.eduDavid Schneider

David Schneider began his media career as a 15 year-old radio announcer in rural North Carolina. His involve
ment with radio continued with four years of service at WXYC-FM in Chapel Hill, NC where he rose to the position of Program Director. While working at WXYC David also managed to earn a degree in Radio, Television and Motion Pictures from the University of North Carolina with a specialization in Broadcast Journalism.

After college David’s interest turned to television production. From an entry level position as a camera operator at a small television station David worked his way up the ladder to become an accomplished director of news and entertainment programming. He spent over two decades directing at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, part of the Disney/ABC Television Group. David has extensive experience directing live multi-camera productions including live music performances with artists ranging from the Philadelphia Orchestra to Elton John.

David is also an accomplished video editor working primarily on long format entertainment and magazine type formats.

In 2014 David received an M.A. in Media Studies and Production from Temple University’s School of Communication and Media

 

Elisabeth Sikes

Associate Adjunct Professor


eSikesI spent three months as Lead Trash Girl (aka Locations Assistant) on the set of Miss Congeniality. My first day of work, as I picked up errant soda cans, candy wrappers, and random script pages from the Pease Elementary playground; I came across a small scrap of paper. Penciled in prophetic words: “My Brother said you are a dumdass” [sic]

Following my stint in the Hollywood dream factory, I spent six years as Director of Artist Services at the Austin Film Society. I’ve been a Super-8 enthusiast, wedding video editor, volunteer at SXSW and Fantastic Fest, and, apparently, a dumdass.

My preoccupations include independent films (comedies and documentaries especially), character-driven television, noncommercial radio, and small yappy dogs.
I hold a MFA degree in Film Production from UT-Austin as well as a BS (!) in Radio-Television-Film from Syracuse University.

Michael Thielvoldt

Associate Adjunct Professor

Michael Thielvoldt earned a B.A. double major in Film and Electronic Arts and Communication Studies from California State University Long Beach and a M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin’s Radio-Television-Film department. His academic interests gravitate toward film and television criticism, gender and race criticism, cultural studies, film history, and genre studies, and he has written for the American Film Institute and a handful of local film blogs. Additionally, he is an active member of the Austin Film Festival’s Screener Selection Committee. In his spare time he teaches a variety of youth development courses, from robotics and engineering to culinary arts and gardening. In the Spring of 2012, he created and launched a video production course for middle school students, in order to foster youth exposure to and interest in audio-visual storytelling.

 

Brian Urban

Studio Manager

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Brian Urban has worked in broadcasting since 1975.  Starting as a transmitter operator for a 50 kW AM radio station, he moved on to studio operations and engineering for an AM/FM/TV combo, transportable satellite uplink operations and broadcast consulting, where he performed allocation analysis, prepared license applications, designed and installed radio and TV studio and transmitter facilities.  Mr. Urban came to Austin Community College Radio Television Film department from KUT-FM where he was Chief Operator and after completing design and installation of their facilities in the Belo Center for New Media.  Mr. Urban holds a Masters Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology (UNT), an FCC General Radiotelephone Operators License, Amateur Extra license, and has worked as stage manager/production stage manager for the Kerrville Folk Festival for over 35 years.

 

Mike Tully

Assistant Adjunct Professor

After his directorial debut, Cocaine Angel, world premiered at the 2006 International Film Festival Rotterdam, Michael Tully was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. His follow-up, Silver Jew, world premiered at the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival. In 2011, he wrote, directed, and acted in Septien, which world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sundance Selects. Ping Pong Summer world premiered at Sundance ‘14; it was picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures and is now available on home video through Millennium Entertainment. He is the founding editor of Hammer To Nail, a website devoted to championing ambitious cinema.

 

Cathy Welch

Associate Adjunct Professor

cWelchCathy Welch has a Master’s Degree in Film Production with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin. Her thesis film, Pickman’s Model, has played at Dobie Mall Cinema, Alamo Drafthouse, and the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, and is currently available on DVD from Lurker Films and from Netflix. Cathy spent six years in Los Angeles in the 1980s working on feature films, including the Academy Award-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman. She also worked for Hughes Aircraft Company as a post-production supervisor for training films, press releases, and other video product-marketing materials. In addition, Cathy wrote, produced, and directed episodes of a cable television show about personal computers. Cathy’s undergraduate degree is from UT’s prestigious honors program, Plan II. Cathy’s concentration in Plan II was in zoology, and she received special honors for her research on cystic fibrosis.

For the past eight years, Cathy has been an adjunct professor at Austin Community College, teaching radio, television, and film courses, including Introduction to Television Technology, Introduction to Radio and Television, Film History, and Film Appreciation. Cathy is also a writing, English, and biology tutor in the Learning Lab at ACC’s Northridge Campus. In addition, Cathy teaches the Aesthetics of Editing class and a directing class at Austin School of Film. She recently served as editing consultant on the documentary Bat City U.S.A., a film about Austin’s famous bat population by journalist Laura Brooks. Cathy truly loves working with filmmakers and students and helping them to succeed in both their artistic and their academic endeavors.

 

Mark Wilson

Associate Professor

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is an actor, filmmaker, and award winning magician, musician,nd composer with many years experience creating and producing music and working in the entertainment field in a variety of capacities.

Over the years his accomplishments have become numerous, starting in 1980 as a solo and ensemble performer on stage, and then as a jingle composer and studio musician.

In 1993 he went to work full time for Austin based – Human Code Inc. as their Lead Composer, and so began an ongoing association with the multimedia industry that continues to this day. The fact that he plays many instruments – including piano, guitar, bass, drums, violin, trombone, and sings – helps him to create music in any style, a skill that he often relied on when he was contracted to create music for his first CD-ROM title in 1993, “The Cartoon History of the Universe”, which featured over 500 music cues and seven hours of music, and won numerous awards including a bronze New Media Invision award for “Best Audio Soundtrack” in 1996. Since Human Code’s demise in 2002, Mark has continued to create music and songs for award winning software titles and films, videos, radio, and television shows, including the Emmy-award winning series on PBS “Daytripper”. Mark has also scored many award winning short films, including “The Man Who Never Cried”, winner of the 2012 Doorpost Film Project online contest.
In addition to his on camera and voice over acting work, Mark has been performing magic and music professionally since 1980, and since 2009 he has performed as “Merlin The Wise” at Sherwood Forest Faire, where each year he continues to entertain the thousands of attendees to the festival with his own unique style of magic, music, and comedy, and he also performs music as a solo artist and with his 80s cover band Airwave 80s.