EVENTS and GUEST SPEAKERS 2018-2019 School Year
March 27, 2018 at 7:00pm
December 4, 2018
Valentina Garza, Executive Producer on "Jane the Virgin,’ and prior work on "The Simpsons," and "Bordertown,” spoke with the MFA/Writing Option students in Prof. Ligiah Villalobos’ TV Spec: Drama course. She shared with the students her knowledge and expertise in producing weekly episodic dramas and animated scripts. Garza is an award-winning, Cuban-American comedy writer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended U.C. Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Comparative Literature. She then returned to her Angeleno roots and pursued her love of writing as a television comedy writer. Her bilingual and bicultural background provided an inroad on the Spanish-language Telemundo sit-com, “Los Beltran” where she freelanced her first script. She was accepted and completed the prestigious Warner Brothers Writers’ Workshop and went on to write for “George Lopez”. She has sold pilots to ABC, CBS and FOX.
December 3, 2018
Sameer Gardezi is a WGA Award Winning Pakistani American Muslim screenwriter and television writer who has written for Aliens in America, the Golden Globe nominated, Emmy-winning hit series Modern Family,Mr. Sunshine, Outsourced and Goodwin Games. Sameer has written for several networks including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, The CW, FOX, ABC and NBC and studios such as 20th Century, Universal and Disney. For his work on Modern Family, he was awarded a Writer’s Guild Award for his excellence in writing. Most recently, he collaborated with Daily Show's Trevor Noah. He is currently in post-production for the mini-series East of La Brea, which he created and produced. Sameer is also involved along with MuslimARC and Pop Collab with their first writer's room initiative, "The Break Room: Writing for Color, Inclusion, and a Culture Shift."
November 14, 2018
Angel Kristi Williams visited the 2nd Year MFA/Production Option students in the Directing: Film./TV course taught by new part-time instructor, Ka’ramuu Kush. She is an award-winning writer & director from West Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has screened in art galleries, numerous festivals around the world and garnered the attention of Participant Media, while still in graduate film school at Columbia College Chicago. Utilizing her background in visual art, photography and experimental film, her work often embraces silence and the power of the image to tell the story. She seeks to change the way Black people are depicted onscreen, allowing her characters to be extraordinary and normal at the same time. Her most recent short film "Charlotte," won jury awards at Atlanta and Sarasota Film Festivals. Angel is a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, winner of the Sony Pictures Diversity Fellowship, and recently named one of ten black directors to watch by Paste Magazine. She is based in Los Angeles and currently in post production on her feature directorial debut, Really Love starring Kofi Siriboe.
Aaliyah Williams visited the 2nd Year MFA/Production Option students in the Directing: Film./TV course taught by new part-time instructor, Ka’ramuu Kush. She is the founder of Just A Rebel and has a first look deal with the media company, MACRO. Before the leap to full-time creative head of Just A Rebel, Williams served as the Chief Content Officer of The Digital Studio at MACRO, where she curated the company’s digital slate, including the acclaimed digital series “Gente-fied,” a dramedy recently acquired as a scripted television series of the same name for Netflix. Aaliyah is as an Executive Producer on the 10-episode order. Additionally, Williams executive produced 2018 Sundance selection, “Leimert Park.” She is currently in post production on the feature film, “Really Love” by Angel Kristi Williams. Originally from Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Harvard graduate actively travels the globe to ensure that Just A Rebel’s creative perspective is fresh, daring and free.
November 13, 2018
Screenwriter Y. Shireen Razack spoke to the MFA 2nd Year Writing students during TVFT 5222 (TV Spec: Drama). As writer working on the New Amsterdam on NBC, she conducted a Q and A session with the students via SKYPE from her office.
Razack is your typical Indian-Trinidadian Canadian, Muslim American, if there’s anything particularly typical about that. She was born in Canada to Indian-Trinidadian parents but mostly raised in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, she side tripped into a career in advertising that took her from Texas to New York City but finally moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue her dream of writing for television. She was admitted to the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and soon thereafter staffed on NBC’s Trauma, followed by JJ Abrams’ Undercovers, Kevin Williamson’s The Secret Circle, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, SyFy’s Haven, ABC Family/Freeform’s Shadowhunters. She is currently a Supervising Producer on NBC’s New Amsterdam.
October 24, 2018
Playwright Lisa Loomer visited the 2nd Year Acting students to discuss the relationshiip between the actor and the playwright specifically when it comes to developing new plays. The class was structured as a mock table read for her new play Roe. The actors were able to aske her questions about character development, research, objectives, and tactics they found in the script. Then, the class expanded to include a discussion on the process of workshopping a new play and the role of the playwright in the rehearsal room.
Lisa Loomer’s plays have appeared at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Berkeley Rep, Denver Center Theater, The Los Angeles Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Rep, and Milwaukee Rep among others. Her plays include Roe, Café Vida, Two Things You Don’t Talk about at Dinner, and Distracted. Ms. Loomer is an alumna of New Dramatists and the recipient of two grants from the NEA and a grant from the NYFA. Awards include the Jane Chambers Award (twice), the Susan Smith. She also is the screenwriter for the film Girl, Interrupted.
October 22, 2018
Guest cinematography Robert E. Arnold, who worked on The Fast and the Furious 7, Big Little Lies (HBO), Scandal (ABC), Empire (Fox), Chicago Fire (NBC), The Vampire Diaries (CW), The Walking Dead (AMC) and more, visited the 2nd Year MFA/Production Option students in the Directing: Film./TV course taught by new part-time instructor, Ka’ramuu Kush. This was an exciting opportunity for the students to interact with professionals in Los Angeles. For more infomration about Roert E. Arnold, check out his IMDB page.
September 24, 2018
Glenn Mazzara was a guest speaker for the MFA Writers along with undergraduates enrolled in TVFM 4540, taught by Prof. Ligiah Villalobos on Monday, September 24. Glenn Mazzara served as the Executive Producer for The Walking Dead and is a Peabody Award Winner for his work on The Sheild. For more information, check out his IMDB page.
September 10, 2018
Casting Director Kacee Devoe visited the 2nd Year MFA/Production Option students in the Directing: Film./TV course taught by new part-time instructor, Ka’ramuu Kush. 2nd Year MFA/Acting Option students were brought into the class to participate in a mock audition run by the class and Kacee met with each group to discuss the casting process from both sides of the table. A native Brooklynite, she dreamed of being a filmmaker as a child. While studying English Literature/ Arts, she landed an internship on the indie feature Blackout (2007) before relocating to Los Angeles. In 2009, she teamed with Casting Director Leah Daniels Butler on a number of groundbreaking films and TV series, inclusive of Lee Daniel's THE BUTLER (starring Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker), The Paperboy (starring Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, and Zac Efron), and the hit FOX TV series Empire (2015). Thoroughly impressed with Kacee, the show's creator and Oscar nominee, Lee Daniels, offered her an Executive Assistant position where she worked side-by-side with Daniels managing affairs for his company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. During her tenure with Daniels, projects developed included the Richard Pryor biopic, IS IT SOMETHING I SAID, and THE SAMMY DAVIS JR PROJECT for HBO. Her debut short film as writer/director, CROSSROADS, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2016.