Visiting Filmmakers

We are always seeking to expose our students to diverse viewpoints on storytelling and entrepreneurship.  Below are some of the filmmakers and industry professionals who have graciously shared their expertise with our students.

Xan Aranda
Aranda is an award-winning independent filmmaker affiliated with acclaimed documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films since 2007.  She is also an active consultant, with a hand in dozens of international productions. Her directorial debut, Andrew Bird: Fever Year had its World Premiere at Lincoln Center as part of the prestigious New York Film Festival. The film is described by The Hollywood Reporter as “a gently illuminating look at a brilliant maverick musician… captured with grace and delicacy.” Fever Year received the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Omaha Film Festival, Best Pop Culture Documentary at New Zealand’s Documentary Edge Festival, Best Sound at the Southern Appalachian Intl Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Noise Pop Film Festival in San Francisco, and others.

Steven Beer
Beer represents industry-leading film production, film finance and film distribution companies and has acted as counsel to numerous award-winning writers, directors, producers, and multi-platinum musical artists.

Jessica Devaney
Devaney is the Director of Communications at Just Vision, an organization that creates multimedia tools, including documentary films and educational materials, profiling Palestinian and Israeli civilians working nonviolently to end the occupation and resolve the conflict.  She served as Associate Producer of the documentary Budrus which won 13 international awards and was hailed as the year’s “must-see documentary” in the The New York Times. She is the producer of Just Vision’s short film series Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah and co-producer of the 25-minute documentary My Neighbourhood , which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was broadcast on Al Jazeera.

James DuBose
A Wake Forest alum, DuBose is an award winning producer, founder and CEO of DuBose Entertainment.  With drive, determination and focus DuBose has positioned himself as an influential and efficient force in entertainment. DuBose formed DuBose Entertainment in 2001 and began producing several reality and live action network and cable programs. DuBose Entertainment has become a successful Production Company with over 100 hours of television programming in their archives.

Mari-Lynn Evans
Evans, president of Evening Star Productions, served as Executive Producer of Coal Country, a film that offers a look at modern coal mining in Appalachia and features miners, activists, and coal company officials.  The Charleston Gazette described Coal Country as the “best film on mountaintop removal to date” and as a film deserving of “an Oscar.” Evans also served as executive producer on the American Public Television series The Appalachians, which the New York Times called “an elegant film about a region and a people that are rarely examined beyond stereotypes.”

Rachel Grady
Rachel Gray is the co-founder of Loki Films. She and her directing partner, Heidi Ewing, produced the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp. The film provided a candid look at Pentecostal children in America. The film received a wide theatrical release by Magnolia Pictures and was broadcast in over 40 countries worldwide, including the A&E Network. Grady and Ewing nominated for an Emmy for “The Boys of Baraka,” a film about preteens struggling to make it in Baltimore city. The film was winner of the NAACP Image Award and was distributed by ThinkFilm and broadcast on the prestigious POV series on PBS. In addition, she has produced and directed numerous non-fiction films for Discovery, A&E and Britain’s Channel 4.

Ruth Leitman
Leitman directed the award-winning Tony & Janina’s American Wedding, a feature length documentary that gets to the heart of the broken, red tape ridden U.S. immigration system. Leitman also directed Alma, which received the Documentary Feature Jury Prize winner at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and was selected to screen at the Director’s Guild of America NYC and the Whitney Biennial 2000.  Alma aired on TV Ontario and Channel Four Finland.  Her film Lipstick & Dynamite premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival and screened at several other festivals, including the Nantucket Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Storytelling award. Lipstick & Dynamite was released theatrically by Koch Lorber Films and aired on SHOWTIME.  Leitman teaches documentary filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Columbia College Chicago.

Mitch Levine
Levine is a film and stage director with credits in theatre, film, opera and dance.  He is a directing member of the renowned Actors Studio, was a fellow in performance and design at the Juilliard School and was the recipient of the first James Cameron Fellowship in Directing at the American Film Institute. There, he directed Colette, based on the French writer, and Stale Identity, an homage to Hitchcock and film noir before embarking on Shadows, a multi-award winning exploration of love, family and the attraction of evil during the Holocaust. Most recently, he directed the short drama In Confidence the dance documentary Morphing Gravity, nine episodes of the C/W sit-com, Living & Learning, and the documentary feature film, Hungry is the Tiger, which utilizes traditional performance and explores the world food crisis, focusing on India and Indonesia.  Levine directs the Spirit of Independence Award for Film Independent and is the founding producer and host of the AFI’s Great Filmmakers series.  He also hosts of the Producers Forum at the Cannes Film Festival and is the founder of The Film Festival Group, a global consulting firm for festivals, filmmakers and distribution companies.

Zeva Oelbaum
Oelbaum is an award winning producer and the founder of Reel Inheritance Films. In addition to producing Ahead of Time, she has directed and produced short films, which have screened at venues such as the International Center of Photography in New York. She was Executive Producer of Rene and I, a documentary film on twins Irene Hizme and Rene Slotkin who survived Josef Mengele at Auschwitz when they were only 6 years old.

George Reasner
A Wake Forest alum, Reasner is an award-winning cinematographer with 20 years of film production experience. He has photographed everything from feature films, documentaries, short films, commercials and music videos, to live multi-cam concerts, web streaming events, digital interactive media and viral web content. He is also one half of the commercial directing team Eskimo Brothers. Reasner served as both DP & Producer on the documentaries Liquid Vinyl and the recently completed Dumbstruck, as well as cinematographer on the docs At Last: The Terry Fator Story, Q: The Man (The Lives of Quincy Jones), Oakdale Mills: Close Knit Neighbors, and Martha in Lattimore. His recent narrative features include Permanent Vacation and Bare Knuckles, and he has shot concert films recently for Deftones, O.A.R., Avenged Sevenfold, Mute Math, Jessica Harp and Terry Fator.

Autumn Tarleton
An alum of UF’s Documentary Institute, Tarleton’s first feature length documentary, WINDFALL, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 DOCNYC Festival.   She also produced the doublewide media film Animals Distract Me, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by and starring Isabella Rossellini, this docu-fantasy film explores a “day in the life” of the animal obsessed Rossellini. In 2010, she produced a month-long documentary shoot in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The film focuses on children struggling to survive with juvenile diabetes. In 2008 she also post-produced Life for a Child, another documentary about children with diabetes set in Nepal.

Simon Tarr
Tarr is an American independent filmmaker, specializing in digital experimental animation and new media art. He has made eleven short films, two features, and has given live VJ performances around the world.  He teaches new media art, game design, animation and digital art at the University of South Carolina, where he is the Media Arts program coordinator and an associate professor of art. In 2010, Professor Tarr was the recipient of the University Film and Video Association Teaching Award for achievements in pedagogy that contribute to the field of film and video education.