DepartmentCinema and Media Arts Department
Biola AffiliationsEmployee, Faculty


  • M.A., Fuller Seminary
  • B.A., University of California, Los Angeles


A graduate of the UCLA film school, John Schmidt has worked in the film industry for the last 30 years.  As founder and president of Dean River Productions, he has worked on nearly 30 films in various capacities: director, writer, producer and editor, having won numerous awards in the process (see his filmography, below). 

His greatest joy is as husband and father, but he has major dreams and goals for his role in the film industry. “I want to be part of projects that matter”, he says. “Each of us in the film industry have a limited amount of time on this earth, and a limited number of films to work on. At the end of the day, I want the ones on my filmography to have mattered, to count for something.  Faith affirming, with values, the triumph of the human spirit, etc., films that have something to say and contribute to the good in this world. It’s what I care about; what drives me”, John says. “I have very little interest in working on something that just fills up the screens and airwaves for programming sake. Life’s too short.” One of his most rewarding projects as of late has been a series of documentaries on a ministry near to he and his wife's heart--on the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He also directed a documentary this year on the life of a deaf orphan boy from the slums who has surgery to allow him to hear. He's now gearing up to direct a feature comedy entitled "Mulligans".

John teaches cinematography, editing, screenwriting, pre-production, production, post-production, and intro to mass media. “I love to teach theory, but only to demonstrate that it weaves together with practice. I thoroughly enjoyed my four years at UCLA, but it was much more theory-based, with less practice. I like more of a balance, and that's how I teach.”

John and his wife, Cathy, have been married for 31 years. They have two children and one son-in-law.

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