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Faculty and Staff

The faculty at Biola’s School of Cinema and Media Arts are experienced professionals with award-winning work and degrees from some of the best film schools in the world. They bring academic rigor, cinematic prowess and spiritual insight to every classroom.


Dean Yamada

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

An M.F.A. graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Dean Yamada teaches courses as varied as visual aesthetics, history of cinema, advanced directing and advanced editing. In addition, Dean has travelled numerous times to Tokyo, Berlin and Jakarta with classes of Biola students to shoot both shorts and features.

Their short film Jitensha (Bicycle) premiered at the Venice Film Festival, screened in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival and won a handful of awards,...

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Camille Tucker

  • Instructor, Screenwriting

With a B.A. in English literature and creative writing from UCLA and an M.F.A. in writing for the screen from Loyola Marymount University, Camille Tucker brings both academic and industry experience to her role at Biola. While an assistant at Walt Disney Studios, she first launched her filmmaking career with the short film Sweet Potato Ride, executive produced by Bill Duke (Predator, Deep Cover, Sister Act II). She has since sold seven screenplays and a TV pilot to major studios including...

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John Schmidt

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

John Schmidt has taught at Biola since 2002, and brings over 35 years of film industry experience into his teaching.

A graduate of the UCLA film school and Fuller Theological Seminary, John was founder and president of Dean River Productions and John Schmidt Productions, and has worked on over 40 films in various capacities: director, writer, producer and editor, having won numerous awards in the process.

“Each of us in the film industry have a limited amount of time on this earth, and a...

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Lisa Swain

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

Before coming to Biola, Lisa Swain worked in the entertainment industry for over fifteen years as a production supervisor on film projects ranging in budget from $15 million to $150 million. Her credits include the commercially successful movies Big Fish, Anger Management, America’s Sweethearts, Face-Off, Varsity Blues and Mars Attacks, among others. She has worked with such notable producers as Richard Zanuck, Barrie Osborne, Bruce Cohen and David Permut, and directors Tim Burton and Gore...

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Abel Vang

  • Assistant Professor
  • Writer/Director

Michael Steffen

  • Assistant Professor, CMA

Gerald R. Fisher

  • Chair, Department of Cinema and Media Arts
  • Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

Professor Fisher has over 35 years of experience in media as a faculty member, interim chair, production company owner and manager of media technology infrastructure.

He pursued a Ph.D. when film was still film, but his program included studies in artificial intelligence, human and technology interface, computer programming, decision making and statistics because he believed some day computers would play a role in media production.

At Biola he has been responsible for the department’s...

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Michael Gonzales

  • Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

Professor Michael Gonzales is a film professor at Biola University’s Cinema and Media Arts department. Professor Gonzales started his film career as an art director working with Roy Wagner, ASC, Cinematographer on the The Hudson Brothers Presents series for Showtime.

He taught Stagecraft and Art Direction for five years at Loyola Marymount University's School of Communication Arts, where he earned his first master's degree. He also taught as an Adjunct Professor at USC in the School of Cinema...

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Jack Hafer

  • Assistant Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

Jack Hafer is an assistant professor and director of creative projects for Biola University's Cinema and Media Arts department. Jack's film industry credits include his role as producer of the award-winning feature film, To End All Wars, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Carlyle. It won Best Picture at the Heartland Film Festival, was awarded the Commander in Chief Medal of Service, Honor and Pride by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and showcased the 2003 Cannes Film Festival Cinema for...

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Mark Spicer

  • Production Center Manager

Hiram Sarmiento

  • Engineering and Technical Support

Heather Grossman

  • Asst. to the Chair

Taylor Horky

  • Strategic Initiatives Manager

Sena Shin

  • Impressionist Coordinator