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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.


Camille Tucker

  • Associate Professor of Writing for Film and TV

“Nothing in this business happens without the writer.” Camille’s most recent feature was picked up by Lifetime and produced by Queen Latifah. She sold seven other screenplays and a TV pilots. Camille was selected for the PGA's Power of Diversity Master Workshop, was a semi-finalist in the Academy's Nicholl Screenwriting Competition and is an instructor for The Del-York Academy in Lagos, NGR. As a writer/director she is passionate about breaking barriers for women. MFA LMU, MA Fuller, BA UCLA

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Chris Masi

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

Chris is currently a staff writer for Star (20 episodes, FOX). Prior to Star, he was a writer for Being Mary Jane (5 episodes), Graceland (14 episodes) and White Collar (1 episode). He is an alumnus of NBC's Writers on the Verge. He began as an assistant in the White Collar writer's room after meeting the creator of the show on Twitter. Chris teaches The TV Writer's Room course meeting with students and invited guests to develop serial entertainment, meets weekly in Hollywood. BA Biola.

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Dean Yamada

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

“As an educator it is my job to challenge students to find their voices and then empower them to tell their stories.” Dean is an accomplished independent filmmaker, having directed two features and several short films in Tokyo, Berlin and Jakarta. His films have screened around the world at festivals such as the Venice Film Festival and Clermont-Ferrand and have won awards at the Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. BA MFA USC

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Brett McCracken

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

“Perhaps the activity of discerning culture is as essential as the activity of making culture.” Brett is a senior editor at The Gospel Coalition and author of several books on culture and Christianity. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, Christianity Today, and others. He speaks and lectures frequently at universities, churches & conferences. He loves movies, particularly those by Terrence Malick. He lectures for Faith and Film courses. MA UCLA, BA Wheaton.

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Lisa Swain

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

“Media is not just something we consume, it is something we create and interpret.” Lisa's work and life experience straddle the fields of media production, media criticism, religion and psychology. Before shifting into academia, she worked in the entertainment industry for 15 years as a production supervisor on major films. Her current research examines the use of media in shaping identity, imagination, and opposition through media expression. PhD, Fielding. MA, Regent. BS, Evangel.

Lisa...

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Robert Zalk

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

A Disney Imagineer for over 35 years, Bob worked stints as Imagineering’s executive producer for Disneyland Anaheim, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Lines. He previously was a creative show producer on entertainment projects for Disney parks and resorts. Bob teaches Navigating the Creative Project with CMA, Business, and Art students developing physical storytelling experiences like theme park rides, restaurants, hotels and museums then pitching to executives. MA LMU, BA LMU

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Michael Gonzales

  • Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

“Filmmaking is a collaborative and creative process. Preparation includes developing a deep understanding of God's world, His mission for His people and their place in loving others.” Mike has sold three scripts and optioned two. He has directed national commercials, produced corporate videos and consulted with studio executives. He served as a cultural affairs delegate with the US State Department and is a POST Instructor for LA Sheriffs'. PhD Biola, MPW USC, MA LMU, BA Immaculate Heart

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Michael Steffen

  • Assistant Professor of Game Design

“Game design is a powerful storytelling medium because players become part of a story and explore consequences of choices.” Michael is a narrative game designer prototyping his independent game, Telmahre, which explores using virtual space as a metaphor for a character’s mental state. In his first year at Biola, he has developed the new Game Design program for CMA. Michael has also taught game design, digital technology, digital art or computer science at several colleges. MFA USC, BA UCSD.

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Nancy Yuen

  • Associate Professor of Sociology

Nancy is a scholar of race and ethnicity in film, television and new media. Her book, Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism, examines the barriers actors of color face in Hollywood and how they creatively challenge stereotypes. She is a sought-after expert by news outlets such as the AP and New Republic and appears on numerous newscasts. She enjoys helping her students view media through a critical lens in her popular culture and visual sociology courses. PhD UCLA, BA UCLA

Nancy Wang...

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William Hellmuth

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

William is a director of photography who strives to create meaningful images that visually reinforce the story or themes of whatever he is shooting whether drama or docs. He has shot for brands like NERF, Blizzard, Sony, Honda, Listerine, and many more. He has a keen eye for detail and the work he delivers is always outstanding. Besides filmmaking, William enjoys spending time with his wife and kids and playing nerdy tabletop games. He teaches a course in Advanced Cinematography. BA Biola.

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Armand Serrano

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

“I draw, I play, I teach, and I pray.” Armand is an animation industry professional for over 28 years and living life with a purpose. He is currently in visual development and production design for Marvel but has worked for Disney, Sony, Blizzard, and Riot on many major animated films. Armand is a contributor to the Bible Project, creating animated videos that walk through the literary structure of the Bible. He teaches Digital Sketching and Visual Development & Concept Art. BA UST

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Eric Hann

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

"I am passionate about developing great stories because of what they bring to our lives." Eric brings together the worlds of computer animation, visual effects and cinematography for both traditional media and VR. Among his many projects, he was DP for the Coast Guard and Legal Zoom, VR DP for The Bus to Canton documentary and in visual effects he contributed to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Eric is in development on several live-action VR projects. He teaches visual effects. BA Biola.

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Sydney Patapoff

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

As a Director’s Guild of America member, Sydney manages the daily operations of network television shows such as How to Get Away with Murder, The Mindy Project and Life in Pieces. Within the AD department, she focuses on managing time, people and resources to complete productions according to budget and schedule and is responsible for the safety of the set, cast, and crew. Sydney teaches Production Coordination. BA Biola. 

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Michael Warren

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

Michael is a prolific television writer/producer with almost 800 credits. He has been a significant supporter of Cinema and Media Arts for many years and the Warren Sound Stage is named in his honor. He has worked on classic shows such as The Partridge Family, Happy Days, Love Boat, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, Family Man, Step By Step and Getting By and is a member of the TV Academy. He brings wisdom and mentoring into teaching the Writing the Scene course. MA USC, BS SIU

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Abel Vang

  • Assistant Professor of Entertainment Producing

“Producers make movies happen!” Abel is an independent film producer, director, and writer. He won the Academy's 2011 Nicholl Fellowship. He has produced two features with two more in development. Abel worked on Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino as an assistant to casting, and as a 2nd unit on the documentary. He is passionate about including students on his sets, mentoring them in their faith and into accomplished storytellers who know how to market to an audience. MFA USC, BS CSUF

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Elmar Hashimov

  • Associate Professor, English

Elmar Hashimov teaches courses in rhetoric, writing, and language studies. He also directs the Biola Rhetoric & Writing Center, and coordinates Writing Across the Curriculum. With an extensive background in classical philology, Slavic and Germanic linguistics, and English Language Learner pedagogy, he is also passionate about mentoring and supporting global students on campus. In addition to these primary areas of scholarship, he enjoys art, film, philosophy, theology, travel, cooking and...

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Evelyn Fredrich

  • Adjunct, Cinema & Media Arts

“Matt and I run a non-profit organization called marriage. I work for profit for the TV commercial business suggesting that people buy themselves things they don't need with money they don't have.” Evy supervises commercial productions for some of the largest corporations. She has the ability to bring everything together in the right place, the right time, at the right budget for the director. Evy teaches PA set etiquette and serves on the CMA Program Development Council. BA Biola. 

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Gerald Fisher

  • Interim Director School of Cinema and Media Arts

“Art is created in infrastructure whether a frame, an altar, a chapel ceiling or a 90-minute feature.” Gerry has 35 years of experience in media education and is using that to expand CMA's infrastructure in equipment, faculty, facilities, courses, and funding since taking over the leadership role in 2016. The CMA program has since been endorsed by several industry publications, students are winning in film festivals, and classes and enrollment have been expanded. PhD UCI, MA Regent, BA FWBC.

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Andy Cole

  • Visiting Assistant Professor & Technical Director, Department of Communication Studies

Andrew Cole received his Master of Fine Arts and began his career as an art director in film and television, working for some of Hollywood’s biggest studios and production companies. His love for its immediacy, combined with a passion for artistry, led him to the world of theatrical design where he has worked as prop master and scenic designer for over a decade. Recent shows include: Prop master for Revenger’s Tragedy, projection designer for Spring Awakening, fly operator for The Little...

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John Schmidt

  • Associate Professor, Cinema and Media Arts

“A film is never finished. It's just finally abandoned in post.” John and has worked on over 40 films in various capacities as director, writer, producer or editor. His current feature script Mountain of Fire is in development. John was a producer on Trade of Innocents, a drama that explored sex trafficking and post-production supervisor on Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. He wants to see students excel in every aspect of life and to work on projects which affect culture. MA Fuller, BA UCLA.

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Taylor Horky

  • Strategic Initiatives Manager / Adjunct, Cinema and Media Arts

“The power of story and its ability to change people is what drives me.” Taylor's focus is on extending the influence and impact of the School of Cinema and Media Arts throughout the industry. Taylor has experience working on network shows, directing/producing and consulting with some of the most influential leaders, authors and speakers and has produced well over 50 series and dozens of music videos all over the country. He is still active in producing. BA Biola

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Sena Shin

  • Impressionist Coordinator

"My favorite part of the job is working with students so please stop by the office to say hello!" Sena is often the first person students meet when they take their tour of Cinema and Media Arts. She also processes applications and assists students in getting into their first semester of courses. As course scheduler, Sena is the go-to person for questions about which semester specific courses will be offered. Sena monitors student scholarships and publishes the school's weekly update. UCSD

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Nate Bell

  • Internship Manager, School of Cinema and Media Arts

“I experience joy when a student discovers their God-given calling.” Nate is passionate about helping CMA students use their knowledge and creativity to find their vocation within the entertainment and media industry through internships, mentorships, and job placement. He assists students with film festivals and tracks and supports alumni as they progress in their careers. Nate is a practicing film critic for LA Weekly and loves chatting about all things cinematic. MA Chapman, BA Biola.

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Heather Grossman

  • Budget Coordinator

“I really enjoy helping students develop their understanding of the business side of their craft.” Heather manages the budgets, insurance, permits, equipment access and other logistics for nearly 80 major student film projects that are completed each year. Along with aiding in daily office operations and events, Heather is the budget administrator tracking all budgets and grants for compliance. When not at her job you can find her at the beach or enjoying time with her grandkids.

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Mark Spicer

  • Production Center Manager

“There is beauty in design and value in the process.” Mark grew up playing with audio adapters, home electronics, games, and electric guitars, disassembling and reassembling them to suit. Mark’s love for every level of gear fuels his role as Production Center Manager. He oversees studio facilities, system design, installation, and $3 million in media production equipment with a passion for making it all work for students. He loves talking shop about the latest equipment with anyone. BA Biola

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Hiram Sarmiento

  • Engineering and Technical Support

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Hiram manages the computers, software, servers, and network for the Cinema and Media Arts Production Center that supports post-production, visual effects, and game design courses. He brings years of computer science experience and loves solving students’ technical challenges. Aside from having an interest in all the latest, filmmaking gear, he is an avid proponent of analog technology, from vinyl records to film, photo and cinema cameras. BS CPP

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Josh Kozycz

  • Media Equipment Technician

“There are stories inside that only we can, and sometimes need to release”. Josh maintains the production equipment. If it breaks, he will find a way to fix it and keep equipment in the hands of the students. His passion for creating was birthed in the local scene, working on projects and shooting videos with artists all over LA County. Josh looks forward to working with students as they tell their stories through the visual medium of film, television, or game design.

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