Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

ROB TREGENZA, PhD, Professor

Prof. Pierre-William Glenn and Prof. Rob Tregenza during the La Femis and VCUarts Cinema 35mm co-productions in May 2008. This was part of the VCU French Film Festival.

Prof. Pierre-William Glenn and Prof. Rob Tregenza during the La Femis and VCUarts Cinema 35mm co-productions in May 2008. This was part of the VCU French Film Festival.

Rob Tregenza has written, directed and photographed three award-winning independent feature films, films that have been screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the “Certain Regard” category and the Berlin Film Festival in the Panorama section. Over the years, his films have also appeared at the festivals of Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam and Edinburgh.

His work has been positively reviewed in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times and by such prominent critics as Vincent Canby, Dave Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Roger Ebert. A retrospective of his feature films was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1999. But perhaps the highest recognition has been the attentions of one of the most important European Directors of the 20th Century, Jean-Luc Godard, who hand-selected Tregenza’s Talking to Strangers to screen again at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival. Godard describes passages in Tregenza’s films as “remarkable and at times astonishing, that is, softly imbued with the marvelous.” He further explains that in Tregenza’s cinematic world, “reality walks hand in hand with fiction.”

The essay, “Cinq Lettres a et et sur Rob Tregenza” (Five Letters to and about Rob Tregenza) appears in the book Jean-Luc Godard: Documents, published in 2006 by the modern and contemporary art institution of Paris, Le Centre Pompidou. Tregenza has also had an award-winning career as a television commercial director and cameraman for clients like IBM, DuPont, CSX, Blue Cross Blue Shield and numerous non-profits and has worked as a Director of Photography for other independent filmmakers such as Bela Tarr and Alex Cox.

Rob has shot extensively in Africa, South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, Spain and the United Kingdom. He received his PhD from UCLA and is Founder and Director of the Tampa International Film Festival


Professor Kjledsen on the set of "Last Spring"

Professor Kjeldsen on the set of “Last Spring”

Kirk studied cinema at the University of Southern California, where he received an MFA in screenwriting and was a student of Frank Daniel’s. He also studied cinema, writing and economics at Lafayette College and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn in Germany. He was a finalist or semi-finalist in a number of screenwriting fellowships and competitions, including AMPAS’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting; he has also optioned and developed material for both Hollywood and independent producers, and his most recent work includes a script he co-wrote with Aaron Henry that was optioned by independent director/producer Jason Wulfsohn.

While attending USC, Kirk was a development assistant at the Sundance Institute and later worked in other development positions. He also worked on television shows that include NBC’s “Whoopi” and FOX’s “The Inside.” In addition to film and television work, Kirk studied theater at HB Studios and is a co-founder of the White Horse Theater Company. He developed material at the LAByrinth Theater Company’s 2009 Summer Intensive and has had workshops and staged readings of his plays at LAB’s “Punching the Clock” month of new play development in 2010 and Kitchen Dog Theater’s 2010 New Works Festival.

Kirk has also worked extensively as a journalist and has been a freelance and staff reporter and writer for a number of publications. He has taught writing and film at both universities and non-academic settings, and he has also worked as a research analyst, a construction laborer, a night watchman and a California-licensed racetrack pari-mutuel.

PENNY ADAMS, BA, Professor


Professor Adams on the set of “The Butcher.”

Penny Adams holds a BA in Theatre from Marietta College.  After graduation, she began her professional life as an Equity Stage Manager at Hayloft Dinner Theatre in Northern Virginia. She then moved to California and became the eleventh woman to be admitted into the Director’s Guild of America Trainee Program—which would later get her into the DGA, and on her way in a career in film and TV production.

After graduating from the trainee program, she landed the position of Second Assistant Director on THE MUPPET MOVIE. Her responsibilities included setting all of the extras in the film.  Continuing her way up the ladder, she then worked positions like First Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager on television shows, including MIAMI VICE, THE WHITE SHADOW, and CHEERS, and many other series and television movies.

Her first assignment as a Producer was on the last two seasons of HILL STREET BLUES.  Her producing credits include sitcoms, single-camera comedies, both comedy and drama pilots, as well as drama series–notable among which include COMING OF AGE, MADMAN OF THE PEOPLE, COLUMBO, MIDNIGHT CALLER, THE DIVISION, ER, and RENO 911!

The Live Show of ER, and the feature film RENO 911!: MIAMI presented themselves as special challenges that put her years of learning to the test.

Prof. Adams was also a Production Executive at HBO for two seasons, overseeing several drama and comedy pilots.

Ms. Adams is a struggling novelist, a Benedictine, a certified Spiritual Director, and an Emeritus Trustee of Marietta College.

JAMES “JIM” CONTNER, Adjunct Professor

Professor Contner on the set of "The Butcher."

Professor Contner on the set of “The Butcher.”

JAMES CONTNER began his career in New York as an assistant cameraman. During this time, he worked primarily on motion pictures; his most notable assignment First Camera Assistant on JAWS.

After five years as an assistant, he moves up to camera operator on MOVIN’ ON, a television series that shot all around the US. He then continued operating on various movies-for-television, TV series, and over ten feature films including SUPERMAN, THE WIZ, ALL THAT JAZZ, and ON GOLDEN POND. After working with director William Friedkin as an operator on THE BRINKS JOB, Jim was offered the opportunity to step up as the Director of Photography on Mr. Friedkin’s following film, CRUISING, starring Al Pacino.

Jim continued filming motion pictures for the next seven years, of which include: NIGHTHAWKS, SO FINE, THE FLAMINGO KID, EDDIE MACON’S RUN, HEAT, and MONKEY SHINES.

During this time, he was also shooting commercials and music videos, one of which happened to be directed by Michael Mann. Mann, who was also Executive Producer of the then-emerging television series MIAMI VICE, a show that was changing the look of television, invited Jim to take over DP duties on the series.

Jim left MIAMI VICE during its second season to return to work in feature film.  A year later, Michael Mann reached out once again with CRIME STORY, a new TV series slated to be shot in Chicago and Las Vegas. To sweeten the deal, Mann offered Jim the chance to direct one of the episodes.

This one episode led to a directing career in television that spanned the next twenty-four years.  Over that period, Jim directed about 180 hours of dramatic series and movies for network and cable.  Notable credits include 21 JUMP STREET, SISTERS, MIDNIGHT CALLER, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, CHARMED, ANGEL, FIREFLY, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

JULIAN POZZI, MFA, Adjunct Professor

Julian Pozzi has been working in the TV industry since 2006. Pozzi began his TV career in Los Angeles as an Associate Producer for HBO’s New Media department for John from Cincinnati. Mr. Pozzi comes from a creative writing background and has an MFA degree in Dramatic Writing from Columbia University. He has produced multiple segments for TV in addition to producing, shooting, and editing video content for several corporations, non-for-profit organizations, and TV networks.

J.M. TYREE, MFA, Adjunct Professor

J.M. Tyree is the Associate Editor for Nonfiction at The New England Review. A former Truman Capote–Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, he is the author of BFI Film Classics:Salesman and coauthor (with Ben Walters) of BFI Film Classics:The Big Lebowski, via the British Film Institute. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Believer, Film Quarterly, KQED’s The Writers’ Block, and in the anthologies Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category and Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He has spoken at London’s National Film Theatre and contributed to Sight & Sound magazine’s 2012 Greatest Films Poll as well as its upcoming 2014 Greatest Documentaries Poll. His newest book, Our Secret Life in the Movies, a work of fiction coauthored with Michael McGriff, is published by A Strange Object.

JOCHEN KUNSTLER, Industry Professional, Adjunct Professor

Born and raised in Germany, Jochen Kunstler got his start at ZDF German Television in production management. He moved to the United States in 1997 for the Film, Television, Video, and New Media program at UCLA Extension in Los Angeles, CA.

After finishing the program, Kunstler produced and directed the documentary Deeds not Words (1998) about the Wildlife Way Station in the Angeles National Forest, which aired on Discovery UK. Since 2000 Kunstler has edited a variety of programs for Percy Adlon (acclaimed director of “Bagdad Café”) among other directors. Percy Adlon’s feature film Mahler on the Couch made its world premiere at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter prizes Kunstler’s editorial talent: “Benedict Neuenfels’ cinematography is lush and romantic, and Jochen Kunstler’s editing neatly entwines past and present.”

Kunstler was also praised for his work in Adlon’s feature film Hawaiian Gardens (2001), hailed “a brilliantly edited real life drama” by the Hollywood Reporter after its premiere at the Munich Film Festival. Koenig’s Sphere (a documentary about sculptor Fritz Koenig in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th) premiered at the Tribeca Film festival 2003 and will be part of the collection at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Kunstler continues to refine and expand his expertise in new formats through work on narrative short films including No Destination, with John Savage (Method Fest 2007, Staten Island Film Festival 2007), and Innocence Remains, which premiered at Frameline 33 in San Francisco. He edited the Sony Web series Angel of Death (directed by Paul Etheredge), which became the most watched program on Sony’s Kunstler’s latest feature, the Pakistani film Josh (Against the Grain) by director Iram Parveen Bilal, premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival in 2012, and has consequently received theatrical distribution in Pakistan, the US, and now UK and France.

A filmmaker in his own right, Kunstler has produced and directed three documentaries which have shown at US film festivals, National University of Film and Video Association conferences, and aired on Discovery UK. Kunstler is currently working on his MFA.

ANNE CHAPMAN, Casting Director

Anne Chapman has worked in casting or as a talent agent for over 25 years.  As Casting Director for the VCUarts Cinema Department, Anne has overseen the casting of scores of 35mm student films since 2007.  The first feature she collaborated on was CHILDSPLAY, the original “CHUCKY” movie.  Anne has contributed to the casting of numerous features including PUNCHLINE, THREE MEN AND A BABY, UNCLE BUCK, and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.  More recently, Anne served as Virginia Casting Director (w/ Erica Arvold) for Spielberg’s LINCOLN as well as National Geographic’s KILLING LINCOLN.  She also cast THE ABOLITIONIST for WGBH American Experience and PBS’ FOR LOVE OF LIBERTY: THE STORY OF AMERICA’S BLACK PATRIOTS.

As an agent at the Geddes Agency in Chicago she had the pleasure of working on behalf of: John C. Reilly, John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Hope Davis, Lili Taylor, Joel Murray, Dennis Farina, Chris Farley, Jason Weaver, Ian Gomez, David Koechner, Chelcie Ross, Harry J Lennix, Skip Sudduth, Neil Flynn, David Pasquesi, and Christopher Cartmill.

Anne graduated from the University of Kansas in 1985 with a BA in Theatre and Film. She has been living and working in Richmond, Virginia since 1998,  Anne loves finding and nurturing new actors and feels nothing is more satisfying than watching an actor’s career take-off.

Additionally, Anne has served on the Board of The Virginia Production Alliance for 9 years including 2 years as President.  She is also very appreciative of her husband and son and daughter who always let her watch the credits all the way to the end!!

ART ENG, BFA, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Professor Eng on the set of “The River.”

Professor Eng has been an award winning Director of Photography for over thirty years and has also owned and operated Red Eye Camera Rental in Baltimore, Maryland. He has a wide range of professional and artistic experience in motion picture feature film photography and digital imaging and lighting for national television spots and docudramas. He received 16 Emmy Awards for television spots shot in Philly, Baltimore and Washington.

Prof. Eng worked on indie features such as John Water’s POLYESTER, HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, INSIDE/OUT and also major Hollywood films such as ROCKY 5. For the Dino De Laurentis Entertainment Group he worked on PRANCER and BEDROOM WINDOW and numerous shows in Wilmington, North Carolina. For twelve years, he was an official White House cinematographer for Presidents Reagan and Bush.

As a BFA art student, at the Maryland Institute College of Art, he studied photography with Ansel Adams, glass blowing with Gale Chihuly and also cultural studies with Dr. Margaret Mead.

CHARLIE HARRIS, MFA, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Professor Harris during a workshop.

Professor Harris during a workshop.

Charlie Harris has been working in the film industry since 1986 and has worked on over 50 feature films and TV movies as well as hundreds of commercials. He has worked on films including The New World, Hannibal and The Blindside as key rigging grip, best boy rigging grip and grip.

He received his BA in Mass Communications from VCU and his MFA in Film Production from Boston University.

Charlie is an adjunct professor at VCU. He teaches workshops on introduction to the camera department, basic lighting, camera movement, and advanced camera. He is also an adviser for the summer intensives.