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Rob Adler is a Filmmaker, Actor and Performance Coach. He is an internationally recognized expert in improvisation specializing in helping actors and directors to get out of their head and bring spontaneity & presence to scripted performances. He is the founder of the AdlerImprov Studio in Hollywood, a coach for actors, directors and production companies like Lionsgate, Disney, FOX, NBC and ABC and writes a regular column offering expert advice to actors for Backstage.

He is a professor of Acting at DePaul University and his teaching is sought after nationally and internationally at places like the USC School of Dramatic Arts, CalArts, the Geffen Playhouse, American Music & Dramatic Academy, Boston University, Occidental College, the famed USC School of Cinematic Arts and internationally in places like Tokyo, Nassau (for the Bahamas International Film Festival), at the Shanghai Theatre Academy and in Stockholm for Top Model Sweden.
Adler directed the acclaimed short film iVOTE, based on the true story of a whistleblower, starring Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts and Emmy Award winners Dan Lauria and Sharon Lawrence. A long time activist, Adler’s artistic mission is to raise awareness of peace and progress issues, which is also reflected in the plays and films he has directed, including recently The Diary Play, an original adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary for the Trump era. He devised and directed Patriot Act, starring acclaimed performer Roger Guenveur Smith (Do the Right Thing,  American Gangster, Rodney King), continuing his long time affiliation with Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater. For the Will Geer Theater, Adler directed Rise & Shout, starring Joe Mantegna, Jack Klugman, Jean Smart and Wendie Malick.
As an actor, Rob Adler has appeared in Hollywood films, commercials and television shows. On the stage, Adler recently performed in Los Angeles with Theatre Dybbuk playing Jethro in the world premier of Exagoge (an unearthed Greek tragedy thought to be the first written Jewish play) and a celebrated run as Larry the Liquidator at the Pico Playhouse with the acclaimed Interact Theatre Company.


Coretta Bedsole is a lover of films and the arts. When she is not traveling with her recently retired husband, she works as a part time consultant focusing on effective communications and messaging to consumers and elected officials. In 2017 she retired as a lobbyist after spending over 30 years working with the South Carolina State Legislature. She represented a wide range of nonprofits, professional and trade associations during her career. One of her favorite clients was IATSE Local 491. She is a graduate of Winthrop University and the mother of an amazing musician, Derrick Lee Johnson. She and her husband, George Johnson, recently moved to Chapin, South Carolina after having lived for 18 months in Leon, Mexico.


Kristin Charney is a puppeteer, actress and voice artist for film, television and theatre. She utilizes many different styles of puppets in her work including hand and rod, remote & cable control, marionettes, rods, full body puppets and suits, as well as 3D-animated characters. Among Kristin’s film credits are The Happytime Murders, The Muppets, Team America: World Police, Men In Black II and The Hollow Man. Television credits include Ratched (Netflix), Kidding (Showtime), The Muppets. (ABC), Sid the Science Kid (Henson/PBS), Good Morning Today (Henson/Fusion), Imagination Movers (Disney), Glee (FOX), Crank Yankers (Comedy Central), and more. Kristin has made many live theatre appearances in Los Angeles, New York and beyond. Her other talents include puppet design & construction, as well as teaching performance and the craft of puppetry.


Darryl Dillard is an award winning writer, actor, and producer. His credits include The Real Man (co-writer, co-producer, and star), Then I’ll Rest (actor, script consultant), Who’s With Me? (writer, director, star), as well as network tv shows Legacies (actor), Valor (actor), and Star (actor). He has also worked as a casting associate on several projects. Darryl has great vision when it comes to project creation, and the ability to convey that vision to make it a reality. Directing bigger projects was a natural progression of his talents. His latest project, Cowboy Joe, is currently in post-production and will be in festivals starting in 2020.


Juli Emmons is a film actor, director, casting director, and mother of three. But, mostly she’s a pioneer. Juli is pioneering film advocacy and creation in Charlotte, and she provides a place for filmmakers in the Carolinas to network, learn, grow, and create. She created the first film community of its kind in the Carolinas, the Carolina Film Community.

A lifelong lover of film, and dramatic arts, Juli got her start in the industry acting in stage plays and progressing into film acting. Over the years, she worked on several aspects of filmmaking and now works primarily in extras casting with more than 30 projects on her resume, including Tammy, The Longest Ride, SpongeBob SquarePants 2, You Are Here, and The Taking of Deborah Logan. She has worn writer and producer hats for the last two years producing award-winning short films.

Juli’s strong passion for film is what drove her to found the CFC in April 2009. Since its inception, the CFC has provided education, fellowship, and advocacy for filmmakers in the Carolinas as well as providing incentives to create films, a screenwriters’ workshop, a podcast series, and a platform for screening film and television productions. Juli has sat on the board of the NC Production Alliance since 2014.

Juli’s work and the CFC have been featured in several media outlets including Fox News Rising, Empire Entertainment Magazine, Carolina Kid News TV Show, Today’s Charlotte Woman Magazine, My Carolina Town, Fox 46 Carolinas, Close Up – with Patti Mercer, Charlotte Talks, WBTV News Morning Show, and more!


Winner of puppetry’s highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, Hobey Ford is known for excellence in puppetry performance and craft. Hobey Ford has performed around the world from The Kennedy Center to Theaters to venues in Asia, the Middle East, Canada and Mexico. He is also a Kennedy Center Teaching Artists integrating puppetry with curriculum in schools around the US. Hobey’s work is featured in the Emmy Award winning PBS film: Hobey Ford - Master Puppeteer. His film credits include: Ichabod, Sketches from Sleepy Hollow. 2014, produced by Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams, Bring Your Love, a music video for the Avett Brothers and Cage, a music video for Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside. Hobey is the creator of The Peepers Puppet, a set of eyes that turn the hand into a puppet. Hobey Ford lives near Asheville in the mountains of NC.


John Gallen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of Georgetown University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Wake Forest University where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Film. During graduate school John studied under Hoop Dreams co-creator Peter Gilbert. 

John’s debut documentary, Daddy, tells the story of beloved youth basketball coach and duplicitous drug trafficker Curtis Malone. The film includes interviews with a prison inmate, professional athletes, and law enforcement officials. It has screened at festivals across the country including the Brooklyn Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, and San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. The trailer has over 250,000 views on social media. 

John has worked on television series for National Geographic, CBS, and Disney+. He is committed to telling entertaining, character-driven stories that challenge our perspective.


Educated in Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands, Nicola Hepp obtained her Master in Choreography and New Media at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in 2006. Her live performances have involved video and projections since 2003. Nicola’s choreographies and films have been shown in festivals and venues internationally and have won several awards and nominations.

Besides being an independent filmmaker, she works under commission as a choreographer and movement director for ads, mood films, shorts and feature films. Recently, an article she wrote called Choreographing the Camera was published by Videodance Studies, Valencia. The biennial edition of Women Cinemakers in Berlin published an interview with her in 2018.

Her film Songs of the Underworld was awarded Best Experimental Film at Underexposed Film Festival yc in 2016.


Joanne Hock is a passionate and prolific storyteller. She has written and directed feature films and documentaries, lensed and directed countless television commercials and directed national and international television shows. With more than 30 years in this ever-changing industry – and among a small population of women to break the glass ceiling in directing and cinematography, Joanne’s career continues to expand and grow.

She started as a writer in the advertising world and she quickly moved up the ranks to Creative Director. Falling in love with being on set, Joanne then ventured into the world of commercial film production. She has worked with ad agencies and Fortune 500 companies both nationally and internationally as a Director/Cinematographer specializing in healthcare, manufacturing, banking and automotive.

Joanne has directed 5 feature films including: The Ultimate Legacy, Discarded Things, Trinity Goodheart, and Redneck Roots. Her latest feature film is a drama set in 1966 entitled, When We Last Spoke and stars Cloris Leachman, Melissa Gilbert and Corbin Bernsen.

Hock has directed over 30 episodes of True Crime television such as Southern Gothic, FBI Criminal Pursuit, Ice Cold Killers, and Happily Never After for networks such as Discovery ID, A&E Biography and Lifetime. Her documentary projects for PBS include: The James B. Duke Story, Laugh at Us, and In the Footsteps of Elie Wiesel. Most recently she completed two notable pop-culture documentaries, which are on the film festival circuit; award-winning audience favorite, Purple Dreams, which premiered to a sold out crowd of 1,500 people at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Martin Hill: Camera Man, a film introduced by Leonard Maltin at the film’s world premiere in November.


Since dropping out of Vancouver's Emily Carr College of Art in the mid-80s, Greg Holfeld has directed dozens of commercials and commissioned films, animated, and storyboarded more film and television than he's actually watched, created short films screened in competition the world over, and illustrated a stack of children's books and comics higher than a sugar-gorging 6-year-old. In a poorly arranged deal with Satan, he won an Annecy Cristal for a toilet training film in 2002. His latest short, Pinchpot, opening film of the 2019 UFFyc, was awarded Best Animated Short of 2019 by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. Greg also lectures in animation and illustration at CDW and University of South Australia. He spends his spare time coaxing edible vegetables out of the hard, dry earth of his home in Adelaide.


Cashell Horgan born in Ireland is a multi-award winning filmmaker. He studied media at the College of Marketing and Design in Dublin. After graduating he specialized in stop-motion animation and made his first film winning the prestigious James Horgan Prize at the Galway Film Festival. 

While producing and directing short films inserts for television he also taught animation and film at the European School of Animation and the National Film television School Ireland. He was worked in film and television as a Director and Editor, he has made several television appearances regarding his work. Cashell has served as a jury member for Fantasporto, Malta Short TV Festival and Amarcort Film Festival.


Gabrielle Lansner is an award winning filmmaker and choreographer whose early films are influenced by her background in choreography and performing. She is now seguing into scripted films and has just completed Lullaby to Love, her first short starring Norma Kuhling and Eric D. Hill. She is also in the early stages of development for her first narrative feature film, Still Life, which she has penned as well. Her four short dance films have screened at festivals and garnered awards worldwide.

The Birch Grove (2015), had a successful festival run, screening at the Newport Beach Festival, the Cannes Short Film Corner, and Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, to name a few. The film won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Experimental Film at the Underexposed Film Festival yc in Rock Hill, S.C. Lansner’s, The Stronger (2012), premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner and screened at over twenty festivals, including Interfilm Berlin, Festival International du Film sur L’Art Montreal, and the Female Eye in Toronto, to a name a few. The film received Best Artistic Director Award from the Lady Filmmakers Festival in LA, the Award of Distinction from the Open Stage Festival in Poland, and was nominated for Best Experimental Film at the Female Eye Festival and Best Cinematography at the VisionFest Festival in NYC.

From 1997 to 2009, she was the Artistic Director of gabrielle lansner & company, a critically acclaimed dance/theater company based in New York City.


Ng’endo Mukii is an award-winning film director, most well known for Yellow Fever, her documentary-animation exploring Western influences on African women’s ideals of beauty. Her work focuses on relationships, the separation between perception and reality, and the use of moving image to represent unspoken truths. At the prestigious Design Indaba conference (2015), she presented her talk, Film Taxidermy and Re-Animation, proposing the use of animation as a means of re-humanizing the “indigenous image.”

Ng’endo is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (2006), and holds a Master of Arts in Animation from the Royal College of Art (2012). She is a Berlinale Talents (2014, 2015), and an Africa Centre Residencies (2018) alumni, and participated in the distinguished Urucu Media REALNESS Screenwriter’s Residency, and the incredible Goethe Institute Bahia Vila Sul artists residency, both in 2018.

Her films have won numerous awards, including Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards both for Yellow Fever, and the Encounters Immersive Grand Prix for her first 360 film, Nairobi Berries. She works in Nairobi as an independent filmmaker.


Michael Rivers served in the US Army and upon return sharpened his computer and technology skills that he learned in service. Rivers is a Field Service Technician at Atrium Health and is co-owner of RiverSystems I.T. Consulting. A lifelong film enthusiast, Rivers posses a keen insight into all film genres.


During a graduate art history course J. Michael Simpson made a connection between his childhood experiences and his art. The art and writings associated with the Sublime gave relevance to the awe and wonder he experienced playing on the banks of a river in Illinois and his art.

While teaching at Auburn University Simpson’s work was acknowledge with an Alabama State Grant in Painting and a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts. He went on to teach at Eastern Michigan University (1995), Winthrop University (1999) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2006). In 2005, Simpson was invited to a residency at the McColl Center for the Visual Arts. While there, he was loaned a digital video camera he used to record the white water movement of a river in western South Carolina. Now his work interlaces the traditional media in installations of painting, drawing, and video that explore the paradoxical relationship of contemporary media has on the human concept of time and place. Recently, his work was screened in “Spaces,” It’s Liquid: International Art and Architecture Festival (Venice, Italy). 


Stock began teaching at Winthrop in 2004. Her specialty is modern and contemporary European art. She guest-curated an exhibition at Winthrop titled Performing Gender and investigates gender issues in her scholarship. Stock also received a Fulbright teaching scholarship and spent six months teaching art history in Beijing, China.


Adria Tennor earned her BFA in stage directing and acting at NYU and Playwrights Horizons Theater School before pursuing a career as an actor. Her first professional job was playing a twelve-year old boy looking Tompkins Square Park in Hal Hartley’s Amateur, which premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. She works regularly in television and film and is most known for her recurring role on Mad Men as well as award winning film, The Artist. Next, Tennor will star opposite the late, great Danny Aiello in Deirdre O’Connor’s first feature, One Moment about a women coming to terms with her aging father’s dementia. Tennor works in stand up comedy to give herself more opportunity to perform, later spinning her material into a rave-reviewed solo show, StripSearch, about finding love and happiness with the help of a 12-foot pole. Another monologue performed, Pie in the Sky, was published in the anthology about lust gone wrong – Worst Laid Plans: When Bad Sex Happens to Good People alongside works by Whitney Cummings, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Allison Newman. Tennor made her directorial debut with her self-penned childhood drama, Cracked, garnering awards and laurels around the country, while her first feature script, Never Been Born, won her a CineStory finalist status in several screenplay competitions around the country. Her second short, Pie, in which she stars with Jessica Paré, was a hit on the festival circuit winning awards and laurels around the globe. Her a short-format series she directed and co-wrote/created with fellow CineStory alum and accomplished YA novelist Kristen Tracy is in post-production and is due out in the Spring of 2020. Her ambition is to create and about women and to foster opportunities for a diverse point of view in theater, film and television.


David is a senior producer with Toptal and filmmaker. In 2019, he produced, edited, and directed the feature length documentary, Going to the Devil: The Impeachment of 1868 and the documentary short The Forgotten War: The Lasting Legacy of World War I, both of which can be found on The Great Courses Plus.
David is the former supervising producer for digital content for The Great Courses, where he created and curated educational non-fiction programming. In addition, he serves as a creative director for g14 Productions, producing a variety of short and long form narrative films with his best friend Matthew Balthrop. g14 Productions was honored to be a part of the UFFyc’s 2017 program, and honored even more to receive the Terry Roueche Audience Choice Award that year. David is thrilled to have been asked to return as a juror for the 2020 program.
David has been creating moving media for over 20 years as a writer, director, editor, and producer and appreciates being able to bring his experience and perspective to variety of projects, students, and organizations with who he’s had the pleasure to work.  


David Wohl recently retired after seven years of serving as Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and Professor of Theatre at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. He holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from Kent State University, the M.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of Connecticut and the B.A. in Psychology from Clark University.

Prior to his position at Winthrop, Dr. Wohl served as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Communications and Media Studies at West Virginia State University He was the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Charleston Stage Company in Charleston, WV and held the position of General Manager of the Porthouse Repertory Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Dr. Wohl’s first practical arts management experience was gained as a staff member for the American Theatre Association (ATA) in Washington D.C. From 1975-1976, he served as coordinator of ATA’s placement service and helped plan and staff two national conventions. He has published articles and reviews in such publications as Theatre Journal, Southern Theatre, and Journal of the Association for Communication Administration. He has directed and/or acted in over 100 theatre productions, including Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, True West, On Golden Pond, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Hamlet, A Raisin in the Sun, Proof, Art, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, To Be Young Gifted, and Black, Sweeney Todd, As You Like It, Arcadia, How I Learned to Drive, Becky’s New Car, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Rocky Horror Show.

Wohl served as President and Treasurer of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) from 1994-1997 and has chaired the Finance Committee for several years. He now serves on SETC’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors as Vice President of Finance. He was the recipient of SETC’s Suzanne Davis award for “Outstanding Service to Southern Theatre” in 2001. He co-produced the films, Chillers, Invasion of the Space Preachers, and Paradise Park. He received the Mayors Award for Individual Artist of the Year from the City of Charleston, WV in 1999. In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Arts Award from West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin. He was the recipient of Winthrop University’s Medal of Honor in the Arts in 2017.


Between 1976 and 2010, Dr. Wohl was one of the leaders in West Virginia’s arts community. He served on the West Virginia Arts Commission’s Peer Assistance Network since its inception in 1990 and has conducted numerous workshops on grant writing, strategic planning, board development, and marketing for over thirty non-profit organizations throughout the southeast. He served seven years as President of Arts Advocacy of West Virginia and for three years coordinated “Arts Day” at the WV Legislature and led the West Virginia arts lobbying effort as part of Americans for the Arts national arts day. He was instrumental in persuading key members of the WV legislature to create the Cultural Resources and Capitol Improvement grand fund, which has given over $15 million to arts organizations throughout West Virginia.

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