Program

The Film and Television Masters program (FTMA) at Sacred Heart University offers students a conservatory atmosphere focusing on cinematic storytelling across all platforms.

Zeke Hawkins grew up in Darien, CT. Zeke graduated from the American Film Institute and Brown University and worked as the director’s assistant to Bennett Miller on the Oscar-winning film Capote. For his AFI thesis film, Equestrian Sexual Response, Zeke was nominated for a Student Academy Award.

Bad Turn Worse is his first feature film. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at AFI Fest. It’s been called “a special piece of filmmaking” by Renegade Cinema, “criminally good” by Hitfix, “a terrific film” by Indiewire, and “one of my favorite movies of 2014” by Ain’t it Cool News. ” Bad Turn Worse was released theatrically by Starz and is currently available on iTunes, Netflix, and ‘On-Demand.’ Currently, scores an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes!

Todd Barnes has been making movies with his brother Brad since their father bought a Betamax in the early 1980’s. They won the Best of Next Award at the Sundance Film Festival for their film “The Locksmith” (aka “Homewrecker”). Some of Todd’s other work has appeared at the Cannes Film Festival, played on the Showtime Network and been distributed internationally by Canal +. His commercial clients have included IBM, Adobe and Victorinox among others. Todd is a graduate of Middlebury College and Boston College Law School. He loves living in Stamford with his lovely wife Kim and their two good sons, Augie and Maverick.

Scott Burkhardt is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he received an MFA in Film.  While at Columbia, Scott wrote and directed his graduate thesis project, The Assastant, which was a Faculty Selects film and went on to win the 20th Century Fox/Farrelly Brothers Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Award and the Student Choice Award for Best Writing. The film was also nominated for a Student Academy Award.  The film is distributed by Cinetic Media as part of their FilmBuff series on Hulu.com.

Scott’s screenplay, Slipstream, was a 2011 Nicholl Fellowship Quarterfinalist and 2010 American Zoetrope Quarterfinalist.  His drama pilot, Revelations, was a 2013 Slamdance Writing Competition Finalist and his half hour comedy pilot, Inflated Dreams, was a 2010 Slamdance Writing Competition Finalist.  Scott was a writer on the NBC one hour drama, Smash, and is currently developing two half hour comedies with Flower Films and Storyline Entertainment.

 

Mike S. Ryan is president of Greyshack Films and a veteran of the independent film community, who started out in the industry’s 1990’s heyday with films like Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm and Todd Hayne’s Far from Heaven. As a producer and executive producer, he has helped realize many groundbreaking films in the last fifteen years, most made under $3 million. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit “Producer of the Year” Award, and was one of Variety’s 2007 “10 Producers to Watch.” His films have garnered nominations and prizes from the Academy Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards and many more. JUNEBUG, starring Amy Adams, made its international premiere at Cannes in 2005 and went on to be one of the lowest-budgeted feature films ever nominated for an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress, 2005). Most recently he produced Jake Mahaffy’s FREE IN DEED which won best film at the Venice Film Festival, A.D. Calvo’s THE MISSING GIRL, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and GRAIN, a Turkish/German coproduction.

Other credits include Todd Solondz’s PALINDROMES and LIFE DURING WARTIME; Kelly Reichardt’s OLD JOY (winner, Rotterdam International Film Festival 2006) and her MEEK’S CUTOFF starring Michelle Williams; Ira Sach’s 40 SHADES OF BLUE (winner, Sundance Film Festival 06); Hal Hartley’s FAY GRIM, starring Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum; LAKE CITY, starring Sissy Spacek (premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2008), Ilya Chaiken’s LIBERTY KID (Winner of HBO’s Latino Film Festival in 2007 and in competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival), Bela Tarr’s final film, TURIN HORSE, winner at Berlin and in competition at the Toronto, Telluride and New York Film Festivals, ABOUT SUNNY (Toronto ’11), nominated for a Spirit Award for Best Actress, THE COMEDY, a drama starring comedian Tim Heidecker (Sundance and Rotterdam 2012), BETWEEN US, starring Julia Stiles and Taye Diggs, and LAST WEEKEND, starring Patricia Clarkson and Zachary Booth (premiered at San Francisco Film Festival in 2014). Mike is a New York City native and NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate. He has taught workshops and given lectures at universities and festivals including Columbia, Yale, NYU, Bard, the Atlantic Film Festival, VIFF, Indie Memphis, the San Francisco Film Society, and for the past four years has mentored as a Producer Leader at the Venice Biennale College and participated recently as a producer/mentor at EAVE PLUS in Luxembourg. He has seen an enormous number of films and writes criticism for the online site Hammer to Nail, which he cofounded with Ted Hope, and as a regular contributor to Filmmaker Magazine.

Mayuran Tiruchelvam is a screenwriter and producer of narrative and documentary films. He is a Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and Film Independent Fellow.He wrote and co-produced the New York based noir THE GIRL IS IN TROUBLE, executive produced by Spike Lee and released by eOne in April 2015.Through his company Dodgeville Films, Mayuran produced TO BE TAKEI – a portrait of actor and activist George Takei, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Starz Digital; romantic drama ACROSS THE SEA – winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival; and coming-of-age thriller MY FIRST KISS AND THE PEOPLE INVOLVED.Mayuran co-produced the feature film THE MEND (SXSW 2014). He works as a story, script, budgeting, and pre-production consultant for independent films and dabbles in branded content, non-profit PSAs, and music videos.He earned a BA in African American and American Studies from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an MFA from Columbia University. Prior to his filmmaking career, he worked as a community organizer against the prison industrial complex and a radical childcare provider in New York.

 

is a filmmaker and editor, producing film and video through his company Langdon-Boom Productions out of Astoria, Queens since 1998. He received his BFA in Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts from Florida State University, doing his thesis work in editing.  Matthew has worked in independent film as an associate producer (Tom Noonan’s Wang Dang, Caveh Zahedi’s I Am a Sex Addict, Sophia Takal’s Green), actor (Sam Seder’s A Bad Situationist and Pilot Season, Lawrence Levine’s Gabi on the Roof in July), cameraman (I Am a Sex Addict) and editor (Josh Fox’s Memorial Day, Damon Maulucci & Keir Poltiz’s Detonator, Michael Lavine’s Weekend Away, plus several feature film trailers), and has produced and edited the documentary Air America Radio Presents People vs RNC 2004.  He has created videos with comedians such as Colin Quinn & Jerry Seinfeld (Long Story Short) Todd Barry (Borrowing Saffron), David Cross & Jon Benjamin (Tinkle) and Marc Maron (Break Room Live, WTF) and he’s a regular movie contributor to Sam Seder’s political podcast The Majority Report as “Matthew the Film Guy”. In addition to being a board member of Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory Film and Theater Workshop, Matthew has taught classes on film at the New School of Social Research, as well as the Central Queens YM&YWHA. Langdon-Boom Productions has also produced commercial videos for a variety of corporate clients such as Starwood Hotels, Coca-Cola, Société Générale, and American Express, as well as promotional videos for a variety of Broadway productions. Matthew’s short films have played at festivals around the country (Little Red Light, Underground Zero) and you can see examples of his work at https://vimeo.com/user4997615/videos.

 

Karen Sztajnberg is originally from Brazil and has directed, edited and written films across the spectrum, from PBS broadcast documentary En Route to Baghdad to award winning fiction feature Casa Grande, currently in the international festival circuit.  Karen believes in the cross-fertilization of straddling creative roles and vehicles for artistic expression, always striving to find the most conducive medium for a specific narrative idea.  Peripheral interests include psychoanalysis, linguistics and New Orleans second line.

Kaer Vanice- Studied photography and fiction at University of Kansas and transitioned to narrative film making with an MFA in producing at Columbia University. He has worked as a producer on both commercials and feature films. His credits include PADRE NUESTRO, the Grand Jury Prize Winner at the Sundance Film Festival; TEN STORIES TALL, starring Ally Sheedy, Josh Hamilton, and Jim Gaffigan. His recent work includes HALF THE PERFECT WORLD with Heather Lind and Ryan O’Nan and YELLOW FEVER with James Chen and Jake Choi.

Justin Liberman is a directing fellow in the MFA film program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.  His award winning films have played in many international film festivals, museums, and galleries including Tribeca Film Festival, Montreal World Fest, Moscow Biennial, and LA Shorts Fest.  His directing work earned him mentorships with prolific filmmakers Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), David Mamet (House of Games, Spartan), and Allen Coulter (The Sopranos, Hollywoodland).  Liberman’s commercial work has brought him to Vancouver, China, New Zealand, Argentina, and Thailand, for clients such as ESPN, Nike, American Express and Macy’s.  As an educator, Justin has taught film courses at Wesleyan University, Sacred Heart University and was a teaching assistant at Columbia University.


A director and editor for over ten years, Judah is currently finishing his MFA in Film Directing at Columbia University. He has worked as an editor on films that have screened across the world such as Academy-Award-Winner Barbara Kopple’s “Shut Up & Sing,” the mischievous art world documentary “The Art of the Steal,” and “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks,” for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series. As a director, Judah has done commercial work for the ACLU, General Mills, and Tide, and has had his narrative work screened at film festivals across America.

Dr. Sidney Gottlieb has been a professor at Sacred Heart University since 1976. He is the editor of the Hitchcock Annual, the George Herbert Journal, Hitchcock on Hitchcock (Univ. of California Press), Framing Hitchcock (Wayne State University Press), Hitchcock: Interviews (Univ. of Mississippi Press), and Roberto Rosselini’s Rome Open City (Cambridge University Press). A multiple recipient of Sacred Heart’s scholarship award, Dr. Gottlieb’s collection of Welles’s writings is forthcoming, and he has published essays on Hitchcock, Welles, Eisenstein, Capra, Herbert, Milton, Marvell, Vaughan, Sterne, and Austen, among others. Email: gottliebs@sacredheart.edu

Dr. Ross is the author of scholarly articles on subjects from Hollywood flappers in the 1920s to contemporary 3-D cinema. She has published in the journals Film History, Camera Obscura, Modernism and Modernity, Aura, and in a number of anthologies. Ross’s course offerings including Women in Film, Film History, Narrative Video Production and Screenwriting. She has been teaching film studies and production at Sacred Heart since 2006.

 

“Asta the Screwball Dog: Gender, Class and Hollywood’s Canine Sidekick” Cinematic Canines: Dogs and Their Work in the Fiction Film, Under Contract, 2013, Co-authored with Jim Castonguay,

“Invitation to the Voyage: The Flight Sequence in Contemporary 3D Cinema”, Film History, (vol. 24, no. 2), 2012,

“Screening the Modern Girl: Intermediality in the Adaptation of Flaming Youth”, Modernism and Modernity (vol. 17, no. 2), 2010,

“1922 – Movies and the Perilous Future”, American Cinema of the 1920s: Themes and Variations, 2009, Lucy Fischer, editor, Rutgers University Press

“The Americanization of Tsuru Aoki: Orientalism, Melodrama, Star Image and the New Woman”, Camera Obscura 60 (vol. 20, no. 3), 2005, Duke University Press

“‘Good Little Bad Girls’: Silent Comediennes and the Performance of Girlish Sexuality”, Film History, (vol. 13, no. 4), 2001, Lea Jacobs, editor, Indiana University Press

“Early Experiments with the Cinematic Flapper,”Aura, (vol. 6, no. 2), 2000, Kristin Thompson, editor.

“The Hollywood Flapper and the Culture of Media Consumption,” Hollywood Goes Shopping: American Cinema and Consumer Culture, David Desser and Garth Jowett, editors, University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

David Fierro is an actor best known for his starring role as Health Inspector Jacob Speight, a coarse man who’s not above taking a bribe to steer a patient to a particular hospital, in the period drama television series The Knick.
His series work includes Blue Bloods, The Following and Person of Interest; his films include Birdman, Side Effects and Il Giorno in Piu; and his New York theatre credits include the off-Broadway productions of Ethel Sings, As You Like It, Love’s Labor’s Lost, Three Sisters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Good Person of Szechwan. His regional credits include The Comedy of Errors, Argonautika, The Pillowman and Mother Courage. www.davidfierro.net

DAMON MAULUCCI is a Co-Founder and Program Director of the only Film and Television Master’s Program in Connecticut at Sacred Heart University (FTMA). He teaches screenwriting, directing, film production and media studies in the graduate and undergraduate programs.

Damon’s feature film debut, DETONATOR, screened at Cinequest, the Brooklyn Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film Festival, Indie Memphis, and the Cork Film Festival, among others. It was short-listed for an Independent Spirit Award and received a theatrical and digital distribution. The film was praised by Variety, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal, Film Threat, and Filmmaker Magazine.

Damon received his MFA in film from Columbia University. His student short films, BAD LIGHT, and LITTLE MAN have screened at festivals across the U.S. and abroad. His first feature length screenplay was a finalist for the 2009 Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Damon also served as a producer on the feature documentary, PAUL WILLIAMS STILL ALIVE, an official selection of the 2011 Toronto International and SXSW Film Festivals.

Damon’s most recent screenplay, SOMEBODY SCREAM, has been accepted to the 2017 University Film and Video Association Conference. He currently moderates the Talk Back film series and the FTC Film Club at the Avon Theatre in Stamford and Fairfield Theater Company in Connecticut. Damon merrily commutes from Brooklyn where he lives with his partner, Jeanie and his 3-year old son, Malcolm.

 

Brandon is Brooklyn based and Cincinnati bred, he is  contributing editor at Filmmaker magazine and the director of RedLegs, a New York Times critic’s pick.  He makes a mean brunch on Sunday Morning.

A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Jessica produced Electrick Children which premiered at Berlin and SXSW 2012 and was distributed by Phase 4 films in Spring 2013. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride and Tribeca. In 2013 she co-founded Wheelhouse Pictures with Andrew Hauser. Jessica recently wrapped production on Stephen Elliott’s Happy Baby. She is currently in production on Deb Shoval’s AWOL based on the Sundance award-winning short. She is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency.