Film MFA

Film MFA Faculty

Full Time Faculty

Richard Gershman

Chair and Associate Professor, Directing and Production

BS, University of Pennsylvania; MFA, New York University Tisch School of the Arts; MFA, the American Film Institute IMDB Page

Richard Gershman recently arrived from Los Angeles to assume the position of Chair of the Film School at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Mr. Gershman has a long list of credits that include theatre, television and film. Selected projects include: directing episodes of Chicago Hope and Judging Amy, working as an assistant director on Lost, Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl, serving as production manager on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and working in several production capacities on feature films such as The Hunt for Red October and Queen’s Logic. Extensive theatrical experience includes directing at Seattle Rep and the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles) and assisting on the Broadway and/or London productions of Children of a Lesser God and Neil Simon’s Fools. Mr. Gershman holds advanced degrees from NYU and AFI, has won awards and grants including one from the NEA, and is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Steven Womack

Professor , Screenwriting

BA English Honors, Tulane University MFA English and Writing, Long Island University Website

Co-wrote the television films Volcano: Fire on the Mountain and Proudheart, which was nominated for the CableAce Award. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America and an award-winning author of eleven novels including Dirty Money. His novel Dead Folks’ Blues was honored with the Edgar Allan Poe Award by the Mystery Writers of America. He also co-edited and wrote the introduction for The True Crime Files of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Berkley Books). His latest novel is Resurrection Bay.


Valorie Stover Quarles

Professor, Production

BA English Education, University of Central Florida; MFA Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts, Florida State University IMDB Page

Founding Chair of the Film School and more than 20 years as a filmmaker and educator. For her creative work she has received numerous festival awards as well as several production and cultural arts grants for projects and programs from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences.  Quarles has served as the President of the Nashville Film Festival (, and the Film Nashville Board.


Robert Gordon

Associate Professor, Editing

BA Film, UCLA; MFA Film and Creative Media, Lipscomb University IMDB Page

Editor of more than 30 Hollywood films (Toy Story, Return of the Living Dead, The Blue Lagoon) and many documentaries (World War II in Color), as well as director of Revenge of the Red Baron, starring Tobey Maguire and Mickey Rooney.  Virtual inventor of the process by which today’s CG Animated Features are edited.


Adjunct Faculty


Adjunct, Film History and Theory

MA and PhD Modern Foreign Languages and Literature, French and Cinema Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Amy finished her PhD in May 2014.  Her specialty is French cinema, but she is an avid cinephile for all types of film.  Besides teaching at Watkins, she also teaches for the Motion Pictures department at Belmont University. She occasionally teaches French with TFLI (Tennessee Foreign Language Institute) and French film for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute).



Adjunct, Cinematography

BS Radio/Television and Film, San Diego State University

Ron has worked professionally for many years as a DP/Operator on features, commercials, and music videos.  You can check out some of his work on his website. Ron has also taught at the Maine Media Workshops.



Adjunct, Tech

BA Media Production, MTSU

Brandon has contributed to such hit network television shows as NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? And MTV’s The Ride. Brandon has taken on the duties of introducing our students to all of the available camera, sound, grip and lighting equipment.



Adjunct, Sound Recording and Post-Production

MFA in Music in Film Composition, Seattle Film Institute. IMDB

Scott has worked as a sound editor on national and international commercials, narrative and documentary projects over the past decade. In addition to having developed the sound curriculum at Watkins, he is also an accomplished composer and musician.



Adjunct, Motion Graphics. Website

Jonathan is an animation director who strives to break from the typical CGI aesthetic by integrating multiple media and processes generally not used in the industry. Adept with traditional media such as paint, clay, and casting materials, as well as computer based processes, Jonathan creates visuals that have the look and feel of the handmade and tactile. His client list includes record labels such as Sony, Warner Brothers and Interscope, film companies such as Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, agencies Foote, Cone, and Belding and Chiat/Day, as well as The Blue Man Group and MTV networks.



Adjunct, Cinematography


Julian has worked as a Director, Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, and Camera Operator. He has directed for the TV series, “Nash Bridges”, “The Strip”, starring Sean Patrick Flanery (Boondock Saints) and “The District”, starring Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist), as well, Director of the Lifetime TV movie, “A Mother’s Testimony”, starring Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels) and the short film, “Heartburn”, starring Dennis Haysbert (The Unit).

Julian has directed Music Videos of all genres including, the critically acclaimed ‘City of Dreams: Artists for Tennessee Flood Relief’ written by 2010 CCMA artist of the year,Victoria Banks.  He trained as a steadicam operator with its inventor, Garrett Brown. 



Adjunct, Production Design


Leslie has worked as a production designer, art director, but mostly as a set decorator on films such as Lost Highway, Stoker, Twin Peaks and Killing Them Softly and on numerous TV series such as Rizzoli & Isles, Hawthorne, Everyone Hates Chris, and Twin Peaks for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award for the pilot. 



Adjunct,  Acting for Directors.

MFA Theatre, Rutgers University.

Bill is an actor/director with numerous credits, a founding member of Actors Bridge Ensemble, a stage director and a long time professor at Belmont University’s theatre department from which he recently retired.  He has directed over 60 productions including ones at the Nashville Repertory Theatre and the O’Neill Theatre Center. He is also an accomplished playwright and songwriter.  He co-wrote, “American Duet” with Grammy winning songwriter, Marcus Hummon starring Darius Rucker. His play, “Outside Paradise” was named “Best Original Play” in 2012 and he has garnered numerous “Best Actor” awards while here in Nashville.

Professor, Film Studies

MFA Drama, Catholic University of America; PhD Interdisciplinary Arts, Texas Tech University

Joseph Kline is the president of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.  Formerly he held administrative and faculty posts at Eastern New Mexico University, DeSales University, and the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he introduced the major in dramatic writing. He is an active member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild of America.  Professionally he worked as an actor, director, playwright, and producer in theatre, film, and television, including three years as the playwright-in-residence at Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia.  His plays have been produced across America and abroad.