Richard Gershman (2013) – Chair and Associate Professor – BS from the University of Pennsylvania; MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, MFA from the American Film Institute
Steven Womack (1995) – Professor – BA English Honors (1974) Tulane University; MFA English and Writing (2003) Long Island University
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 ten novels including Dirty Money. His novel Dead Folks’ Blues was awarded 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 By Blood Written.
Valorie Stover Quarles (1995) – Professor – BA English Education (1985) University of Central Florida; MFA Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts (1992) Florida State University
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 (nashvillefilmfestival.org), a member of the Nashville Screenwriting Conference Advisory Board and the Film Nashville Board.
Robert Gordon (2009) – Associate Professor — BA Film, UCLA
Editor of more than 30 Hollywood films (Toy Story, Return of the Living Dead, The Blue Lagoon) and many documentaries (World War II), 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.
Sam Dalton (2012) – Visiting Faculty — Writer/producer/director/acting teacher
Sam Dalton is experienced in all phases of film and television creation and production on both sides of a camera. He is the founder and director of “Actors Asylum”, a nationally recognized professional acting and film/video production training facility, creator, producer and host of Family Adventures and Boomer Adventures, both television travel program series, producer and host of Scrunch, an award winning nationally syndicated children’s television program. Mr. Dalton has been a professional actor and teacher for many years and is the executive writer, producer and director of the Illusion Factory, an entertainment, promotion, and Public Relations Company located in Los Angeles, responsible for the on-going development of multiple entertainment programs, infomercials and commercials.
Amy Bertram Read – PhD (Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, ABD), MA (French, 2004) University of Tennessee, Knoxville, BA (French, 1994), Davidson College (Davidson, NC)
A film critic and teacher, Amy Bertram Read currently teaches special topics courses in French film and Elements of Film Art. A member of the Modern Language Association and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, she is completing work toward a PhD in French, Cinema Studies, Women’s Studies and Spanish. Her dissertation is a comparative study of contemporary French filmmakers Claire Denis and François Ozon. In 2004, she received an M.A. in French from UT with concentrations in French Film and Theater. She has taught beginning to intermediate French at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and beginning Spanish at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN and spent a year teaching French and Spanish at the Cedar Springs Waldorf School in Placerville, CA prior to starting graduate studies.
Dolly Gordon (2010) – MA, University of Southern California (Cinema), AB cum laude, Harvard College (English)
Dolly Gordon works as a script consultant/script editor with A-list and Academy-Award-winning and nominated screenwriters as well as emerging talent. She has served as associate producer, director’s assistant and assistant editor on various Hollywood productions, including The Stuntman, The Blue Lagoon, Thief of Hearts, and Listen to Me. A member of the Writers Guild West, she also consults with film producers and studios and writes articles on film for the Writers Guild Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
Nancy McGuire Roche - PhD in English: Concentrations in Film Studies and American Literature (2011), Middle Tennessee State University; MFA in Creative Writing (1991), Brown University.
Dr. Roche specializes in American Independent Film, Adaptations, Women and Film, and Cinemas of the 1960s with an emphasis on culture studies, narrative, and gender and identity performance. She was the recipient of various academic awards including the Harris Award and the Feldman Prize in Fiction while at Brown University and a Provost Writing Fellowship at MTSU. She is currently a Senior Adjunct Instructor in the Film School at watkins and a Lecturer in English and Women’s Studies at Vanderbilt University. Publications include contributions to Jacket Magazine, The LGBTQ America Today Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, The Essential Sopranos Reader, University Press of Kentucky, and most recently, Modern American Drama on Screen, Cambridge University Press. Academic affiliations include the Modern Language Association, the Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association, and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
Chuck Stephens - BFA (Visual Arts: Filmmaking, 1984), University of Maryland, MA (Cinema Studies, 1987) New York University
A freelance writer, film critic and specialist in Japanese and other Asian cinemas, Chuck Stephens is a member of the National Society of Film Critics, and has been teaching Film Studies since 1988. A Contributing Editor to Film Comment magazine, former West Coast Editor of Filmmaker magazine, and a former columnist for Kinema Jumpo (Japan’s oldest and leading film periodical), Chuck has written for the Village Voice, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Interview, Cinema Scope, The New York Daily News and publications around the world. He is also a frequent contributor to Criterion.com and has authored numerous essays for laser discs and DVDs in The Criterion Collection.
George Yanok teaches screenwriting and a variety of special topics classes on the history of television. He began his career as a comic in campus coffee houses in the San Francisco Bay area and has worked as an actor, stand-up comedian, jazz musician, and radio-TV announcer. He eventually settled into television writing and producing with CBS’s Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, in company of such fellow writer/performers as Steve Martin, Lorenzo Music and Jack Burns. One of the originators of Hee Haw, he was a staff writer on the first hundred episodes of the long-running series. Nominated for numerous awards for writing, he has won two EMMY Awards (for Lily Tomlin specials) and a Writer’s Guild of America Award (The Burns & Schreiber Special). His TV writing and producing credits include Bob Newhart, Sanford & Son, Welcome Back, Kotter and The Ted Knight Show. He has produced series for Lynn Redgrave and Stockard Channing, and has several movies for television to his credit, among them Time To Triumph starring Patty Duke, and Go West, Young Girl.
Scott Hallgren – BA Music (1992), University of Miami (FL); Certificate (2003), Pacific Northwest Film Scoring
James Stevens teaches introductory and advanced level courses on motion graphic design. He is an award-winning designer of motion graphics and broadcast graphics for live events. His career began at the CBS-TV affiliate in Nashville and in the years since he has worked oncountless high-profile television programs, including the CMA Awards, Miss
Universe, Dancing with the Stars, The Rose Parade on NBC, iHeartRadio Music Festival, Nashville Star and the CMT Awards. In March 2012, James earned the Master¹s degree in Motion Media Design at SCAD and is now nearing completion of the Master of Fine Arts degree in the same program.
Film School advisors
The Film School’s advisors are an essential part of the Watkins Film School. These professionals share their knowledge, time, and resources in support of the school and its students. By teaching seminars and specialized courses as well as providing opportunities for internship and job placement, these advisors help the Film School remain connected with a constantly changing industry. The following is a partial list of our current advisors:
Bruce Beresford - Academy-award winning Director of Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy
James Cromwell - Actor – The Green Mile, Babe, ER
Olympia Dukakis - Actor and winner of an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Moonstruck
Steven Haft - Producer of Dead Poets Society and Last Dance
Michael Lehman - Director of 40 Days and 40 Nights, The Truth about Cats and Dogs, Heathers, The West Wing, Homicide.
John McNaughton - Director of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Wild Things
Joan Tewkesbury - Screenwriter of Nashville and Director of Old Boyfriends, Cold Sassy Tree
Peggy Walton Walker - Screenwriter of Free Willy
Chris Zarpas - Golden Globe-winning Producer of RKO 281, G.I. Jane, Where the Money Is, Clay Pigeons