L.A. Study Away Program Faculty and staff


Lou Pep
Amy Olk
Brian Mann
Tanya Hamilton
Sonja Bertucci
Karin Chien
Dorit Cypis
Selise Eiseman
Allan Barber
Rea Tajiri
David Parry
Nora M. Alter
Alison Crouse

Lou_PepeLOU PEPE is an independent filmmaker who works in both documentary and fiction. His non-fiction films include the theatrical feature Lost in La Mancha about director Terry Gilliam; the AMC broadcast documentary Malkovich’s Mail; The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of 12 Monkeys; and most recently, The New Teacher Experience for PBS/WNET. His fiction work includes the punk-rock cult film Brothers of the Head and the award-winning short Moments of Doubt. Pepe received his MFA in Film and Media Studies from Temple University, where he was a Russell Conwell fellow, and holds two BS degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – one in Computer Science, and one in Film Studies. He is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmaking Lab and, in addition to his work as a filmmaker, also directs theatre. Currently, Pepe makes documentaries about public education for the Gates Foundation initiative Teaching Channel and is developing an education-themed documentary series for TakePart TV and Participant Media. Lou will serve as Faculty Director for the Temple University Los Angeles Study Away Program beginning in January, 2014.

Course: Entertainment Industry Perspectives

Contact Email: lou.pepe@temple.edu

Amy_OlkAMY OLK, Director of Internships/Director of Student Summer Experience, is an MFA graduate of Temple’s Film and Media Arts program. After completing her MFA in 2005, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Romania, where she spent a year documenting the lives of children transitioning out of state-run institutions into foster homes. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to continue working in documentary production while enjoying the city’s excellent weather, creative energy and abundant hiking trails. She has recently worked as a producer on the independent feature documentaries Harmony (Sundance 2012, NBC) and A Nuclear Family, as well as a producer and camera operator on numerous TV series for A&E, HGTV, WE tv, Discovery, and PBS. She has been working with Temple’s Study Away Program since 2011.

As an undergraduate student, Amy majored in French literature and studied abroad in Dijon, France for two years. She later moved to Bosnia to volunteer in humanitarian aid, where she met several documentary filmmakers who inspired her to learn the craft. Her first job in the “industry” was at the public television station in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where she hired an intern who is still working at the station today. She has traveled to Cuba to research the film and television industry, led video workshops for youth in the West Indies, Philadelphia, and Romania, and worked on a reality show about sextuplets in Los Angeles. Having taken several detours in her own career, she loves helping students explore the many opportunities that the entertainment industry has to offer, while providing guidance to help them make the most of their Los Angeles experience.

Course: Internship

E-mail: temple.sct.internships@gmail.com

BRIAN MANN is an artist and designer living in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in Fine Art from the University of Florida and his BA in Fine Art Media from Art Center College of design. As a designer, he has served a wide range of clients in fashion, fine art, academics, labor groups, including clients such as American Apparel, Edith Palm, Greene Naftali, Portikus, Insert Blanc Press, Graduate Assistants United, and the Marxist Reading Group. He is a member of Assembly, a group of artists, curators, and others dedicated to carrying on a dialogue around fine art in Los Angeles through meetings, conversations, and gallery shows. Brian is currently teaching for the Temple University Los Angeles Study Away Program as adjunct faculty. His course is titled “Los Angeles Culture as Studio”.

Course: Los Angeles Culture as Studio

tanya hamilton (1)TANYA HAMILTON is the writer/director of Night Catches Us, starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film was a finalist for the 2010 Humanitas Prize and winner of the Fipresci Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival for Best American film. Additionally, in 2010, Night Catches Us was named Best Screenplay by the African-American Film Critics Association and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the Best First Feature category. Later it was nominated for several NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Actor and Actress, Outstanding Independent Motion Picture, and Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture. It was also nominated for Breakthrough Director at the 2010 Gotham Awards.

A Sundance Institute writing and directing fellow, Hamilton is also a recipient of the coveted Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She is currently working on producing her second feature film, titled Skylarking.

Course: Topics in Production LA Screen writing Workshop

Sonja SONJA BERTUCCI is a Los Angeles based filmmaker and scholar. She has an MFA in Film and Video from California Institute of the Arts as well as a PhD in French Literature and Film Studies from UC Berkeley. Originally from France, she has taught at numerous institutions of higher learning in the US (including UC Berkeley, Duke University, Miami University, and Concordia College). At Berkeley, her dissertation, entitled “Proust and Godard through the Lens of Intermediality,” examines how Proust and Godard address the expressivity of their own medium in relationship to other modes of representation, situating these two artists within a larger history of intermedial aesthetics from Horace’s ut pictura poesis to Lessing’s Laocoön to more recent aesthetic discourses (Merleau-Ponty, Badiou, Rancière). In dialogue with her academic research, her films take a poetic-experimental approach to documentary filmmaking and have focused so far on the question of ephemerality, representations of grief and loss, and the struggle for personal and communal survival within a web of geopolitical events that diminish possibilities for agency. She just completed her first feature-length documentary entitled Stranger from Within, a personal and political film about Serbian culture in Kosovo, which was pre-screened to general acclaim at the RedCat Theater in Los Angeles.

Karin_ChienKARIN CHIEN is an independent film producer and distributor based in Los Angeles and New York. Karin is the 2010 recipient of the Independent Spirit Producers Award and the producer of ten independent feature films, including STONES IN THE SUN (2012), JACK AND DIANE (2012), CIRCUMSTANCE (2011), THE EXPLODING GIRL (2009), THE MOTEL (2005) and ROBOT STORIES (2002). Her films have won over 100 festival awards, been nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Films Festivals, and received distribution in over 30 countries. Karin is the founder/president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent cinema from mainland China, and the creator/director of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Fellowship, a mentoring program for emerging Asian American media professionals.

Course: The Art of the Sell

DoritCypis_bioDORIT CYPIS is an award winning artist and innovative professional mediator fluidly moving between studio practice, educator, mediator, and community builder since the 1980’s. Her strategies of performance, photography, text, immersive installation and social sculpture explore relationships between psychological and social/political aspects of history, knowledge and experience. Through her art practice Dorit came to the study of Conflict Resolution and in 2007 founded Foreign Exchanges to offer communication and conflict engagement services that draw strongly on her artistic practice. Mediation extends her exploration of human relations into the public domain.

Cypis’ has exhibited internationally including Whitney Museum of American Art, International Center of Photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Musee d’Art Contemporain/ Montreal, Musee des Beaux Arts/Bruxelles, Walker Art Center, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and at numerous galleries and community spaces. In 2014 Cypis was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a SPart Award. Other awards and fellowships include Japan Foundation, Bush, McKnight, Jerome, Ordway and Durfee Foundations, City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts, Fellows of Contemporary Art, and National Endowment for the Arts. Cypis has taught on identity and social relations across the USA, Canada, Europe and Israel. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art, Bachelor of Education/Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, a Masters of Fine Art/Californian Institute of the Arts, and a Masters of Conflict Resolution/Pepperdine University. She was born in Israel, lived in Montreal, Canada as a youth and moved to the USA as an adult. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Selise EisemanSELISE EISEMAN administered for eight years the placement and supervision of Temple University’s Summer Internship Program in Los Angeles and is currently assisting with this summer’s program. She is the Internship Administrator of Chapman University Singapore’s Summer Mentorship Program in Los Angeles and Drexel University’s Summer in Los Angeles Internship Program. She is the former Executive Officer of Women In Film and the Special Projects Executive at the Directors Guild of America. At WIF she developed the Hugo Boss Mentor Program of one-on-one mentoring and seventeen master classes on the creative aspects of filmmaking and at the DGA she created the continuing education program for members through workshops, classes, and professional training. Selise taught film history and about the film/television industry at Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, Rutgers University, and University of the Arts and earned a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University. She is also the co-writer of a script that was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Script Development Program, and a writer, producer, and director. With finely honed writing and mentoring skills, Selise understands how to engage and excite job seekers so that they will do the same with prospective employers. Based in Los Angeles she works with students and their universities in providing and supervising internships in broadcasting, film, and in new media.

Course: Internship

ALLAN BARBER is a graduate of Temple’s MFA program in film and television. He is the co-director of the LA-Study Away Program, which places approximately 150 students in internships in the film and television industry each year. At Temple’s main campus, he teaches foundation courses in Media Arts aesthetics and production and mid-level and advanced courses in screenwriting, film history and criticism. Professor Barber has served as the director of the MFA program, faculty director of SCT’s London Program, director of the Film and Media Arts Honors Program, and a faculty advisor for the Temple University Student Film and Video Association. He is an active member of the University Film and Video Association. He was previously a member of the board of directors of UFVA and has served as Scriptwriting Editor for its publication, the Journal of Film and Video.

Course: Entertainment Industry Perspectives

Contact Email: allanbar@temple.edu

Assistant Professor REA TAJIRI is a filmmaker and visual artist who earned her BFA and MFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts in post-studio art. She recently completed a new hybrid-documentary, Lordville, which premiered at CAAMFest 2014 at the Pacific Film Archives and is currently in festival distribution. In this new work, Tajiri explores the ways in which landscape, memory and history reverberate in a small New York town on the Delaware River. Professor Tajiri’s earlier works have been included in several major film festivals. Her  award winning personal essay film History and Memory, premiered at the 1991 Whitney Biennial and won several awards including the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, and a Special Jury Award; New Genres from the San Fransisco International Film Festival. The film has been written about by film scholars such as Bill Nichols, Laura U. Marks, Michael Renov and writer David L. Eng. Tajiri and civil-rights organizer Pat Saunders co-produced a film on the life of Harlem human-rights activist Yuri Kochiyama entitled: Passion for Justice. Both films are currently in distribution with Women Make Movies. Tajiri’s debut dramatic feature film Strawberry Fields was funded through an ITVS Production Grant and had its European premier at the 54th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica (Venice Film Festival) in 1997. It won the Grand Prix at the Fukuoka Asian International Film Festival the following year. The film received distribution through Vanguard Releasing. Tajiri is a two-time recipient of the Rockefeller Media Fellowship, and two NEA Visual Arts Fellowships. She was awarded residencies from the MacDowell Colony and Smack Mellon. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Theater, Film and Media Arts at Temple University where she teaches documentary production. Tajiri served as the 2012-13 Faculty Director for the Temple University Los Angeles Study Away Program.

Contact Email: rtajiri@temple.edu

David Parry

Professor DAVID PARRY is an award-winning filmmaker who has made influential documentary films in China, the Yukon Territory, the Caribbean, and autobiographical avant-garde films in the United States. His films have exhibited at leading international and national film festivals and broadcast on national prime-time PBS and European television. He has been awarded numerous grants including artist-in-residence grants, National Endowment for the Arts independent filmmaker grants, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. His films are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, where they are circulated to other institutions and exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art film series. He was director of photography on John O’Brien’s award-winning Super-16mm/35mm doc-fiction feature Nosey Parker, which showed at the South by Southwest Film Festival and the Nantucket Film Festival. In the department of Film and Media Arts, Professor Parry specializes in direct cinema and cinéma vérité documentary, introductory and advanced 16mm and Super-16mm filmmaking; he also teaches courses in lighting for film, video and photography. Professor Parry completed his graduate work at MIT in visual studies with pioneer direct cinema/cinéma vérité filmmakers Richard Leacock and Ed Pincus. He also studied with MIT artist-in-residence and avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas and with anthropological filmmaker and cinéma vérité founder Jean Rouch at Harvard University. Professor Parry taught film at Dartmouth College for 10 years, and also worked in cross-disciplinary ethics research at Dartmouth’s Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics, where he was an executive board member. He also held a joint research appointment as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine at Dartmouth College. Recently, Professor Parry was the faculty director of the FMA Los Angeles Study Away Program, where he helped to expand it from a summer program to a year-long program. He is currently filming and editing two personal documentaries, as well as lecturing and writing about personal cinema.

Recent Work:

  • Professor Parry is editing a documentary about his great-great-grandfather, Francisco Oller (1833–1917), a Puerto Rican realist-impressionist painter who lived and painted with Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro off and on during a 20-year period.
  • He is filming a personal documentary portrait about a public elementary school coping with corporate educational infringement.

Course: Topics and Production: Understanding and Making Documentaries

Nora_AlterNORA M. ALTER received her PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Alter is author of Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (Indiana University Press), Projecting History: Non-Fiction German Film (University of Michigan Press) and Chris Marker (University of Illinois Press) and co-editor with Lutz Koepnick of Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of Modern German Culture (Berghahn Books). She has published more than fifty essays on a broad range of topics including film and media studies, German and European studies, cultural and visual studies and contemporary art. She has been awarded year-long research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Howard Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2005, she was awarded the DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies. From 2008 to 2010 she was elected president of the Coalition of Women in German. She currently serves on the editorial board of The German Quarterly. She is completing a new book on the international essay film and has begun research on a new study devoted to sound. Her teaching and research have been focused on cultural and visual studies of the twentieth century and twenty-first century from a comparative perspective. She served as Chair of FMA 2009-2013 and she is currently the Director of FMA Study Away

Contact Email: nalter@temple.edu

Alison rectangle_lowALISON CROUSE is the Associate Program Director of Los Angeles Study Away. She received her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University, and her BFA in Photography from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Alison’s creative work aims to personalize the experiences of abstract struggle. Her current documentary production, My Cells are Red Bananas, follows eight-year-old Sakaiyah and her battle with sickle cell anemia. The film seeks to promote discussion, to raise awareness about the life-threatening disease, and to implement fun and creative strategies in an effort to educate youth and their families.

Having traveled extensively for school, work, and pleasure, Alison is motivated by the power of artistic and cultural exchanges. She is passionate about the potential for study away programs to expand the educational possibilities of students through intellectual engagement embedded within experiential opportunities.

Alison’s office is located in room #14F of Annenberg Hall (lower level, back corner)). Her mailbox is at the end of the FMA hallway in Annenberg.

E-mail: crousea@temple.edu
Phone: (215) 204-5910

Related Links


  • Nora M. Alter
  • Director
  • FMA Study Away
  • Alison Crouse
  • Associate Program Director
  • FMA Study Away
  • Room 14F ground floor Annenberg Hall
  • 215-204-5910
  • Contact both:
  • crousea@temple.edu
  • nalter@temple.edu