The Film School at SFUAD has created an Advisory Board comprised of top industry professionals. Our Advisory Board members offer guidance on refining our curriculum and keep us current on industry practices. They plan to participate in workshops and lectures on campus and engage with students as they pursue their career goals. We're proud and honored to count the following highly accomplished professionals on our Advisory Board:
— Winner of two Emmy Awards and the Humanitas Prize for writing the HBO miniseries John Adams
— Program coordinator for feature films at the Sundance Institute and liaison to Sundance founder Robert Redford
— Writer, producer, and co-creator of the television show Eureka for Syfy and NBC Universal
— Oscar-nominated director of Kung Fu Panda for DreamWorks/Paramount; an artist for Shrek, Shrek 2, Madagascar, and many other animated features
Expertise: Writer, producer, editor, journalist
Affiliations and awards: HBO, ABC, DreamWorks, Emmy winner, Humanitas Prize winner, Writers Guild of America award winner
Writer/producer Kirk Ellis won two Emmys, the Humanitas Prize, and a Writers Guild of America award for his work on John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. Ellis wrote and co–executive produced the seven-part HBO miniseries, which is based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize–winning biography. The miniseries scored a record 23 Emmy nominations—second only to Roots in Emmy history—and won a record-breaking 13 Emmys in total.
Ellis is continuing his association with McCullough on his next project for HBO, 1776. Like Adams, the miniseries will be produced with Tom Hanks's Playtone Company. Ellis is also adapting the James Ellroy novel American Tabloid as a potential series for Playtone and HBO.
For the big screen, Ellis is working on the feature project Blood and Thunder, an epic drama about Kit Carson and the Navajo Wars for Steven Spielberg/DreamWorks. In a previous collaboration with Spielberg, Ellis served as supervising producer and writer for the Emmy and Golden Globe–nominated TNT/DreamWorks miniseries Into the West. He wrote the show's episode "Hell on Wheels," for which he won the Western Writers of America's Golden Spur Award for Best Drama Script.
Previously, Ellis received an Emmy nomination and won a Writers Guild of America award and the Humanitas Prize for the ABC miniseries Anne Frank, which he wrote and co-produced. Additional credits include writing the award-winning ABC miniseries The Beach Boys: An American Family, co–executive producing Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (which earned him a Critics' Choice Award), and writing The Three Stooges telefilm.
Ellis made his feature film debut by writing and co-producing The Grass Harp, based on the coming-of-age novel by Truman Capote. He has also collaborated on projects with such esteemed directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Roland Joffé, and William Friedkin.
At the University of Southern California's School of Cinema and Television, Ellis became the first undergraduate to achieve degrees in both film production and history/criticism. He began his professional career as a film critic for The Hollywood Reporter, and at age 24 he was named the trade paper's international editor—the youngest journalist to ever serve in the post. In 1992, he was named editor-in-chief of the London-based European trade magazine Moving Pictures, and he simultaneously formed Shadow Catcher Productions, an independent production banner under which Ellis develops his own indie features and documentaries.
Expertise: Casting, directing, production
Affiliations: Robert Redford, Sundance Institute, Milagro at Los Luceros
Consultant to the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program and Festival, has worked with the Institute since 1989 in various capacities. Kathleen currently serves as liaison to creative advisors and manager of locals casting for the Sundance Director’s Lab, and is Venue Operations Manager for Sundance Film Festival Sundance Screening Room. Kathleen has worked with indie writer-director-editor John Sayles in the production of PASSION FISH, SILVER CITY, and HONEYDRIPPER
In 2010, Kathleen became the Director of Milagro at Los Luceros, a collaboration between Redford Enterprises and the State of New Mexico, organized to provide immersive jobs training and education in film and the arts, with emphasis on New Mexico’s Native American and Hispanic populations. She spearheads The Milagro Initiative, a non-profit organized to be a center for creative training in film, the arts and sustainable futures, in creative liaison with Robert Redford.
Kathleen attended Hollins University, obtaining a BA in Art, and an MA in English/ Creative Writing, with Film as the Literary Component.
Expertise: Writer, producer
Affiliations: MTV Films, Paramount, Syfy Channel, New Line Cinema, NBCUniversal
Jaime Paglia is the co-creator and executive producer of the Syfy Channel's record-setting series Eureka. Getting his start in feature films, Paglia sold his first spec script, Bombshell (written with David Draffin), to Team Todd at New Line Cinema, followed by Kringle (written with Andrew Cosby), which sold to Oscar-winning screenwriter/producer Akiva Goldsman and producer Mark Canton. Paglia went on to co-create Eureka with Cosby for the Syfy Channel and NBCUniversal. They also adapted the feature film Damn Nation for MTV Films and Paramount Pictures. Paglia is currently developing other feature film and television projects with various producers, including several with his original writing partner and wife, Kristen Greer-Paglia.
Expertise: Animation, commercials
Affiliations: DreamWorks, Pixar, Jim Henson, Walt Disney
John Stevenson is one of the world's pre-eminent animators. With more than three decades of experience in filmed entertainment, Stevenson brings a full and varied skill set to his projects, all of which bear the stamp of his keen eye and unending creativity. His journey as co-director of Kung Fu Panda began in May of 2003.
Prior to that, Stevenson was Head of Story at PDI/DreamWorks, serving as story artist for the DreamWorks worldwide blockbusters Shrek, Shrek 2, and Madagascar. He also created storyboards for the animated features Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, starring Matt Damon, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, starring Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. A core member of PDI/DreamWorks' creative review committee, John gave input on a variety of projects and also taught classes on the story process to artists at PDI and the San Francisco–based Wild Brain Productions.
John was also storyboard artist and character designer for PDI/DreamWorks' Antz, Pixar's Toy Story 2, Nickelodeon's Fathead, Wild Brain/Fox's direct-to-video feature FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue, and Jim Henson Production's Brats of the Dark Nebula. During this period, he also acted as an independent creative consultant to CBS, NBC, Walt Disney Productions, Colossal Pictures, and Protozoa Pictures.
His previous freelance career as an artist, illustrator, character designer, and art director exposed him to myriad projects in nearly every medium, working on England's Wonder World theme park and the Children's Museum of Bogotá, Columbia; commercials for Pepsi, Kellogg's Rice Krispies, and Foster's Lager; and the feature films The Great Muppet Caper, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Little Shop of Horrors, and The Raggedy Rawney.
Stevenson's entrée into the entertainment industry began with roles in character/product design, storyboarding, show concepts, and background puppetry on the seminal The Muppet Show for Jim Henson Productions.