Cinema Studies Alumni

This page showcases selected achievements of our Alumni. 

Notifications and Requests for additions may be sent to

  Selections are made purely at the discretion of the Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts faculty.

Our graduates have successful film careers, becoming producers, artists, editors, directors, actors, camerapersons, and working on the crews of documentaries, narrative features, and experimental films. Some graduate achievement include: winner of award for cinematography at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; Emmy award winners; nominated for best cinematography at the Independent Spirit Awards; The Independent Film Channel’s award for excellence in student filmmaking; nominated Academy Award, Best Short; gold award from Center for Public Broadcasting as co-producer; international production credits including director/producer/camera roles in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nicaragua, Thailand, Croatia, Bhutan, Vietnam, Angola, UK and Venezuela; one grad is one of the youngest filmmakers to join the Director’s Guild of America; another grad has received two MacDowell Colony fellowships since 2004.

Adam Sekular

two women hugging

The Flamingo (update)

This month, an incredibly generous donor reached out to offer to provide production gear instead of cash to our film The Flamingo. In lieu of this exciting contribution, we've revised our fundraising goals and now are only a little more than $2500 shy of what it will cost to continue filming this year. Support has flowed in from forty-six donors, but we still need your help. Please go to our go-fund-me page and consider making a contribution today. 

My last few feature-length films have explored topics many people find difficult. The choice to die, a woman in labor for over a day, and with The Flamingo, the late in life sexual awakening of an extraordinary woman. I tackle these subjects not because of their controversial nature, rather because I find these stories truly moving. I've had people tell me they can't watch these films, mostly I think because of what they think they'll show, not what they actually do. Those audiences who venture with me to these places are always rewarded with deep love, and hopefully, find inspiration even in the most difficult of circumstances. 

two people silhouetted in a bedroom

Tomorrow Never Knows (update)

I recently learned that my film Tomorrow Never Knows, which follows a couple that struggles as one person pursues a conscious death amidst the chaotic decline of Alzheimer's, was nominated for aQueerty Award for best documentary of 2018. This is one of those awards that require public voting, so please go over to the website and cast your ballot for our film. You can vote daily through February 22. 

Additionally, tickets are now on sale for two of our dates, the first in Milwaukee on March 28 and the second in Seattle on April 24. If you're in these towns or know people in these towns, please share these links and purchase tickets for our screenings. As I mentioned in the previous update, additional screenings are planned in Chicago, Portland, Bellingham, Vancouver, and even Spokane. When links become available, we'll let you know. 

people sit on the lower deck of a ferry

Hours At Sea

About two years ago, as I was finishing up my MFA, I brought a Bolex and two rolls of B&W ORWO 16mm stock to the Pacific Northwest to shoot aboard my favorite mode of transportation, a Washington State Ferry. In the nearly nine years I lived in Seattle, I'd often find moments of reflection aboard the incredible ferries shuttling back and forth between downtown Seattle and Bainbridge Island. When I returned to Colorado, I brought those two rolls I shot into the CU Boulder dark room and hand processed them. The resulting images were exquisite capsules of moments I often think of during this nomadic filmmaker life I've chosen. There the moments I miss most from my time in Seattle and I make sure to get on a ferry every single time I'm back. 

Since that time, I've worked and reworked edits of these images, often putting them to the words of poetic musings about the sea. In total, about ten iterations of what I thought was a film reflecting on the contemplative passage of time took shape, morphed, and reconstructed itself. I started submitting to festivals, earlier this year, but something continued to tell me that it wasn't quite right. So I dug back in, and once again, reworked the edit. Suddenly, the words accompanying the images, those that I placed there to capture the internal state I felt each time I journeyed through Puget Sound, were torn from the piece, replaced by the rhythmic sounds of ferries themselves. Over the last two months, I finally settled on a new structure for this film and it will at last show to an audience at the incredible Onion City Festival in Chicago this March. Needless to say, even short experimental films take a long time to find their truest forms.  

Eric Sievering

The Curse of Oak Island, The Curse of the Civil War Gold, and Ancient Aliens - Editor

Eric Sievering (BFA, 1999; MFA Florida State) is a film editor with credits on hit “History TV” shows like The Curse of Oak Island, The Curse of the Civil War Gold, and Ancient Aliens.

Nick Houy

Ladybird (2017), HBO's The Night Of (2016) - Editor

Nick Houy (BFA, University of Colorado, Boulder) has top film editor credit on HBO’s The Night Of, and Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. He has this to say of his Film Studies experience: 

CU Boulder’s Film programs helped me build a broad cinematic base that I draw from every day.  I learned from the experimental film courses upholding Brakhage’s legacy, as well as my Women in Film courses, and from all the great lectures on the works of Kieślowski, Bergman, Buñuel, Hitchcock and Truffaut, and so many more.  I recall with fondness the countless hours spent at IFS, writing short screenplays, shooting and editing my own films... I was so lucky to live the film dream, in the town where I grew up.

                 -Nick Houy


Taylor Dunne & Eric Stewart

Off Country
A multimedia oral history project examining landscapes of nuclear weapons testing and anti-nuclear activism in the American Southwest by Film Studies MFA graduates Taylor Dunne & Eric Stewart.

More news coeverage:
Boulder Weekly:

CU Arts and Science Magazine:

Kevin McGee - 2nd Unit credit on Fate of the Furious

Film Studies alumnus Kevin McGee was involved with the second unit on the production of 2017's Fate of the Furious, which opened to immense financial success.

Jennifer Wild

(BA University of Colorado, MA, PhD University of Iowa), Associate Professor of Cinema Studies, University of Chicago

Alexis Martin Woodall 

Television producer, Ryan Murphy Productions (Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, The People vs. O.J. Simpson):
See also, feature in the A&S Magazine: 

Mathew Budman

film producer (Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle, Joy, Detroit):

Brook Aitken

Award winning Cinematographer Brook Aitken graduated in 1997. He has garnered several awards for his work in commercials, tv shows, films, and cites both Jerry Aronson and Stan Brakhage as influences. Recently, The Cove, a documentary he shot, received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature.


Alan Caudillo

Walking to Werner
Seattle filmmaker Linas Phillips replicates Werner Herzog’s pilgrimage — in 1974, the iconic German cult director walked from Munich to Paris to see a dying friend — to life-changing effect. Phillips treks from Seattle to Herzog’s home in L.A., hoping to meet his idol, as well as find his own soul (and make a movie). It’s a “Fitzcarraldo” moment as Phillips channels Herzog’s usual protagonist-madman, Klaus Kinski, with unexpected, profoundly affecting results. Film Studies alumnus Alan Caudillo, who did some work on this film (as well as the latest Henry Jaglom film) will introduce and do Q&A. In addition to the work Caudillo did on this film, he is listed as the director of photography on several major features, including A Day Without A Mexican.

Derek Cianfrance

Derek has a strong background in narrative, documentary and commercial filmmaking. His work has included profiles of such artists as Mos Def, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Run-DMC, Cassandra Wilson, and Annie Lennox. He has also turned his lens on Vietnam veteran biker clubs for Rolling Thunder - Ride for Freedom, teenage inner-city basketball players in MTV’s Battlegrounds series, and a look at the mysterious world of crime photography in Shots in the Dark, produced for Court TV and Britain’s Channel 4. Serving as director of photography, Derek revealed teen racing and Hispanic subculture in Streets of Legend (aka Quattro Noza) for which he won best cinematographer at Sundance 2003. Derek has directed numerous commercials and various high profiles branded content work. Recently he co-directed an award-winning documentary behind the scenes at Ford Motor Company with legendary documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. In 2006 Derek won the Chrysler Film Project’s million dollar top prize. He is using the award money to finance his third narrative feature, Blue Valentine, which he wrote and plans to direct later this year. He is also in pre-production on the feature length hybrid- documentary, Metalhead.

Other Feature Films include: The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)The Light Between Oceans (2016)

“Attending the University of Colorado Film Studies Program has been one of the great blessings of my life. It is unlike any other film school. You actually learn every aspect of filmmaking from editing to shooting to directing to critical analysis and aesthetic knowledge. The professors gave me tools to combat the shallowness of the Hollywood industry with thoughtfulness, substance and soulfulness. I also met my closest friends and collaborators there. 15 years later, I am still working with them.”
Derek Cianfrance

Joey Curtis

Quattro Noza
Street racing is steeped in danger and folly, but Curtis, who was a street racer, and his virtuoso cinematographer, Derek Cianfrance, know how to exude the intoxicating allure it presents to young people, crossing ethnic and socioeconomic lines in its appeal. “Streets of Legend” catches fire in an instant and affords tremendous visual, visceral charge. Even though it is ultimately anything but an endorsement for street racing, the movie stunningly captures its undeniable excitement. “Streets of Legend,” which is dedicated to the memory of experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, who taught Curtis at the University of Colorado, is a terrific calling card for the young director.

Jen Dean

Film Editor, Lost Planet
Jen is an editor at Lost Planet, an award winning, bicoastal editorial specializing in TV commercials, music videos and shorts. Upon graduation, she joined the company as Hank Corwin’s lead assistant (editor: Natural Born Killers, The New World, What Just Happened) and was quickly promoted to editor. As Hank’s apprentice she was exposed to many great directors including Martin Scorsese and Errol Morris. Her commercial work spans a wide variety of clients, including Toyota, Lexus, Gatorade and Old Navy. She has also worked on several long form projects, most notably, a John Legend video co-directed by Kanye West and a Glamour magazine short film starring Rosario Dawson. Most recently, her work on a music video for Cold War Kids “Hosptial Beds” was nominated for Best Editing by the AICE in 2008.

Was the featured gust filmmaker for Alumight 2008.

I feel the diverse and charismatic staff of CU’s Film Dept truly gave me the tools and inspiration for my job as an editor. It is both my love of film history (intensely fueled by Bruce Kawin and Melinda Barlow) and my knowledge of experimental aesthetics, as studied in the films of Phil Solomon and Stan Brakhage, that have made me into the artist I am today. Ten years later, I am still referencing books and notes from my studies at CU.

-Jen Dean

Chris Healer

CU Boulder Film Studies class of 2000
President of The Molecule
The Molecule provides CGI Compositing, Motion Graphics, 3D modeling, Animation (2D and 3D), On Set VFX Supervision, and HD Production. They have produced  Visual Effects  for the Emmy award-winning television drama Rescue Me for several seasons, as well as Motion Graphics services to a host of Conde Nast and Hearst mastheads including Glamour, Vogue, GQ, Esquire, and more. We have created promos for The History Channel, historical recreations for PBS documentaries, and we produce a weekly webisode series for and

The Film Studies Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is unique in its inclusion of Experimental Filmmaking in its curriculum.  I gained an appreciation for experimental techniques and the experimental mindset that extends beyond classical critical studies and cannot be found at purely trade-oriented schools.  The teachers are really smart, and the program produces well-rounded film thinkers that are often missing from the film industry in general.

-Chris Healer
CU Boulder Film Studies class of 2000

Dana Shelayne Kroeger

Before branching out to pursue her own creativity, Dana spent over a decade in the camera department under the tutelage of such greats as Conrad Hall Sr., Caleb Deschanel and Emmanuel Lubezki, working side by side with the likes of Michael Mann, Sam Mendes and Terrence Malick. Between features and commercials, Dana has been hired to write screenplays, edit, shoot, direct and take stills. In July 2008, Dana’s award winning commercial campaign, which she wrote, directed, shot, co-produced and edited, for My Friend’s Place will begin airing.

Out of all of the film schools in the United States, I deem the University of Colorado at Boulder to be one of the best based on the curriculum and cutting edge professors. I feel enormously fortunate to have gotten my film education at CU. It has served me very well in Hollywood.

Unlike many film schools, the University of Colorado at Boulder teaches you how to make a film from beginning to end, knowing every possible job position and responsibility. This all inclusive knowledge enables filmmakers and technicians to excel beyond those who have only received concentrated knowledge in one area with little understanding of the filmmaking process as a whole.
Dana Shelayne Kroeger

-CU Boulder Film Studies class of 1993

Randolph Severn "Trey" Parker III

An Academy Award nominated American animator, screenwriter, film director, voice actor, actor and musician. He is most noted as one of the creators of the animated series South Park along with Matt Stone.

Parker went to Berklee College of Music in Boston before transferring to the University of Colorado, where he met Matt Stone. He majored in music, and, with a goal to someday score films, took classes to learn more about the film-making process. He made several animated shorts while attending the university, including American History which won a Student Academy Award, and The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Frosty with Matt Stone.

Parker’s first live action film was a feature length piece about Alferd Packer, a Colorado miner who was the first person convicted of cannibalism in America. A trailer was shot over the summer, and was used to help raise enough funds to shoot the film. Alferd Packer, The Musical began filming during spring break in 1993. It was renamed Cannibal! The Musical when Troma picked up the film for distribution in 1996.

Your Studio and You - studio paid infomericail made by Matt and Trey.

James Redford

“The CU-Boulder film department struck an inspired balance between experimentation and development of craft – all served with passion by Jerry Aronson and Stan Brackhage.
Over the years, I have often referred back to some of those valuable lessons and experiences as I have gone about my work.”

-James Redford

James Redford grew up between New York City and Utah. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a combined English/Filmmaking major, he was a correspondent for Rolling Stock Literary Review before returning to graduate school at Northwestern University. After receiving his M.A. in literature, he began writing screenplays and has since written screenplays for various studios and production companies including Universal Pictures, Blackbird Films, and South Fork Pictures.

Redford’s work includes the dramatic short, “The Acting Thing” which one best comedic short film at the Houston Film Festival and premiered on the Sundance Channel. He also produced the HBO feature documentary “The Kindness of Strangers” which won the Crystal Heart Award at the Heartland Film Festival as well as Best Documentary at the Chicago Alternative Film Festival.

Recently, Redford wrote the original script for Xavier Koller’s rodeo drama “Ring Of Fire”(Destination Films) starring Keifer Sutherland, Darryl Hannah, and Pete Postlewaite. He also wrote the screenplay for “Skinwalkers” – A Tony Hillerman adaptation directed by Chris Eyre for PBS/Mystery!, which aired in the fall of 2002. SPIN marks his debut as a Writer/Director.

“Mann V. Ford” is Redord ‘s cuurent production. The film concerns the Ramapough Indians of New Jersey and their struggle against the toxic legacy of the Mahwah-Ford auto plant.

Redford is also the founder and President of JRI, a non-profit foundation created for the purpose of encouraging a greater awareness about organ donation and transplantation.

He lives in Marin County, California with his wife and two children.

Matthew Richard "Matt" Stone

An American animator, screenwriter, film director, voice actor and actor. Along with Trey Parker, he is one of the creators of the critically-acclaimed animated television series, South Park.

Stone was raised in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colorado. He went to Heritage High School, in Littleton. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and was their first student to hold a double major in film and mathematics.

In 1997, Comedy Central debuted South Park, which he and his college friend Trey Parker created.

Eric Stough

South Park Director of Animation
Eric won an Emmy for his work on South Park, was an actor in Orgazmo (1997), and won awards for his short film Revenge of the Roadkill Rabbit at the 2000 Athens Film Fest. Eric Stough attended the University of Colorado with South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, eventually directing such classic episodes as “Scott Tenorman Must Die” and “Butters’ Very Own Episode” (The character of Leopold “Butters” Stotch on South Park is in fact a lampoon of him.)

“The C.U. film school inspired me to explore and express my ideas using film as a medium.  Its diverse program gave me the opportunity to experiment with live action and animated filmmaking.  It continues to expand so future filmmakers will have the necessary tools to bring their stories to the global audience.”

-Eric Stough,
South Park Director of Animation

John Venzon

A presentation on the invisible art of narrative Hollywood film editing using several examples from movies former C.U. alumni John Venzon has worked on, such as Fight Club, Natural Born Killers, Shark Tale, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Flushed Away, and others, to illustrate how editors are mindful of not only pace, storytelling, but also cinematography and the needs of the director.