Greg Mottola was a studio arts major at Carnegie Mellon University taking film production classes through Pittsburgh Filmmakers. He went on to attend Columbia University’s graduate film school. Greg wrote and directed The Daytrippers, which was an official selection in Critics’ Week at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, won an award at the Toronto Film Festival, received both the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize at the Deauville International Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance International Film Festival. Greg has also worked as an actor in the Woody Allen films Celebrity and Hollywood Ending. He and producer Nancy Tenenbaum (Sex, Lies and Videotape) collaborated to make Greg’s Adventureland, a coming-of-age comedy set on Long Island in 1983. He most recently directed Superbad.
“Attending campus movie screenings as a freshman, I became electrified by a kind of cinema that was very different than what I’d seen in my youth. I am forever grateful for the years I spent at Pittsburgh Filmmakers… Pittsburgh Filmmakers impressed upon me the possibility of film as both a tool for personal expression and social consciousness. After graduating I went on to graduate school at Columbia University – which was an excellent program – but in many ways it is my time at Pittsburgh Filmmakers that I think of whenever I’m attempting to push the boundaries of my imagination.”
Jenn Bastian has flourished behind the scenes as a production designer, animator, scenic artist and set dresser. Her credits include art direction for animated segments on Nickelodeon’s Kablam! and The Amanda Show, working as an animator for programs on The Discovery Channel and MTV (Cartoon Sushi) and regular work as a scenic artist for PBS’ long-running Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Jenn was production designer for the feature film, Daddy Cool (2002).
“Pittsburgh Filmmakers teaches the multi-faceted craft of filmmaking. The knowledge gained from their eclectic curriculum, ranging from animation techniques to experimental film theory continues to inspire my work.”
Greg Funk earned his degree in Film Production through Pittsburgh Filmmakers and Point Park College. He has worked as a special effects make-up artist with George Romero and Tom Savini on such films as Day of the Dead, Monkey Shines, Heartstopper, Two Evil Eyes and The Dark Half. After moving to Los Angeles, he began working in television, earning an Emmy Award for Babylon 5 and two more Emmys for X Files. He has worked as Make-up Effects Supervisor for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Boy Meets World and Charmed. Recent feature film credits include The Alamo, Master and Commander and Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal.
“I was fortunate to get involved in the Pittsburgh film circle. There’s a family of film people in Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers was my key to that world.”
Lucie Rouche is co-creator of FX Elements, a film visual effects stock footage company. She and partner Brady Hawkins do VFX for television shows and websites, such as The Apprentice, Shark Tank, The Voice, and Facebook through their second company, The Thoroughfare. She has an MFA from Florida State University and currently lives in Oklahoma City.
“As an international student, I found Pittsburgh Filmmakers very welcoming; I loved the atmosphere. I was dreaming of "making movies" but I didn't know how to go about it. At Pittsburgh Filmmakers, for the first time, I could not only learn all about lighting and editing but I could also finally put my hands on a real film camera. Thanks to the support of really knowledgeable, passionate and encouraging teachers, the help of the equipment room guys and my awesome classmates, I made my first short films and that was absolutely thrilling. This experience gave me the confidence to pursue film production studies in the U.S. at the graduate level (FSU), and to work in the industry in Los Angeles. Pittsburgh Filmmakers opened the world of filmmaking to me and I will always be grateful."
Vanessa Domico is the Founder and President of Outcast Films. Through strategic communications, Outcast works in collaboration with filmmakers to engage audiences in a call to action for social and environmental advancement. As an authority on film distribution, Domico has been invited to participate at numerous film festivals, panels, and conferences. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors for both the Pittsburgh and New York City LGBT Film Festivals. She holds a BA in Film Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a MFA from Cornell University. She currently resides in NYC.
“The faculty and staff are smart, engaged, creative and very supportive. Their expertise gave me a thorough knowledge of producing films and was an invaluable professional experience.”
Brazilian born Enie Vaisburd holds a B.A. in French Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She studied at Pittsburgh Filmmakers after college and then went on to earn an M.F.A. in Cinema from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her work relates personal experience to larger cultural subjects and social issues. Her experience includes organizing and curating visiting artist programs and festivals as well as teaching film and video production classes. Enie is currently an instructor at the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon.
“In many ways Pittsburgh Filmmakers was my first home in the U.S. When I first started taking classes I was an avid film viewer, but Pittsburgh Filmmakers opened the world of filmmaking to me… There was a vigor and enthusiasm among the students and faculty that I still draw inspiration from when I teach my own classes. Most of all, there was a sense of community. Filmmakers was a place where we wanted to be: editing, talking, watching films.”
Sue Wrbican studied photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers while she was an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. She went on to receive her M.F.A in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Currently, she is a Multimedia Producer for Morgan Stanley in New York City. Sue’s fine art photographs, installations and video work have been exhibited in galleries and festivals around the world including the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies, the World Wide Video Festival at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and on WNET-13 in New York.
“My education at Filmmakers was crucial in my development as an artist and professional. Being surrounded by faculty, staff, practicing artists and fellow students from a variety of schools and backgrounds offered challenges on many levels. In discovering this terrific community of artists/educators, I found the support necessary for the creative process that ultimately led to a serious career in the arts.”
Paula Connelly Skorka
Paula Connelly Skorka completed her film coursework at Pittsburgh Filmmakers as she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Point Park College. She entered the industry as a negative cutter and worked on restoring the original negatives for such classics as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. She has worked as a production consultant, an executive producer (including the television series Remember WENN and The Lot), and vice president of Viacom Entertainment’s D’Antoni Productions. More recently she was Vice President of Original Programming for American Movie Classics (AMC).
“Pittsburgh Filmmakers is where I learned to view life through the lens of a camera and to see a story in almost every situation, enabling me to enter into the film industry. They also ignited my passion for film preservation which I continue to champion.”
Jacinta Orlando took film production classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers while studying English at the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked as an editor and producer in the film marketing business in New York City for many years. Her current work as Senior Vice President, Creative Advertising, Miramax Films includes the trailers and television commercials for the films Shakespeare in Love, Life is Beautiful, Trainspotting, The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, Frida, Chicago and Jersey Girl.
“I had always loved to watch films, but at Pittsburgh Filmmakers I discovered the fun and challenge of making them.”
Betsy Klompus attended Pittsburgh Filmmakers as an independent student after earning her B.F.A. at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been working in film and television as an art director, designer and set decorator for more than 20 years. Her television credits include CSI, Law & Order, Falcone, New York Undercover and more than 100 television commercials. She won a Clio award for the Campbell’s Soup ad "I’m a Soul Man". Her film credits include The Talented Mr. Ripley, Penny Marshall’s Riding in Cars with Boys, A Beautiful Mind, Kill Your Darlings, Paperman, and The Departed.
“The classes that I took at Pittsburgh Filmmakers turned a mild interest in filmmaking into a burning desire to be a part of the world of film. I was taught all the skills that form a base for understanding how a film is put together, so that I could work on a small or large film and know what was going on.”
Stashu Kybartas took classes independently at Pittsburgh Filmmakers after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University. He is an award-winning, Chicago-based video artist and director of documentaries who has held teaching positions in Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania as well as in Eastern Europe. He has received numerous grants and prizes for his cutting-edge productions that explore such wide-ranging themes as working-class immigration to the U.S., social upheaval in Eastern Europe and homophobia. In 1991 he won a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of the critically acclaimed video installation "King Anthracite". In 1993-94 he was awarded a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship to lecture in Documentary Production at the University of Vilnius. Currently, he is a lecturer in the Program in Film and Video Studies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
“My experiences at Filmmakers have had a deep influence on all of my subsequent professional work.”
Matthew Myers completed all of his accredited film production coursework exclusively through Pittsburgh Filmmakers while earning B.A. degrees in Film Studies and English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Subsequently, he received an M.F.A. in producing at New York University. Matt has produced films with acclaimed writer/director Hal Hartley, including Henry Fool and The Book of Life. Recently, he launched his own production company, P-KINO FILMS, to finance and produce both independent and studio films. He is also an adjunct professor at NYU where he teaches courses on film finance and distribution.
“Pittsburgh Filmmakers played a very important role in my development as an artist and a professional. The level of commitment to the media arts from faculty and staff could not be higher. This fine organization has a reputation and an established history of support for artists."