Instructors

Arthur Swidzinski

An accomplished filmmaker and multimedia producer with 10 years of experience, Arthur has successfully applied his expertise in the areas of Cinematography, Motion Graphics, and Video Editing to various projects across the USA.  Arthur's professional background includes extensive work with well-known brands including, University of Kansas, Kaplan Higher Education, Sega of America, Washington Post Company, Cars.com, UC Santa Cruz, Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Bears. In 2018, Arthur established Stone Watson, a company focused on high energy motion graphics and film. 

Charles Borg

Charles Borg is an award-winning writer/producer, with an MFA in Screenwriting from Chapman University, who’ recently co-produced two feature films: Three Worlds and MAN, (winner of CICFF’s “Golden Fox Award”), which he co-wrote/co-edited.  He runs his own script consulting company, Smash To: Script Consulting, working with filmmakers affiliated with the likes of CAA, Nasdaq Studios, FUSE, and Circle of Confusion. Charles writes and ghostwrites feature scripts and pilots, as well as develops feature film treatments and reality show pitch-packages.  His skill set also extends to writing VO for TV-series’ promos, such as the Emmy Award-nominated, Never Settle Show, and the boxing docu-series, Knockout, for which he co-produced/story-produced 3 seasons.  Charles has been a professional script analyst for Stage 32 as well as The Writer’s Store and now sits on the board as the content developer for Chicago’s own, Creative Cypher. In addition to developing coursework web tutorials for Screenwriters University, Charles teaches 4-courses at Chicago Filmmakers: Screenwriting I & II, Perfect Pitch, and Master Screenwriting Techniques.

Chris Peppey

Chris Peppey writes, directs, and shoots commercials, documentaries, and narratives. He has won awards for television commercials, industrial videos, and documentaries. He was cinematographer for several documentaries that received national distribution. He received his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, where he went on to teach in the Undergraduate and Graduate Division of the Film and Video Department for eight years, and where he served as the Program Director for Post Production. Since 1992, he has been a director and cinematographer at Chicago Film Works, a commercial production company.

Dale Chapman

Dale Chapman is a writer/director/performer who produced the sketch comedy series WE’RE GENIUSES IN FRANCE for CAN-TV for twenty years and wrote the feature film THE PRODIGY. His work has been screened by such venues as The Chicago Improv Fest, The National Lampoon Network, Image Union, and The Chicago Short Comedy Film and Video Festival.

Since 1997, he has taught screenwriting, video production, and critical studies courses at Columbia College Chicago. He has a B.A. in cinema studies from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in film/video production from Northwestern University.

Damon Griffin

Damon Griffin was born in Maine and has lived in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York City and Chicago. He has worked as an editor at the Maine Media Workshops and College and on several documentaries. He is currently teaching and pursuing his MFA in filmmaking at Columbia College, Chicago, where he has written and directed four short films. Griffin's work spans both narrative and experimental film styles. He is at work on a feature screenplay.

Frank V Ross

The writer, director, and editor of 8 feature films including: Audrey The Trainwreck (one of the New Yorker’s Top 25 Films of 2010 & winner of Best Feature at the Sidewalk Film Festival), Tiger Tail in Blue (nominated for the Gotham Award Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You). Recently named one of New CIty’s 50 Screen Gems of Chiacgo: “[Frank] is one of Chicago filmmaking’s best-kept secrets but could become one of the city’s shining virtues" (Ray Pride). 

Jon Silver

Jon Silver is a Chicago-based Filmmaker coming from a comedy background. He is the Co-Founder of ShowPup Productions and the former Managing Director of The Annoyance Theater. Jon has worked with Second City and other theaters to produce comedy sketches, short films, web series, tv pilots, and his first feature “The Civil Hoax”, which was released in May of 2018.

Jonathan Moeller

Jonathan Moeller received his MFA in Writing/Directing from Columbia College Chicago in 2015.  He has been making short films and videos for over a decade, creating content and running productions for various brands ranging from professional sports teams to non-profit organizations.  He is a freelance filmmaker here in Chicago and teaches on the south side, as well as with Chicago Filmmakers. Jonathan has worked with students of all ages, from elementary school filmmakers up to adults and is very excited to bring his course offerings to the north side. Professionally, Jonathan has screened his work in New York, Atlanta, Louisiana, Los Angeles, and of course, here at home. Along with directing, Jonathan is also a working First Assistant Director in Chicago, collaborating with local filmmakers on feature and commercial projects. Most recently he has been working with Onion Labs. He was an Albert P. Weisman recipient in 2014, and is currently fine tuning a feature script that he hopes to get off the ground in the near future. Mostly a comedic content creator himself, Jonathan is excited to work with you on the story that you hope to bring to the digital screen! To learn more about Jonathan, his work, and some of his students' work, please visit jonathanmoellermedia.com. 

Joseph R. Lewis

Joseph R. Lewis is an award winning moviemaker, an Emmy nominated TV producer, and a pioneering media educator.  He has toured the country with his education programs and worked in classrooms and assemblies with over 200,000 kids. As Captain Famous (his superhero alter ego) he produces “Lights! Camera! Awesome!” - the only TV show in the universe made entirely by youth.  He is also a PBS sponsored LearningMedia Digital Innovator.

Julie Englander

Julie Englander loves non-fiction in its many forms. She is currently producing and directing Home Again, a documentary about kids who've grown up overseas in missionary families and what it's like for them to come "home" to America. She has produced documentaries for Kartemquin Films, Chicago PBS affiliate WTTW, and ABC News. In 2010, Julie was lucky enough to attend the CPB/PBS Producers Workshop at WGBH. Julie has also written for the Chicago Reader, The Chicago Tribune, and In These Times. She earned her M.A. in journalism from Columbia University in New York.

Matt Lauterbach

Matt Lauterbach is an associate of Kartemquin Films, where he has contributed to over a dozen documentary films, including Unbroken Glass, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, American Arab, and Saving Mes Aynak. He is currently editing a film about the controversy in Mississippi over their state flag, the last in the USA to contain a symbol of the Confederacy. Before becoming a filmmaker, he taught high school history and psychology; created interactive maps for use in classrooms; and helped develop exhibitions at the Chicago History Museum. Matt is also co-director of the Chicago ReelAbilities Disability Film Festival, and an advocate for media that is accessible to the widest possible audience, including those who are blind or deaf.

Melissa Lawrenz

Melissa Lawrenz is a Chicago based filmmaker/editor. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.F.A. in film production from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide. Her experimental documentary I Hope, Grandmother screened on PBS in Chicago and Wisconsin and at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. This film along with her films Outside of this House and Heather were also featured in the Wisconsin PBS program, The Director’s Cut in 2009 where she discussed her filmmaking process. Over the years, Melissa has worked as a freelance editor. This work has included editing Gangland for Towers Productions, working on short form humorous video content for The Onion and their subsidiary websites, broadcast specials for the Fusion network, and broadcast commercials for Onion Labs. Yet, her passion lies in independent narrative films. The feature film she edited, The Other One, screened at the Chicago International Film Festival amongst others and is currently distributed through Hulu.com and Amazon.com. 

 

Michael Bohacz

Michael Bohacz is, among other things, a freelance editor, motion graphics artist, sound designer. He has done work for Fox Sports Net, CBS Sports, XL! Marketing Communications, Video One Productions, Program Productions, Aesthetic Abstractions, William H. Birch & Associates, Thom Papanek & Associates, SMS Productions, as well as many other independent producers around the Chicago area. As a fringe transmedia conceptual artist he creates experimental television programs and has been featured in the documentary "Access Nation" for his experimental show "Abductions with the Alter Boy." He has taught production and editing classes at Columbia College Chicago since 1998, at Chicago Filmmakers since 2002, Harold Washington College since 2006. He also jams with his band Tin Godz.

Paul Peditto

Paul Peditto is an award-winning screenwriter and director. He wrote and directed Jane Doe, starring Calista Flockhart, which won Best Feature at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival. Six of his screenplays have been optioned, among them Crossroaders to Haft Entertainment (Emma, Dead Poets Society). Over the past decade, Paul has consulted with over 1,000 screenwriting students around the world. He is the author of Writing Screenplays (Self-Counsel Press, 2012). His new book, Surviving Outside Hollywood: Life Lessons For The D.I.Y. Filmmaker will be available through Self-Counsel Press. In addition to teaching at Chicago Filmmakers, Paul is an adjunct professor of screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

Samantha Lee Spencer

Samantha Lee Spencer is a teacher, musician, writer, and filmmaker. She co-produced the Tribeca Film Festival Recognized and Gotham Award Nominated web series You’re So Talented, as well as composed music for the series with her group Whatever Spectrum. She has taught media, art and media studies in grammar and high schools around Chicago, including at Street Level Youth Media, Free Spirit Media, and ChiARTS High School. She performs here solo music throughout Chicago and is working on her debut album. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute and has her graduate degree in Art Education from Columbia College Chicago.

Stephen Holliger

Stephen Holliger is an award winning sound designer and engineer from Chicago, IL with a BA from Columbia College Chicago. Stephen is a longtime lover of sound and has done work for 3net, Fusion, The Onion, Clickhole, and The AV Club with additional sound work being selected at the Chicago International Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. Stephen's versatile skill set extends to production audio, podcasting, and music production as the sole sound mixer for AV Club, Clickhole, and Onion Labs content. Additionally, Stephen was the post production sound mixer for the first season of Fusion’s, The AV Club with John Teti in 2017. In addition to teaching at Chicago Filmmakers, and working at The Onion,  Stephen continues to freelance with independent filmmakers in the Chicagoland area and both coasts as a sound designer and mixer and has recently finished post production audio on two feature films: Three Worlds and MAN (winner of CICFF’s “Golden Fox Award”) in which he also scored original music to MAN.

​Alex Kogan

Alex Kogan is the owner of DKP Image + Media and in his 14 years there has become an expert in post-post production, a term he coined meaning every process that occurs after editing. He has a diverse background in closed captioning and subtitling, video compression, and design. Prior to DKP, he worked for Visual Sound in Los Angeles where he first learned the art of captioning and subtitling. Prior to that, Alex worked on several TV shows for Warner Brothers in Hollywood.

​Jon Sall

Jon Sall has worked as a professional visual communicator for over twenty-eight years. He began his career as a Photojournalist working with the Chicago Sun-Times, photographing Michael Jordan, the Bulls’ six NBA Championships, Super Bowl XLI with the Bears in 2007, and the Inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. He has also worked on assignment in Iraq in 2004 and was a principal shooter for the CNN Films production of “Chicagoland,” an 8-hour documentary series looking at the political and social challenges facing Chicago in 2013. In 2014, Jon relocated to Boston to work on a 3-month documentary shoot for ABC News, which became the TV shows “Save My Life” and “Boston EMS.” He now currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago in the Communication Department and the Cinema and Television Arts Department.