Who We Are

RTF faculty and staff combine real-world industry experience with award-winning teaching expertise. Our faculty have worked for major film studios like Disney, won Texas Emmys for work on hit PBS shows, managed major television production facilities, screened films at prestigious film festivals, and received international, national and local grants for artists and educators.

who we are photo
faculty photo

Mitch Abney

Associate Adjunct Professor

I hail from a farm near Champaign, IL & still miss the phenomenon of 4 seasons. I received my Bachelors in Media Studies from the University of Illinois, then moved to Austin where I earned my Masters in the Dept. of Critical & Cultural Studies in Film. My thesis was an economic study of Warner Bros. cartoons - meaning I earned major college credit for discussing pigs, ducks, & rabbits. I used to manage Vulcan Video (still the best!) & am currently a Patient Navigator with the American Cancer Society. I have a lovely wife named Angela & we have a mischievous Corgi named Murphy. I am on my second stint of teaching at ACC & have honestly loved every minute of it. I can narrow my favorite films down to five (check your syllabus...) : Wings of Desire, Night of the Hunter, Black Narcissus, Ikiru, & The Third Man. I still remember drive-ins & miss the days of 1 theater : 1 film.

faculty photo

Susan Busa

Adjunct Professor

Susan Busa's screenwriting experience includes CROSSING TO THE PROMISED LAND (Hallmark), REUNION (Cosgrove -Meurer), TV movies for NBC and served as a script consultant on the 2008 feature, SNO CONE, INC. She has written and directed numerous musicals for children including JUST AS YOU ARE, THE STORY, WELCOME TO CAMP KATCHIKOOTEE, HOW TO BECOME A LEGEND, ALL THE CHILDREN SING, MAGIC COMES TO TOWN and THE WICKER STREET WAR (premiering December 2013).

Susan is the co-founder of UpStage Theater Company (www.upstagetheater.com) which works with local writers and musicians to create and produce original musical for young actors. She is also the owner of Go Dog! Creative (www.godogcreative.com) which develops original scripts, screenplays, theater, and provides creative coaching.

Films, videos and webseries include the comedy short HARMONY IN THE HILLS,(2006 Silver Medal winner, Park City Film Music Festival), THE ADVENTURES OF ZOBEY (video series), JEROME THE GNOME (comedy short), DAN'S THE MAN (comedy short), COUGAR MARCHING BAND (webseries) and BACK STAGE AT ZILKER HILLSIDE THEATER: THE SOUND OF MUSIC and THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: MEET AUDREY 2. She has also written and directed videos for numerous corporate clients, including American Bank of Commerce, Keller Williams, Keedo, and Benchmark Research, eTalk, and Museum of the Big Bend, to name a few.

A James A. Michener Fellow in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin, Susan was awarded a M.F.A. in Writing in May 2000. She has proudly taught at Austin Community College for more than a decade.

faculty photo

Mark D. Cunningham

Adjunct Professor w/ Early College HS

Mark D. Cunningham received his Ph.D. in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation considered narrative, race, and gender in John Singleton's hood trilogy: Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Baby Boy. His research interests include film studies, literature, popular culture studies, and race studies. He has contributed an essay on the film Crooklyn for The Spike Lee Reader, edited by Paula J. Massood, an essay on the film adaptation of the Twilight novels for Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the Twilight Series, edited by Anne Morey, an essay on the television show Noah's Arc for the forthcoming anthology Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences, edited by Beretta Smith-Shomade, and entries on Dave Chappelle and The Hughes Brothers for the African-American National Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. He is currently at work on an essay for an anthology on black film and another for an anthology focusing on the career of rapper/actor Ice-T.

faculty photo

Richard Cutler, Phd

Adjunct Professor

Dr. Cutler has a Bachelor's degree in Business from UC Berkeley, another Bachelor's in Art from UC Santa Cruz, a Masters in Film Production from UT Austin, and a PhD in Telecommunication Policy from UT Austin. He began his interest in yoga as an approach to physical fitness while in the US Air Force and stationed in Eastern Turkey during the Vietnam Era. Twenty years later, under job stress as a Media Specialist for Austin Community College, Richard took his doctor's advice and began to learn t'ai chi. Now Dr. Cutler is a certified instructor of t'ai chi chih. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member of the Radio-TV-Film Department at Austin Community, where he teaches Film Appreciation, Announcing for Radio & TV, as well as the Introduction to Radio-TV-Film "gateway" course. Richard teaches similar classes at the Art Institute of Austin in Round Rock, and he tutors in English Composition at ACC's Round Rock campus Learning Lab. Finally, as classes "make," Richard teaches Mixed Media and Abstract Painting at Austin's Dougherty Arts Center. His art interest is in creating miniature dry gardens inspired by Chinese landscape scrolls and Japanese Zen Gardens visited in Japan in 2006.

faculty photo

Laura DiMeo

Instruction Associate/Adjunct Professor

A transplant from Boston to Austin, Laura DiMeo graduated from North Adams State College in the Berkshires (Hill Country) of Massachusetts. For the past three decades, Laura has crewed as a Best Boy Grip, Dolly Grip and Electric on independent and feature films, national and local commercials, rock videos, television series and sporting events. In the 80's, she became the first woman on the East coast to pass the IATSE Union classification as third electric and third grip. Laura enjoyed 25 years of employment as a freelancer for the video and scenic departments at WGBH, the PBS flagship station. Some of the shows she worked steadily on were: "Antiques Roadshow", "Masterpiece Theatre", "Nova", "Mystery!" and "The Boston Pops." Her feature and television credits for first and second unit include "A Case of Deadly Force," "Against the Law," "Blown Away," "Big Time," "The Brinks Job," "Cheers," "The Crucible," "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control," "The Fitzgeralds & the Kennedys," "Good Will Hunting," "Glory," "Karate Kid III," "Lianna," "Once Around," "School Ties," and "Warlock."

Since moving to Texas in 2005, "Hey, Laura?" worked as a Lab/Teaching Assistant for the RTF Dept at Austin Community College, while attaining the dual Workforce Certificates in Film/Video Production Technology and Management. In the fall of 2010, Laura was given the "wicked awesome" opportunity to share her professional film production knowledge with ACC students as an Adjunct Professor. In Spring 2011, she additionally accepted a RTF support position as Instructional Associate.

faculty photo

Philip Fagan

Associate Adjunct Professor

 

I was born in Ft. Worth , Texas but grew up in Teheran , Iran . Weekends with my family there included mountain-climbs up to the Castle of the Assassins, once the headquarters of Hassan I Sabbah, the 11th century Persian mystic whom I would later read about in the stories of William Burroughs and William T. Vollmann.

 

I continue to travel extensively throughout the US , Latin America, Europe and the Middle East , and like most American men of a certain age, I spent time riding the rails as a young hobo, working in carnivals, and attending punk gigs. I have also worked as a bartender, day laborer, public school teacher, travel agency manager, and as a Texas State-Certified Private Investigator. I served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a Boatswain's Mate on an Aegis-class Destroyer, which I commissioned and piloted on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean . I received various service awards including three Battle Efficiency ribbons and the NATO medal for Defense of the Former Yugoslavia. I was discharged in 1997.

Using GI Bill benefits I obtained two degrees, both of which included Study Abroad programs in Ireland . I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas , where I studied film, literature and theater and received the President's Screenwriting Award. I received my Master of Arts degree in film and Irish studies from Northern Illinois University in 2006 and returned to Austin , Texas in 2007.

My first film was the feature length UNCLE FRED, a collaborative effort with Chris Connolly based on a short story I wrote at sea. We shot in various locations in Ft Worth, Texas and New York City and the film was screened at the 2000 Fort Worth Film Festival. Since then, I have written, directed, shot and edited a number of short films in addition to frequently collaborating with musicians and theater folks on performance films and music videos. I completed a second feature-length drama called WELLDIGGER in 2007. I am currently working on a biographical film and book project about my uncle Philip Norman Fagan, a little-known 1960s counterculture figure. Philip’s friends, associates and collaborators include Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jack Smith, Jonas Mekas, Gregory Markopoulos, Ronald Tavel, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Allen Ginsberg.

I’ve been an instructor at ACC since 2009 (you might say I am ACC) and have also been sporadically involved in film programming since that time as well. But enough about me…

 

faculty photo

James Froeschle

Professor

James Froeschle currently teaches as an Associate Professor at Austin Community College. He earned his Master's of FIne Arts degree in Film and Television production from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with an honors degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. He has studied filmmaking at New York University and screenwriting in the Writer's Program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professionally, James has worked as a music video director for Warner/Elecktra Records and as an editor for Austin's CBS news affiliate.

faculty photo

Dr. Mocha Jean Herrup

Professor

Mocha Jean Herrup holds a PhD in Radio-TV-Film (University of Texas), an MA in Media Studies (New School for Social Research), and a BA in English and Arts & Ideas (University of Michigan).

She is an award winning filmmaker whose work has screened in festivals around the world, on the Sundance Channel, at the Walker Art Center, and on Northwest Airlines. Her sixty second spot for Celis Brewery was honored by the Texas Ad Federation. Dr. Herrup has worked as a programmer and organizer with many film festivals including SXSW, Cinematexas, the Austin Asian American Film Festival, the Austin Jewish Film Festival, and the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival. She has been teaching at ACC since 2001. Her classes are participatory and engaging and she enjoys bringing an interdisciplinary, multi-faceted approach to the material-one that combines creative and analytical work and that focuses on the complexities of our current media world.

Dr. Herrup's research interests include gender and performance studies, documentary filmmaking, and Israeli and Middle Eastern film.

faculty photo

Nate Locklear

Lab Technician/Adjunct Professor

Nathan "Nate" Locklear has been working with the RTF department since 2002. He began as the department TA then became an Adjunct Instructor teaching the Film-style Production- Editing course and finally took the Equipment Manager position overseeing all production equipment for the department. Nate and his fellow employees Mike Scannell and James Froeschle greatly shaped the RTF department program into what it is today.

Before working with the RTF department Nate received his Associate of Arts degree from ACC then went on to University of Texas where he received his Bachelor of Science in RTF. He is certified in the Final Cut Pro editing program and trained in Avid.

Nate is also an award-winning filmmaker and owns the production company, For Now Productions. One of his projects includes a 12 part web series and multi-platform story titled, Once You Leave for which he won several Telly Awards, a Webby Honoree and two Indie Intertube awards. He was also the Co-Producer, Director of Photography and Editor for the first two seasons of the hit PBS show The Daytripper, he won two Emmy® Awards for his work. When he's not in production or editing he loves seeing films (on the big screen) especially independent and foreign cinema.

faculty photo

Joy Opp

Administration Assistant

Joy Opp is the Administrative Assistant for the Commercial Music Management, Music and Radio-Television-Film departments. She has worked for ACC since 1999 also in counseling services for two years. Joy strives to help students, teachers and co-workers to receive the most from their college experiences. Prior to ACC, she worked at Highland Community College in Illinois for five years. She has been married to a wonderful man since 1970, is the mother of two, and grandmother of three. Her hobbies include ceramics, gardening, needlework, music, movies, needlework and playing Wii.

faculty photo

Christian Raymond

Department Chair/Associate Professor

Christian Raymond's adventures in media range from writing screenplays at Walt Disney Pictures to producing story-driven educational films distributed worldwide, to creating film projects in partnership with under-resourced communities in Transylvania. He also served as head editor of the film journal Persistence of Vision, designing issues and writing on topics like narrative innovation in the digital age.

As an educator, he's developed recognized programs de novo like the Austin Film Society's multifaceted community program at Austin Studios, and has taught in high school and colleges, including New Media Literacy in RTF at the University of Texas at Austin. Raymond's community/creative initiatives have received support or been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, CEC Artslink, the Southby Southwest Interactive Festival and many others.

faculty photo

Mike Scannell

Instruction Associate/Adjunct Professor

Mike Scannell has been working as an independent producer, editor, and cinematographer in the Austin film community since graduating from the University of Texas film program in 2001.

After becoming an instructional associate at Austin Community College in 2002, he has worked to develop the RTF department's current film production program, and teaches the digital film production and lighting courses. He also manages the RTF department's post-production editing facilities.

As a filmmaker, his projects include a wide range of independent short films, documentary and feature films, and music videos. In 2008, he produced and edited the award-winning documentary "Six Man, Texas" which screened at Indie-fest Santa Fe, Dallas International, Gloria, Rockport, San Antonio, and Austin Film Festivals.

faculty photo

Elisabeth Sikes

Associate Adjunct Professor

I spent three months as Lead Trash Girl (aka Locations Assistant) on the set of Miss Congeniality. My first day of work, as I picked up errant soda cans, candy wrappers, and random script pages from the Pease Elementary playground; I came across a small scrap of paper. Penciled in prophetic words: "My Brother said you are a dumdass" [sic]

Following my stint in the Hollywood dream factory, I spent six years as Director of Artist Services at the Austin Film Society. I've been a Super-8 enthusiast, wedding video editor, volunteer at SXSW and Fantastic Fest, and, apparently, a dumdass.

My preoccupations include independent films (comedies and documentaries especially), character-driven television, noncommercial radio, and small yappy dogs.

I hold a MFA degree in Film Production from UT-Austin as well as a BS (!) in Radio-Television-Film from Syracuse University.

faculty photo

Michael Thielvoldt

Associate Adjunct Professor

Michael Thielvoldt earned a B.A. double major in Film and Electronic Arts and Communication Studies from California State University Long Beach and a M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin's Radio-Television-Film department. His academic interests gravitate toward film and television criticism, gender and race criticism, cultural studies, film history, and genre studies, and he has written for the American Film Institute and a handful of local film blogs. Additionally, he is an active member of the Austin Film Festival's Screener Selection Committee. In his spare time he teaches a variety of youth development courses, from robotics and engineering to culinary arts and gardening. In the Spring of 2012, he created and launched a video production course for middle school students, in order to foster youth exposure to and interest in audio-visual storytelling.

faculty photo

Cathy Welch

Associate Adjunct Professor

Cathy Welch has a Master's Degree in Film Production with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin. Her thesis film, Pickman's Model, has played at Dobie Mall Cinema, Alamo Drafthouse, and the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, and is currently available on DVD from Lurker Films and from Netflix. Cathy spent six years in Los Angeles in the 1980s working on feature films, including the Academy Award-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman. She also worked for Hughes Aircraft Company as a post-production supervisor for training films, press releases, and other video product-marketing materials. In addition, Cathy wrote, produced, and directed episodes of a cable television show about personal computers. Cathy's undergraduate degree is from UT's prestigious honors program, Plan II. Cathy's concentration in Plan II was in zoology, and she received special honors for her research on cystic fibrosis.

For the past eight years, Cathy has been an adjunct professor at Austin Community College, teaching radio, television, and film courses, including Introduction to Television Technology, Introduction to Radio and Television, Film History, and Film Appreciation. Cathy is also a writing, English, and biology tutor in the Learning Lab at ACC's Northridge Campus. In addition, Cathy teaches the Aesthetics of Editing class and a directing class at Austin School of Film. She recently served as editing consultant on the documentary Bat City U.S.A., a film about Austin's famous bat population by journalist Laura Brooks. Cathy truly loves working with filmmakers and students and helping them to succeed in both their artistic and their academic endeavors.

faculty photo

Mark Wilson

Associate Professor

Mark Wilson is an actor, filmmaker, and award winning magician, musician,and composer with many years experience creating and producing music and working in the entertainment field in a variety of capacities.

Over the years his accomplishments have become numerous, starting in 1980 as a solo and ensemble performer on stage, and then as a jingle composer and studio musician.

In 1993 he went to work full time for Austin based - Human Code Inc. as their Lead Composer, and so began an ongoing association with the multimedia industry that continues to this day. The fact that he plays many instruments - including piano, guitar, bass, drums, violin, trombone, and sings - helps him to create music in any style, a skill that he often relied on when he was contracted to create music for his first CD-ROM title in 1993, "The Cartoon History of the Universe", which featured over 500 music cues and seven hours of music, and won numerous awards including a bronze New Media Invision award for "Best Audio Soundtrack" in 1996. Since Human Code's demise in 2002, Mark has continued to create music and songs for award winning software titles and films, videos, radio, and television shows, including the Emmy-award winning series on PBS "Daytripper". Mark has also scored many award winning short films, including "The Man Who Never Cried", winner of the 2012 Doorpost Film Project online contest.

In addition to his on camera and voice over acting work, Mark has been performing magic and music professionally since 1980, and since 2009 he has performed as "Merlin The Wise" at Sherwood Forest Faire, where each year he continues to entertain the thousands of attendees to the festival with his own unique style of magic, music, and comedy, and he also performs music as a solo artist and with his 80s cover band Airwave 80s.