“To train students for careers in the film industry.”
Robert Perry is a writer, producer, director, cinematographer and visual designer with over 47 years of experience working on film, video and digital media productions. He began his film career in 1977, accomplishing hundred of projects along the way, including work on feature films, concerts, commercials, music videos, industrials, corporate image, education and training, and documentary, as well as broadcast television series and specials. His specializations include stop-motion, stop-frame animation, high speed and strobe cinematography, compositing elements, aerials, remote head operation, and macro and tabletop work.
As a young man, Robert was fascinated with how things work, as well as a strong interest in the fine arts. The world of film became his playground for exploration, creativity and problem solving. After a tour in the Air Force as a translator, Robert completed his B.A. in Creative Writing, Journalism and Film at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Robert was one of 6 selected for the film program, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1977. Within days of graduating, he began his film and television career working as a writer/producer and editor in educational television. He went on to work out of the Tulsa, Dallas, Orlando and Atlanta markets.
Robert also holds an MFA in Media Design (2013) from Full Sail and completed Full Sail University’s Leadership Academy training in September, 2014, as well as the Excellence in Entrepreneurship training through the University of Central Florida’s College of Business MBA Program in Spring,2002. As an educator, Robert has taught cinematography, lighting, electrical and grip, composition and visual design and editing. And he has held several teaching positions from lab specialist to Course Director, Department Chair and Program Director.
Robert is a father of four, an accomplished photographer and fine artist. He enjoys hiking and communing with nature. As an artist, he attended 3 reportage drawing workshops with the late illustrator and painter, David Passalacqua. Recent work appeared in 3 gallery shows in 2022.
Charlton James recently served as a teaching artist in NYC at the Broadway producing Manhattan Theatre Club working on Broadway productions of Skeleton Crew, How I Learned to Drive, Cost of Living, The Collaboration, Summer, 1976, and King James. From 2005-2020 he was a Professor of Acting and Program Coordinator of the Cinematic Arts and Theatre program at the University of North Alabama. During that time he designed and created BFA degrees in acting for stage and screen, cinema production, and production design. At the university he was named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Professor of the year in 2020 and was honored with the university wide Academic Affairs Teaching Award in 2011, and now as Ambassador / Program director at NFI. He holds a BFA in Classical Actor Training from the University of Utah and an MFA in Classical Actor Training from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival/University of Alabama.
On the film festival circuit he’s won several awards, including:
Micah Ellars has many years of experience in nearly every department and position there is in the film and commercial industry. He has produced commercials and corporate documentaries as well as the occasional music video. He also serves as an acting coach and has clients starring in Hollywood features. He is in pre-production on various feature projects.
In the classroom he has a unique approach. While Micah believes that a practical, hands-on education is the best way to pursue the technical skills of filmmaking, he thinks personal development is the most important ingredient for a successful life. He challenges the students to articulate their goals in writing and this approach has helped to launch several careers, even before some students have graduated.
Micah Ellars is a graduate of West Virginia State University with a degree in mass communications with an emphasis on film.
Amanda Abicalaffe is an award-winning Brazilian director, producer, and casting director living in Nashville, TN. Since graduating from university with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications & Advertising, Amanda has lived in New York City and Paris where she attended top film schools and directed multiple short films, documentaries, and music videos.
Amanda moved to Los Angeles in 2015 after being accepted into the high ranked MFA Film & TV Production program at Loyola Marymount University.
Her thesis film “Feet of Fire” has won 12 awards and has been recognized in more than 20 film festivals around the world.
Amanda’s background in theater ignited her casting director career. She has casted multiple independent projects, as well as music videos produced by Bad Robot Productions, RadicalMedia, and WarnerMedia.
Recently, Amanda relocated to Nashville and is focused on writing and producing independent short films and features as well as working in Development & Production at Riverside Entertainment.
Steve is a filmmaker and songwriter based in Nashville, TN. He is the writer/director/producer of both the 2019 murder mystery THE WHITE ORCHID, starring Olivia Thirlby, John Carroll Lynch and Jennifer Beals and THIS LAST LONELY PLACE, which stars Rhys Coiro, Xander Berkeley and Carly Pope and was a Kickstarter success story. He was writer/producer the Sony-released THE RIVER MURDERS, starring Ray Liotta, Christian Slater and Ving Rhames. Steve produced and directed a free speech documentary which was released theatrically by THINKFilm. A Peabody Award winner, Steve has shot seven national documentaries for PBS and thousands of hours of broadcast television. He wrote and directed THE BIG EMPTY which starred Jon Favreau, Kelsey Grammer, Daryl Hannah, Rachael Leigh Cook and Sean Bean. It was released theatrically by Artisan. He is also quite proud of his “Special Thank You” credit on NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.
Steve’s films have appeared at many prestigious festivals worldwide, including the Opening Night Film at SxSW, two red carpet premieres at AFI Fest in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canada, Stockholm International Film Festival, Bangkok International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, True/False Film Festival, Humphrey Bogart Film Festival, GenArt NYC Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, Silver Docs AFI, Florida Film Festival, Lund International Fantastic Film Festival, San Francisco Indie Fest, Newport Beach Independent Film Festival and many more.
Mike Akel is an American TV / Film actor, director and professor from Nashville, Tennessee. His award winning film CHALK was released theatrically and aired on the Sundance Channel and Starz Network. Chalk was also nominated for the prestigious John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award.
Mike’s next jump was into Television where he was the field director and story producer for season 2 of the popular documentary series MY 600 LB LIFE, which continues to air on TLC.
THE TINY LIFE OF BUTCHER DUKE is Mike’s latest feature comedy and was theGrand Jury Winner at the Hill Country Film Festival. ~ “Napoleon Dynamite meets Rocky on a Tennis Court!” The film can be seen on Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
Mike is also the proud co-founder of the kids content production company New Sky Kids, which has more than 2.4 million YouTube subscribers and over 1.5 billion views.
As a filmmaking instructor and professor Mike taught 6 years at the high school level and 5 years at the University of Texas in Austin. He is currently a professor at The Nashville Film Institute!
When Mike is not training the next generation of young filmmakers, he is producing his new TV comedy series, CHURCHVILLE – Hailed as Portlandia meets The Office set in the world of religion.
Renato was born in Brazil to Dominican parents. They made their way back to the “Half-Island” soon after, he was raised under the Caribbean sun. He discovered film and photography right after high school while in Sweden, when shooting friends in the skateboarding and punk rock scene. After that experience he decided to enroll in Mass Media and Communications program in his native Santiago.
Upon completion of his degree, he then moved to Madrid, Spain to attend the prestigious film school, Séptima ARS where he earned a second Bachelor of Arts this one in Filmmaking with a technical minor in Sound Recording for Film and Television.
In 2012 he relocated to New York City where he worked in the sound and production departments of major networks and studios, like: CBS, NBC and Showtime as well as Independent productions. In 2019 he started working at the New York Film Academy as Technical Administrator Renato moved to Nashville in 2022 but is working between NYC and Music City.
Scott Crain is Program Coordinator and Instructor
Scott Crain is an honors graduate of the University of Memphis and the Nashville Film Institute. He’s been acting, writing, producing, and directing for stage and screen for 25 years, and his films have won numerous awards in film festivals throughout the United States and internationally. Scott was nominated “Indie Film Director of the Year” by the Elite Business Network in 2013.Scott has sold his feature screenplays to Warner Media (formerly Time Warner), Word Entertainment, ITN Studios, and more.
Doug DeAngelis began his professional career at age eighteen, as a multi-platinum engineer, programmer, and mixer. His studio credits featured thirty-one Billboard Dance Charts #1 singles with artists including Nine Inch Nails, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, No Doubt, and Babyface.
After twelve years in the record industry, he relocated to Los Angeles and shifted his focus to film and television music. He is a BMI Award winning composer and music supervisor, whose credits include top rated primetime network dramas, comedies, feature films, reality TV, awards shows, sports themes, and talk shows.
Miranda has led and taught film and acting workshops and lecture spots at the University of Colorado, Syracuse University, Colorado Institute of Art, The Colorado Film School, Acting for Film and TV Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Theater of the Arts in Hollywood, California. Miranda has been a regular guest judge at a variety of Actors Showcases in and around Los Angeles, California.
Given his diverse body of work Miranda has found himself directing talented studied actors such as, John Heard, Daryl Hannah, Keith Szarabajka, Noah Wyle, Sharon Gless, and Danny Trejo as well as new green actors – or professional athletes, musicians and politicians such as Palma Violets, John Mayer, Steve Jordan, New Order, Matthew Sweet, John Hickenlooper, Devotchka, Spike Lee, Tony Hawk and Anthony Davis. The constant for Miranda is pulling great performances out of both the studied and the raw to help tell the best story. with motion pictures.
James Riley is an international and multicultural Screenwriter and Creative Producer. He has lived and worked in five different countries. He received his M.Litt in International Relations from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK and his MFA in Writing for Screen and Television from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.James has taken notes on all his scripts from seasoned Hollywood screenwriters, including Simpsons’ writers, Emmy Winners, and Steven Spielberg-produced writers. He was Teaching Assistant for A-List Hollywood Director Joe Sargent in his Directing Workshop and has worked on set as Assistant Director and Production Manager on award-winning film projects in Hollywood and Europe. He was Press Producer and Book Producer / Translator and received Music and Soundtrack credits on an award-winning German feature-length film. The film received funding from the Bavarian Government and product placement from BMW; it screened theatrically in Germany and had two select US screenings in New York City and Los Angeles. James is attached as Main Screenwriter and Creative Producer on seven feature-length films with Producers in Hollywood and Germany.
A full biography is available on IMDB.COM.
DuWayne Sterling attended Middle Tennessee State University majoring Film & Television. He’s been committed to video cameras ever since the 7th grade and has worked at several television stations, such as WATE of Knoxville, Jewelry Television, and HGTV, and for a multitude of film and music video sets including Keith Urban, Phenix, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes and Twenty One Pilots. He’s also worked on promos for Sony, Disney, and Food Lion.
DuWayne is a graduate of Pellissippi State in Knoxville, TN before moving on to Middle Tennessee State University to seek his Bachelor’s Degree. Afterwards, he worked for Lifetouch Photography for 4 years before moving on to working for a local film and broadcast rental facility, High End TV for another 5 years. During that time, he would begin his own freelance videography business. He currently works for First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro as their Director of Video Ministries.
OUR MISSION: "TO TRAIN STUDENTS FOR CAREERS IN THE FILM INDUSTRY"
191 Polk Avenue Nashville,