At the Nashville Film Institute, we are surrounded by wonderful, supportive team of faculty and staff. Together, we seek to fulfill our mission: “To train students for careers in the film industry.”


Michael Tabb, Program Director

Michael Tabb is a multiple award-winning screenwriter, Writer’s Guild member, educator, and author.

He has extensive expertise in lecturing screenwriting at Full Sail University, UCLA, and USC. Michael has spoken on and moderated web-casts and industry panels for San Diego’s Comic-Con International, local Los Angeles film festivals, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and others.
In his ongoing professional screenwriting career, Michael develops feature film and television projects with Universal Studios, Disney Feature Animation, The Canton Company at Warner Brothers and more. He has also adapted various types of products into feature film screenplays.

His new book, Prewriting Your Screenplay: A Step-By-Step Guide To Generating Stories, explains how he develops great, cohesive script ideas that continue to get him work, released by Focal Press, the entertainment-business division of Routledge, America’s #1 textbook publisher.

Michael’s education includes two years as a USC undergrad, a B.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and graduated from UCLA’s School of Film and Television, professional screenwriting program. Michael takes great pride in his mentorship of bright writers of all ages and is a valuable part of the NFI Team.

Matthew Perkins

Matthew Perkins, Program Coordinator

Matthew Perkins (C. Phil) is a film educator, historian, researcher, and scholar. He will obtain his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Cinema and Media Studies in the spring of 2019, with his dissertation titled The Acquisition and Integration of Sound Labor During the Transition from Silent to Talking Films, 1925-1931. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Communication Arts and French, as well as an M.A. in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research on film labor, sound studies, and sports media has been presented at conferences across North America. Matthew has previously served as adjunct professor of Communications at California State University, Dominguez Hills, as well as graduate teaching fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Micha Ellars

Micah Ellars, Lead Instructor

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.

Joey Hinkebein

Joey is a graduate of Belmont University with a degree in Audio Engineering Technology and a minor degree in Music Business. He has four years of experience teaching audio and an extensive amount of experience working with audio, record labels, publishing companies, and production companies in a professional and commercial setting. Within the past seven years, Joey has worked in a professional setting with names like Ariana Grande, Charles Kelley, Kristen Stewart, Montgomery Gentry, Devin Dawson, Wings of Apollo, Bentley Caldwell, and many other UMG, Warner, Sony, BMI, and ASCAP artists.

Bobby Rindhage

Bobby Rindhage has worked as a graphic designer, director, and writer. He is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA). Bobby, along with a partner, wrote, directed, edited, and starred in The Guys Comedy webseries; a project based in Chicago featuring students and alumni from the Second City comedy school. Bobby served as the Digital Media Director for Stuker Training and a Graphic Designer and Creative Consultant for Dow Corning.

Bobby holds a Masters Degree in Communication and Digital Media and a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design/Communication, both from Saginaw Valley State University

Vincent Riotta

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Honors Diploma and The Ronson , Vanbrugh and Patrick Crean prizes. Best Actor Award at the Barcelona Film Festival.

Vincent has successfully pursued a career in acting, directing, writing and has an extensive career as an acting teacher, spanning 36 years in three different countries; England, U.S.A and Italy.

He has worked as an actor with many esteemed movie directors ranging from Ron Howard, Paul Haggis, Christopher Nolan and Peter Greenaway , Zack Sneider, Jose Padilha, Bille August and most recently filmed The Pope with Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce directed by Fernando Mereilles and he has just returned from Belgrade where he played the role of the celebrated Italian Scientist , Luigi Crocco in the Bollywood Film ‘Rocketry, The Nambi Effect’ about the Indian Scientific genius, Nambi Narayanan, directed by and starring Madhavan ( Maddy ), and the Indian superstar, Shah Rukh Khan.

Among some of the wonderful actors he has worked with are;, Tom Hanks, Hilary Swank, Chris Hemsworth, Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis and Penelope Cruz, Diane Lane, Mila Kunis, Nicholas Cage, Antonio Banderas, Sofia Loren, Susan Sarandon, James Mason.

His TV career stretches from work on the BBC and ITV in the UK, RAI and MEDIASET in ITALY to Netflix and HBO in the USA. Most recently the HALLMARK remake of the classic Audrey Hepburn movie, Roman Holiday, renamed Rome in Love.

As an acting teacher, he founded the Hollywood Blvd Acting School in Hollywood, California where he was artistic director for four years.

A full biography is available on IMDB.COM.

James Simpson

James Simpson is an actor, director, producer, and composer, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the film and music industry. He has produced series for ITV and Channel Four as well as developing projects in North America with HBO and USA Network.

James wrote and directed Ulysses, a BBC children’s film, which won the Italian best International Children’s Film Award. James has been involved with the financing and/or the producing of over thirty films, including the BAFTA nominated Merchant Of Venice, starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, Head In The Clouds, starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz, The Bridge of San Luis Reystarring Robert DeNiro, Kathy Bathes, Harvey Keitel and Gabriel Byrne, A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett, and The Statementstarring Michael Caine. In 2016 he directed and produced Definition of Fear, a psychological horror film, starring Jacqueline Fernandez, the Bollywood Star, set in New York and filmed in Canada, which is set to release in 2019.

He is currently directing the football documentary Hope, afilm/TV series about the UN charity Football for Peace and how it is helping young people in some of the most dangerous places in the world have hope and turn away from fundamentalism, through the greatest sport in the world and with the greatest footballers of our time, including Pele, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

Andrew Rozario

Since borrowing his grandmother’s video camera when he was ten, Andrew Rozario has been making films to entertain audiences. The summer after graduating from high school he worked on his first feature film, O Brother, Where Are Thou? In 2010 he was Gwyneth Paltrow’s cast assistant on Country Strong, and in 2012 he was Ashley Judd’s cast assistant on The Identical. He has worked on music videos, commercials, documentaries, short films and feature films. Creating magic and wonder is his sole focus in practicing the craft of filmmaking.


Kelley Baker

Kelley Baker has extensive experience in the film industry, having credits on films such as Finding Forrester, Good Will Hunting, Psycho, and Far From Heaven. At NFI, Kelley teaches all about submitting films to film festivals and selling and distributing independent films. His books include The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide Part 1 and Part 2.

Kelley attended the University of Southern California. He received a B.A. and an M.F.A. in Film Production, and did post graduate work at the American Film Institute.

Matt Coale

Matt Coale is an Emmy Award winning director of photography based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Having been shooting films since he was twelve, Matt has over 1,400 commercials, 650 corporate films, 750 television projects, and 160 music videos to his credit. He has international experience in 35mm, 16mm, and HD production.

Chris Foley

Chris has been working in video production for two decades. He started in Television News in his hometown of Rochester, New York while earning his Masters in Film/Video. Then, he spent a decade in Los Angeles, first wearing a number of hats on the set, before zeroing-in on editing and screenwriting. After three years as an Editor at Country Music Television, Chris started his own production company, Bolder Pictures, where he continues to produce video content for local and national clients.

Steve Grider

Steve Grider is a location sound mixer based out of Nashville, Tennessee. He has been rolling sound since 1991; his client list includes ABC, BBC, CBS, FOX, HGTV, MTV, NBC, TLC and the NFL. Steve has taught classes on location sound at Vanderbilt University, and his alma mater Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).

He is a graduate of MTSU’s Mass Communications program.

Raul Torres, guest instructor at Nashville Film Institute

Raul Torres

Raul Torres is a guest instructor for NFI’s Acting For The Camera program. Raul is a Mexican-American actor/producer, know for “Wonderstruck” with Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, directed by Todd Haynes by Amazon pictures, Showtime’s “Billions”, NBC’s “New Amsterdam”,”The Blacklist”,”Gone” and “Blindspot”, Marvel’s “The Punisher”, CBS’ “Madam Secretary” , Starz’ “Power” etc. His uncanny ability to perform in English and Spanish, has won him and special place among directors and producers looking to use diverse talent.