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.”


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.

Christopher Cibelli NFI instructor

Christopher Cibelli

Mr. Cibelli has spent a career editing feature films, television series, music videos, documentaries and web-based content. After attending film school at California State University, Northridge, Chris began working on the first season of the revolutionary editorial and musically styled series “Miami Vice” for Universal Studios.

Moving into the feature films, he began a long-term mentorship with Academy Award winning editor Anne V. Coates (Lawrence of Arabia, The Elephant Man) on features What About Bob?,  Masters of the Universe, and Congo, where he coordinated complex visual effects with Industrial Light and Magic in 65MM. He went on to edit and supervise the music on Just the Ticket and later Andy Garcia’s The Lost City with Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman.

Chris produced several behind the scene documentaries for these films, working with Mariah Carey, David Anspaugh, Joe Mantegna, and collaborated with Andy Garcia on the PBS Master Series Award winning documentary Uno Mas: Cachao the story Israel Lopez, the master of Cuban classical music.

He worked with such filmmaking luminaries as Francis Ford Coppola, Jerry Bruckheimer, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Richard Donner, Michael Mann, Danny DeVito and Dino DeLaurentiis.  This work experience has taken him on many film locations as well as residencies at major studio backlots, including: Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, MGM, and Disney.

Recently he finished a feature film Infamous 6 editing in China for several months.  Prior, he edited 2 episodes of NBC’s The Enemy Within, a season of Reverie for NBC/Amblin at Universal Studios, a prior season of Suits for USA, the award-winning series Rectify for the Sundance Channel, and spent seven years on the CBS worldwide television hit series The Mentalist from Bruno Heller for Warner Bros.

Chris is a member in the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, ASCAP, BMI, and alumni of California State University, Northridge (CSUN).

Matthew Perkins

Matthew Perkins

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.

Nashville Film Institute Instructor Photo: Mark Gary

Mark Gary

Mark Gary has taught cinematography at La Salle University, College of Saint Benilde, and the International Academy of Film and Television at Bigfoot, Cebu since the school’s startup in 2005. He also created videos for the performing arts and taught the workshop “Video Documentation in the Performing Arts” at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

Mark has directed two full-length feature films, The Leaning House and Naked, was the director of photography on eight feature films, and worked as a director and director of photography in numerous television commercials. Mark was nominated for Indie Movie Cinematographer of the Year by Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards and Best Cinematography in the ASEAN International Film Festival for the feature film Sonata.

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.


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.

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.

Adam G. Simon

Adam G. Simon is a Los Angeles born actor and writer for television and film. He is known for his work as the writer of POINT BLANK (2019) an action thriller for Gaumont Films, Warparty, and Netflix, based on Fred Cavaye’s Action Thriller, “A Bout Portant”. The film was directed by Joe Lynch and stars Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo, Marcia Gay Harden, Teyonah Paris & Boris McGiver.

Adam also penned the original screenplay for MAN DOWN (2015) an action thriller directed by Dito Montiel which stars Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney, Kate Mara & Clifton Collins Jr. In 2017 Adam and Filmmaker Joe Carnahan co-wrote a re-imagining of the popular cult film THE RAID by Gareth Evans. Prior to his current work, Adam started his professional career acting while working as a bodyguard and protection specialist.

In 2012 Adam went to work as a Sales Producer for Cameron/Pace Group LLC in Burbank California (founded by director James Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace). Shortly thereafter, he wrote and produced Synapse, a film where he also played the lead.

Adam is an advocate for the homeless having being homeless himself while writing MAN DOWN and speaks as an advocate for homeless veterans and survivors of abuse.

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.

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.