Ben Sampson teaches the courses “Film Authors,” “Introduction to Visual Culture” and “Film and Social Change” in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media.
Before entering graduate school, he worked as a freelance videographer and editor in documentary films and global NGO projects. His primary area of scholarly research explores the modern intersection between media industries and cultural ideology. He has conducted research across the United States on the modern relationship between Hollywood and Christian film culture. Additionally, Sampson has also conducted extensive research throughout Europe on the Roman Catholic Church’s interaction with mainstream cinema.
Given his background in videographic work, Sampson also contributes to the new field of video essays — an attempt to bridge scholarly research with contemporary production tools. Sampson has published numerous works in journals and online magazines, and he sits on the advisory board of [in]Transition, an online extension of Cinema Journal and the first peer-reviewed journal devoted to videographic work.
Sampson received his B.A. in history from California State University, Northridge, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. At UCLA TFT, he was the recipient of the Plitt Southern Trust Fellowship, the Charles Boyer Fellowship and the Dissertation Year Fellowship.
Ambassador Attallah Shabazz is a sought-after speaker throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. She is teaching one of her signature courses, “Nationality, Nature & Nuance,” at UCLA TFT in Fall Quarter 2016.
A producer, writer and diplomat, she has spent more than 40 years offering keynote addresses, while developing curriculums and programs for educational institutions, executive forums, diplomatic networks, penal systems, conferences and human service organizations around the world, with the purpose of motivating and encouraging the young and mature alike to value and appreciate diverse cultural engagement, traditional rights of passage and perspectives.
Ambassador Shabazz is recognized as a masterful creator and an astute businesswoman. Fondly termed by her colleagues as an “ideas architect,” she is a strategist and technician quick to discern the integrity, theme and ultimate goal of each endeavor she undertakes.
Raised in Westchester County, New York, she is the eldest of six daughters born to Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz. As a promise to her father, her mother made sure she attended New York City’s United Nations International School. After graduation, she enrolled in Briarcliff College, as an international law major with a minor in English.
A proud alumna of the United Nations International School, she returned to counsel and coach the senior classes from 1991-2010, and continues to guide many graduates today in their global capacities.
In 1977, Ambassador Shabazz and Yolanda King founded Nucleus, Inc., an eight-member “edutainment” troupe based in New York and Los Angeles, traveling to an average of 100 U.S. cities per year until 1994, acquainting her with the roadmap of national systems, networks and advancement in regions around the country.
In 1996, she established The Pilgrimage Foundation in honor of her father’s spiritual journey to the Holy Land in 1964. “It offered him the ‘Light of Understanding’ and confirmed his vision for our Oneness,” she says. In tribute to her mother’s lifelong legacy of service and as an educator, as well as the leadership of both sets of grandparents and their parents before them, thus uniting five languages, three religions, social histories and traditions, she has remained steadfast in guiding experiences that expand one’s own personal prism and regard for others. The Pilgrimage Foundation has touched hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, reaching the underserved as well as the privileged, from shelters, correctional facilities and villages to metropolises, state houses and royal compounds.
Ambassador Shabazz is also the founder of Tapestry Bridge, Legacy Inc. “Everybody Has One,” The Humanity Passport Project and the Malcolm X Shabazz Birthplace & Foundation.
In 2002, after years of personal service, the Hon. Said Musa, Esq., former prime minister of Belize, recognized her as a key advisor on International Cultural Affairs & Project Development, and appointed her as the ambassador-at-large, representing Belize internationally and in perpetuity. During her tenure she has also worked with the Ministries of Human Development, Culture, Education, Youth & Sports, along with the nonprofit and private sector in Belize incorporating her insights, guidance and partnership. She has had the honor of being invited to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Briefing Forums and The United Nations Association. Much of her expertise centers on fostering diplomatic relations between cultures as well as discerning traditional and contemporary practices, human resource training, economic development and capacity building.
Ambassador Shabazz has offered her dedicated alliances as an appointed member of the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum’s Task Force on the Digital Divide; serves on a number of international humanitarian boards; councils and committees; and offers private consultation to many executive and diplomatic leaders.
She has written op-ed commentaries and articles for newspapers and periodicals such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Essence and El Mundo, among others. In 1999, she was honored to write the new foreword to her father’s classic, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and is currently completing her own memoir, From Mine Eyes.
Eric Hoff is a director, producer, writer and an artistic associate at About Face Theatre in Chicago. His New York directing credits include Hit the Wall (Off-Broadway, Barrow Street Theater), Lucas Hnath’s About a Woman Named Sarah (59E59 Theaters) and When We Met (CAP21 Theatre Company). Chicago directing credits include Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience, Steppenwolf Garage), The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (Red Tape Theatre, with Bonnie Metzgar) and Shelley Duvall’s Women Under the Influence Theatre (produced by Salonathon) at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre. He was a founding organizer, with co-creator Jesse Morgan Young, of REVIVAL, a performance art/night life/spectacle experience at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Bradley Center Masonic Temple. At Red Tape Theatre he directed The Skriker and The Life and Death of Madam Barker. He directed WHAT’S THE T? at About Face and also produced The Woyzeck Project, a citywide festival sponsored by About Face and The Hypocrites. With collaborators SK Kerastas and Will Davis, Hoff is creating/writing Color Guard. In 2017 he will direct the apprentice company for Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville and an interactive theater piece by writer Eva Anderson and composer Michael Cassidy.
Monica Payne is a stage director and the founder of Theatre Lumina, a company devoted to cross-cultural collaboration and international exchange. She recently directed a production of Our Country’s Good for the undergraduate Theater Program at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In Summer 2016, she co-directed a workshop production of Camino Real by Tennessee Williams for CSU Summer Arts/Steppenwolf Classes West in Monterey, Calif. She spent much of the previous year working on Trash Story, an award-winning Polish play by Magda Fertacz. She directed full productions in both New York (Kulture+ Productions) and Los Angeles (UCLA TFT), as well as a staged reading for the International Voices Project/Trap Door Theatre in Chicago. Other projects include a critically acclaimed production of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye for the Pittsburgh Playhouse; Ploughman from Bohemia for Theatre Lumina in a site-specific Los Angeles production; Racine’s Phedre for Point Park University; Euripides’ Hecuba and Mark Twain’s Huck Finn, adapted by Eric Coble, for the Pittsburgh Playhouse; her own adaptation of The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Euripides’ Elektra; William Inge’s Natural Affection; and Sam Shepard’s Savage Love. She also assisted Georges Bigot (formerly of Theatre du Soleil) on a production of Macbeth and assisted Department of Theater Chair Brian Kite on the La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts’ award-winning production of Miss Saigon, which subsequently toured in China.
A former actress, Payne worked for many years in Chicago with various companies, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Artistic Home, The Hypocrites, The Journeymen Theater Company and The Famous Door Theatre Company, among others. She is a member of the 2008 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab in New York, as well as the 2012 Director’s Lab West in Los Angeles.
Payne has taught acting and directing at Carnegie Mellon University, and served as the head of graduate acting at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. She has been a Meisner technique instructor for 16 years and has taught for School at Steppenwolf, The Artistic Home and The Audition Studio, as well as her own studio in Los Angeles. In addition to the CSU Summer Arts, she has taught with Steppenwolf Classes West in various intensive programs, including those in Toronto and Long Beach.
She earned her M.F.A. in directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Her research areas include literary adaptations, devised work and Polish theater.
Brynn Shiovitz’s research intersects at the crossroads between critical race studies and tap dance. She is primarily interested in the ability of Africanist performance to put into a narrative context diasporic identity by simultaneously attending to fields of vision, aurality and embodied practice. Her current work asks readers to consider multiple forms of masking at play in 20th century American tap dance performances of the stage, screen and sound cartoon. While her research historicizes tap’s relationship to minstrelsy and other means of masking, her current work in documentary film calls attention to the relevancy of this conversation today. Shiovitz is the sole creator of The Rhythm Project, a series of documentaries that take up questions regarding the relationship between rhythm, race and diaspora, as it exists for contemporary tap dancers living in Los Angeles and New York City.
Her writing on dance can be seen in the journals Dance Chronicle, Women and Performance, Jazz Perspectives and Dance Research; the magazines Dance, Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher; and a forthcoming anthology on African diaspora dance, edited by Thomas DeFrantz.
She has taught movement and theory across the country at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and Brooklyn College, and is currently on faculty in the Department of Dance at Chapman University. In addition to dance, Shiovitz is a certified Mat Pilates and Hatha yoga instructor.
Shiovitz received her Ph.D. in culture and performance from UCLA. She also holds an M.A. in performance studies from NYU and a B.A. in philosophy and dance from Mills College.
“Masks in Disguise: Exposing Minstrelsy and Racial Representation within American Tap Dance”
Performances of the Stage, Screen, and Sound Cartoon, 1900-1950. Dissertation. Published online by ProQuest 2016. All Rights Reserved.
“Exchanging ‘Coon’ for Cork: George M. Cohan and Sonic Minstrelsy at the Fin de Siècle”
Essay in Dancing the African Diaspora., Ed. Thomas DeFrantz (Forthcoming, Winter 2016)
Media review of “Jazz Tap Originals: A Collection of Live Performances (1979-2012)”
Jazz Perspectives (Forthcoming, Winter 2016)
Review of “Hermes Pan: The Man Who Danced with Fred Astaire”
Dance Research Journal, 46, pp. 120-123. doi:10.1017/S0149767714000369
Review of “Burnt Cork: Traditions and Legacies of Blackface Minstrelsy”
Dance Research Journal, 45, pp. 131-134. doi:10.1017/S0149767712000411
“Gotta Move: Women in Tap”
Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 22:1, 161-163. Summer 2012
“Tapping into Race, Women, and Rhythm”
Dance Chronicle: Studies in Dance and Related Arts, Vol. 34, No. 2; 2011
“An Evening with Fluxus Women”
Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Fluxus Vol. 19, Issue 2; Winter 2009
Dance Magazine, Vol. 83, No. 8; Aug. 2009
“Improving Your Improv”
Dance Spirit, Vol. 13, No. 8; Oct. 2009
Jeff Maynard has been an active member of the Los Angeles theater community for more than 20 years. Recent directing work includes Good People at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts (L.A. Times Critic’s Choice) and Musical Theatre West’s The Music Man, starring Davis Gaines, at The Carpenter Center in Long Beach. Other La Mirada credits include Broadway Bound; Boeing Boeing; The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, starring Marilu Henner; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Tales of Tinseltown at the Actor’s Co-op; and Dave Rossmer & Dan Lipton’s musical Shoot! Cut! Print! Kill! Die!
Maynard collaborated with Jason Robert Brown on a new, revised version of 13, and directed a musical half-hour pilot presentation, Rated P for Parenthood, for ABC. He is most proud to be a founding member of UCLA Alumni’s Buffalo Nights Theatre Company, for which he has directed, produced or acted in more than 15 productions.
Maynard’s other acting credits include appearing in the first national tour of Lost in Yonkers; and on episodes of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Diagnosis Murder.
He previously taught musical theater at USC School of Dramatic Arts and directed the university’s 2015 production of Grease. He currently runs the theater program at Los Angeles’ Mirman School and teaches private acting classes throughout the city.
Maynard is the recipient of a Drama-Logue Award for The Firebugs; a Backstage West Award for The Apollo of Bellac; and LA Weekly’s Revival Production of the Year award for Modigliani.
He earned his B.A. in theater from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Roxanne Steinberg has worked within a strong tradition of modern dance, and has studied Graham, Horton, Limon, Cunningham and Lewitsky techniques from some of the first-generation modern dance pioneers. At a young age, she began developing a practice of creative dance and improvisation. A graduate of Bennington College, she studied post-modern dance and worked in the Black Music Division. From performing in abandoned factories with Zig Zag dans la Savane in Paris to choreographing a Mandala for 32 Shingon Buddhist acolytes in Koyasan, Japan, Steinberg has worked internationally with musicians and composers including Alex Cline, Yas Kaz, Paul Chavez with Feltlike, Yuval Ron, Steve Lockwood, Pheeroan Aklaf, Adam Rudolph, Leon Mobley and Myra Melford. She has participated in the work of interdisciplinary artists Carol Kim and Bill Viola. In Japan, she danced with dancers/choreographers Amagatsu of Sankai Juku and Min Tanaka, with whom she performed in Carmina Burana conducted by Seiji Ozawa, and in Salome (solo) conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama.
In 1988, she founded Body Weather Laboratory in Los Angeles with Melinda Ring and has been teaching and performing with dancer Oguri since 1990. Morleigh Steinberg’s award winning film Traveling Light featured Steinberg and Oguri. Her work has been presented at REDCAT in Los Angeles, and at The Flea (Dance Conversations) and Basilica Hudson in New York. Part of the Arcane Collective, she danced in Cold Dream Colour — Homage to Louis Le Broquy, choreographed by Morleigh Steinberg and Oguri, which premiered in Dublin and was presented at REDCAT, in Portland, Oregon, and at The Guggenheim in New York. Her most recent project, Caddy! Caddy! Caddy! William Faulkner Dance Project, toured nationally and will be presented at the Hammer Museum in November 2016 by Lightning Shadow, the dance company she shares with Oguri.
Steinberg has choreographed for Portland’s BodyVox, and artist Lauren Bon’s Not a Cornfield, Farmlab and Strawberry Flag. She works at Bon’s Metabolic Studio where dance is her language for organizing community. She participated in Bon’s 2013 commemorative action, 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
Steinberg has been an artist-in-residence at Electric Lodge in Venice, Calif., since 1997. She has taught master classes at UCLA, Art Center College of Design, Pomona College, Cal Arts, Evergreen College and Bennington College; she also taught and choreographed at Cal State L.A.
She maintains a close creative relationship with Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, REDCAT, and Grand Performances, where she has choreographed and performed with Oguri. She has received grants from the Durfee Foundation, L.A. County Arts Commission and Department of Cultural Affairs Los Angeles for her own work and with Oguri and Body Weather Laboratory.
Steve Anderson is a scholar-practitioner working at the intersections of media, history, technology and culture. He teaches classes in the production and theory of digital media in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media.
His book Technologies of Vision: The War Between Data and Images (MIT Press, 2017) surveys the emergence of competing regimes of computational and photographic image making from the 1830s to the present, focusing on cultural implications related to space, visualization and surveillance. His previous book, Technologies of History: Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past (Dartmouth, 2011), investigated the emergence of experimental history across a range of visual media including film, TV and digital games.
In 2015, Anderson was awarded a Digital Innovation Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies to create Technologies of Cinema, a longform video essay and critical digital archive of technology as seen on American TV and film.
He is the founder/principal investigator of the public media archive and fair use advocacy network Critical Commons. Along with Tara McPherson, he is co-editor of the interdisciplinary electronic journal Vectors and co-principal investigator of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, developers of the open source electronic publishing platform Scalar.
His scholarly work has appeared in the journals Visible Language, InTransition, American Literature, GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, The Journal of Media Literacy Education, Frames Cinema Journal, Profession, Pre/Text, The Moving Image, Release Print, The Independent, Filmmaker, Res Magazine, Intelligent Agent, Film Quarterly and Digital Humanities Quarterly, and is anthologized in the books Transmedia Frictions: The Digital, the Arts, and the Humanities; F Is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing; Television Histories: Shaping Collective Memory in the Media Age; Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected; and New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader.
Before coming to UCLA TFT, Anderson taught for 15 years in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he was the founding director of the practice-based Ph.D. program in Media Arts + Practice and a faculty member in the divisions of Interactive Media & Games, Media Arts + Practice and Critical Studies.
A former documentary film editor, Anderson worked on numerous productions for National Geographic, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, NHK and ABC. He also served for more than a decade as a board member of Los Angeles Filmforum and continues to co-curate with Holly Willis a screening series devoted to experimental digital media titled Blur + Sharpen.
His work has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies, the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As director of the Transient Media Lab, Anderson catalyzes experiments with a deliberately unstable array of media and technology positioned at the intersection of documentary, interactive and immersive media.
Anderson received a Ph.D. in film, literature and culture from USC and an M.F.A. in film and video from CalArts.
AJ Meijer is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He is excited and humbled to share his post-collegiate experience with those currently attending his alma mater. He has been teaching actors inside and out of the university setting for more than six years.
Meijer recently made his New York theatrical debut in the original cast of the smash hit Heathers: The Musical, after being a part of the Los Angeles workshop. On film, Meijer has shared the screen with Adam Brody and Leighton Meester in the romantic comedy Life Partners and with Vincent D’Onofrio and Anton Yelchin in the suspense thriller Broken Horses.
He co-founded the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and was seen in their productions of The War Cycle: Wounded, The War Cycle: Nation of Two, and The War Cycle: Gospel According to First Squad, for which he received an Ovation Award nomination. Regionally, he last appeared as Lennie in Of Mice and Men at TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley. He has performed at the Ahmanson Theatre and spent four seasons performing at the Getty, where he worked with the National Theatre of Greece in Swallow Song, and created the role of Bigbuxo in the hilarious original musical Tug of War. Meijer co-hosts the weekly, industry-focused podcast Inside Acting, affording him the opportunity to interview actors such as Neal McDonough, Kerry Bishé and Academy Award winner JK Simmons.
Meijer also boasts eight years of experience working for the most innovative company in the world, Apple Inc., in various capacities, including being tapped to voiceover several product videos featured on Apple.com. It was this experience, combined with the pragmatic knowledge gained from the podcast that inspired the Digital Actor Workshop. For the past six years, this workshop has been presented to the graduate and undergraduate students at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television as well as the University of Southern California.
Gina DeDomenico Flanagan
Gina DeDomenico Flanagan teaches Graphic Representation of Design: Life Drawing in the Department of Theater. She has more than 25 years experience working as a costume illustrator, artist, muralist and cartoonist. In the past two decades her work has spanned more than 50 films including Loving (2016), Fences (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), The Hateful Eight (2016), The Magnificent Seven (2016), The Ridiculous Six (2015), Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), Godzilla (2014), Get on Up (2014), Grown Ups 2 (2013), Django Unchained (2012), Looper (2012), The Help (2011), The Book of Eli (2010), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Galaxy Quest (1999), Amistad (1997), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), The Nutty Professor (1996), Batman Forever (1995) and Malcolm X (1992). Her work will be seen in a number of upcoming films including The Solutrean (2017), Godless (2017), Jumanji (2017), Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) and A Wrinkle in Time (2018).
DeDomenico Flanagan has been featured in several books including The Star Trek Sketch Book, Madonna: The Girlie Show, Hollywood Sketchbook and FilmCraft: Costume Design. She has also been a guest panelist at Comic-Con International in San Diego as an expert in digital media costume illustration. An active member of the Costume Designers Guild, she serves on numerous committees promoting the profession of Costume Concept Artists.
DeDomenico Flanagan received her bachelor of arts degree in fashion design and illustrating from Parson’s School of Design.