MAY 2022

Congratulations, Graduates! 

Congratulations, 2022 graduates. We are so proud of your academic and creative achievements. Not only have you earned your degree from George Mason University, but you did so with resilience, creativity, and commitment. 
We encourage you to use your art to bring light to complex issues, open minds, and help people to understand each other. Continue to develop the skills you have learned as a student and embrace opportunities that will help you grow – even if at first these opportunities look like limitations. We believe in you and look forward to all the wonderful things you will achieve in the years to come. Keep in touch and always remember you are part of our Film at Mason family. 
Congrats to our grads: 
Daniel Angelov 
Melissa Katherine Campbell  
Siqi Cao 
John Reilly Coughlin  
Kaitlyn A. Daenzer  
Rebekah Dass 
Marissa L. Dermanelian  
Caroline L. Distefano  
Victoria Elise Figueroa  
Louis Edward Garcia Jr.  
Jasmine L. Gates  
Charles David Grass 
Khubab Hassan  
Christopher R. Hewes
Sivasai Karanam  
Katelyn Anne Kinkead  
Taj Kokayi 
Cole Armand Mark Lamay  
Farris Langley 
Kyle F. LaRuffa 
Ian Alexander Leach  
Jack S. Lewis 
Jordan N. Lewis 
Victoria Lin 
Jacques Lykes
Brian MacDonald  
Shawn Nicholas Borromeo Malangyaon 
Owen D. Parz 
Derek A. Patterson  
Alexander Purdy  
Nathaniel William Ridings
Mathew Ross 
Joshua P. Rudolph  
Megan Doreen Sollman  
Alyssa M. Swaney 
Daniel Taylor 
Jaime Tejada 
Braden A. Traw 
Sean Williams 

Mason Film Festival Success

Thank you to all of the friends, family, and Mason community who supported our students during the Mason Film Festival. Our 4-day event included screenings of student films ranging from Beginning Video Production and Music Video to Documentary Filmmaking to Senior Projects. Students also participated in post-screening Q&As with audience participation. Monetary awards were donated by Advisory Board member Jack Kehoe. These prizes help support student filmmakers with the costs of post-production and preparing films for the festival circuit.   

We would also like to show our gratitude to the scholarship donors who participated in the Film at Mason fundraiser.   
Clara Kelly, Class of 2012 
Paul and Ginger Singh 
Jack Kehoe 
Red Zeppelin Productions 
Rick Davis and Julie Thompson 
Giovanna Chesler 
Gearshift Studios 
Melissa Houghton 
Sam Meddis 
And finally, a big congratulations to our festival winners and all of the student directors, writers, and production and post-production crew members who made films this semester. We are so proud of you. 
Showcase Jury Awards
Jack Kehoe Award Best of Fest - Taj Kokayi (White Mirror) 
Jack Kehoe Award Stories that Matter - Jaime Tejada (La Cena) 
Jack Kehoe Award Best Directing - Siqi Cao (An Old Friend) 
Best Drama - Jasmine Gates (What We Leave Behind) 
Best Comedy - Josh Rudolph (Just Breathe) 
Best Documentary - Alonzo Conyers (Dessana) 
Best Horror/Thriller - Sean Williams (No Endings) 
Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi - Charles Grass (In Due Time) 
Special Jury Award Spotlight on a Social Issue - Khubab Hassan (Live Your Life) 

Technical Jury Awards
Best Short Screenplay - Taj Kokayi (White Mirror) 

Best Producing - Alex Purdy (Off the Path); Charles Grass, Jasmine Gates (Gossamer) 
Best Co-Producing - Olivia Cunningham (Off the Path) 
Best Editing - Ian Leach (Passage); Farris Langley (La Cena) 
Best Cinematography - Wenhao Wang (An Old Friend); Caroline Distefano (La Cena) 
Best Sound Design - Liam Tipler (Passage); Paul Lee (In Due Time) 
Best VFX - John Coughlin (White Mirror) 
Best Film Score - Sonja Phillips-Thomas (White Mirror); An Tran (Off the Path) 
Best Film Soundtrack - Siqi Cao (An Old Friend) 
Best Production Design - Mat Ross, Paul Kalata (In Due Time) 
Best Make-up - Kate Sheridan (Off the Path) 
Best Color - Wenhao Wang, Siqi Cao, Victoria Lin (An Old Friend); Sabrina Beach (Just Breathe) 
Excellence in Acting - Justin Orathokhai (White Mirror); Michelle Rizzo (No Endings); Justin Tyler Bowers (Off the Path); Shonell Johnson (Just Breathe) 
Best Ensemble Performance - James Fedorko (We Gathered Here); Jaime Tejada (La Cena) 
Excellence in Directing - Christopher Hewes (Canvas); Marissa Dermanelian (I'll Be Damned) 

Capstone Awards
Alex Purdy (Producing) 
Victoria Lin (Sound) 
Nathan Ridings (Editing) 
Brian MacDonald (Cinematography) 
Megan Sollman (Screenwriting) 
Academic Awards 
Academic Excellence 
(Highest GPA with 120 credits  at Mason) 
Megan Hajdo 
Taj Kokayi 
Farris Langley 
Nathan Ridings 

Academic Achievement 
(Highest GPA with Credits Transferred to Mason) 
Kate Kinkead 
Charles Grass 
Victoria Lin 
Gina Huber 
Professional Achievement 
(Honors outstanding accomplishments in professional preparation for the film and video studies field.) 
Taj Kokayi 

(Recognizes outstanding service to the Film and Video Studies Program.) 
Maya El-Hage 
John Coughlin 

Registration Reminders 

Registration for Fall classes is still open! Be sure to check your registration time ticket on Patriot Web and if you have not done so already, meet with your Academic Advisor, Lori Yi, to discuss scheduling questions. Book your appointment here.
Below, see some of our highlighted classes for Fall.  

Featured Fall 2022 Classes 

FAVS 204 Ways of Seeing
Professor G Chesler 
Monday 1:30-2:45pm | Online

This course looks at how visual images shape and are informed by cultures, how artists affect and are affected by their environments. We consider and create multiple media forms and study films from around the world. 

FAVS 366 Video Production for Social Change 
Professor Rebekah Wingert-Jabi
Wednesday 1:30-4:10pm | AB 1007

This course reflects a professional production environment where student teams, under the instructor’s supervision, produce effective pieces for local community based non-profit organizations. Students will learn the business of working with a real-world nonprofit client and storytelling skills that advance the client mission. Beginning with the discovery process, students will engage the client in assessing their needs and goals for producing a video. They will develop a creative concept/strategy, a budget, and a statement of work/contract. Small teams will then produce their client project as they learn the storytelling strategies that engage by connecting with an audience. 
FAVS 399 Curating and Programming for the Moving Image
Professor KJ Mohr
Thursday 1:30-4:10pm | Hybrid RSCH 201 and Online 

This undergraduate seminar explores the rich and often overlooked history and current practice of independent exhibition of moving images. Through reading, writing, viewing, discussion and professional guest visits, students engage both critically and practically with ideas of venue and context, programming theory, curatorial ethics, distribution, and promotion for film and video. Student curators will learn to program, plan, promote, budget for, collaborate on, and host screenings, working with archives, distributors and artists, calling for submissions of work, and crafting programs that explore themes and subjects of interest to them. Events will include off-site screenings, on-campus programs and virtual presentations. This course is created and taught by KJ Mohr, a festival programmer and moving image curator. Mohr has served as the Director of Programming for the Tampa International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival; Programmer for the Maryland Film Festival's three-screen art house cinema, the Parkway; Film Curator for National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC; curator of the Conversations at the Edge series at the Gene Siskel Film Center; and she worked with Women in the Director’s Chair in Chicago for many years, in addition to three decades of international experience in microcinema production. This is a hybrid course, occurring online with some in-person meetings and events. 

Film at Mason

Summer Hours

Film at Mason office hours will remain 9:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday, but they will be moving to a virtual format for the summer. If you need to speak with staff in the office, please reach out to Samantha Sinagra ( or Anjuli Singh ( with your questions.  

Advising appointments will also be virtual. To schedule an appointment, book here or email Lori Yi at

The equipment cage and Film at Mason labs will be closed for the summer and open by appointment only. Contact to schedule an appointment.  

B&H and Sony Student Capture Contest 

B&H and Sony are partnering to offer a “Student Capture Contest.” Students can submit either a video or five photos to win $5000 worth of Sony gear. To learn how to enter, visit the submission page here. The deadline to enter is Monday, June 6th.  

Alumni Spotlight 

Alaa Zabara (‘19) has been selected to participate as a director in the second cohort of the CBS Leadership Pipeline Challenge. The mission of this program is to empower early-career storytellers to step into creative leadership positions and to reconfigure the entertainment industry’s “talent pipeline” to make it more equitable. Each film will be judged by showrunners, directors, agents, managers, and creative executives to determine winners. Congratulations, Alaa and best of luck in the competition.  
Mohammed Saffouri’s (‘20) short film -- and FAVS Senior Project -- Touchline, is having its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, June 8-19. He has been doing pre-Festival press, including this article in Broadway World and this interview in Film and TV Now.  

Faculty Achievement 

Professor Justin Plakas is joining the MIX, George Mason's Innovation Exchange as Affiliated Faculty. Plakas is using the 3D printers and CNC equipment to assist in production design and art direction for his film and photobook project, “Camaro Lucinda.” This year, he received a Robert K. Purks Faculty Enrichment Endowment for the project, which will be in production through 2022. Plakas has a joint appointment between the School of Art and Film and Video Studies. This new partnership with the MIX furthers his interdisciplinary research and will expand cross-unit relationships.   
Professor G Chesler has been selected as an Advisor in the inaugural ITVS Humanities Documentary Development Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support independent documentary filmmakers and advisors working in the humanities. Professor Chesler will provide counsel and input, working closely with diverse filmmakers over the next 12 months, as they engage in research and development for promising documentary films. The fund is unique in its sustainable support for filmmakers during the research and development phase, and in its pairing of Advisors, like Professor Chesler, with specific filmmakers in a year-long process. In their press release, ITVS notes, “Ultimately, this support seeks to expand the diversity of voices telling compelling stories to national audiences in ways that can broaden perspectives on questions of racial justice, gender equality, and equity for people living with disabilities.” 
Professor Peter Kimball has recently been featured in a couple of great articles about him and his short film Millstone, featuring CODA star Daniel Durant. The film’s plot focuses on a young couple who have lost their son in a hit-and-run collision and start seeing a therapist. 

The DCist and Star Tribune interviewed Kimball. Read the articles to learn more about the short, filmed in DC and entirely in American Sign Language.  

This past semester, Professor Kimball was featured as one of our guest artists in the Visiting Filmmakers Series with his short film, My Brother is Deaf, a documentary about his family.  

Film Opportunities and Resources  

Open Submissions   

Scholarship and Grant Applications 

  • Elena’s Scholarship for Student Well-Being - Deadline: May 20, 2022 
    For the 2022-2023 school year, $1,000 scholarships will be awarded, designed to enhance student well-being. Any student who will be full-time (at least 12 credit hours) for both the fall and spring semesters next academic year is eligible.  A current minimum G.P.A. of 2.0 is also a requirement. 

Internship and Job Opportunities 

  • Red Star Pictures is seeking to hire a full-time courier for $16/hour at their Alexandria, VA location. If interested, apply here
  • Real estate company The Davenport Group is looking to hire a full-time videographer to join their team. The deadline to apply is May 31st. Apply here
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival is looking for videography and writing interns this summer. For those who need to take FAVS 450 Internship, this is a great opportunity. For more information, reach out to Charlie Weber, media internship supervisor, at Make sure you specify you are from George Mason University’s Film and Video Studies program. 
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We want to hear from you! If you have news you would like to contribute, please send it to We are looking for regional film events and updates from Film at Mason alumni. Keep up-to-date on all the current Film at Mason news at

Film and Video Studies
College of Visual and Performing Arts
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Fairfax, VA 22030
703-993-3287 |
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