Students at the Pinnacle

I will be adding some pictures we have snapped over the last couple of years in some future posts just to show the NOVA Cinema students hard at work/play.  However, I wanted to start with this one because it really says so much in just one shot.  It is a still frame from a couple seconds of video shot by former student Jake Simpson while working with some of our current students (Eugene Rose, Anthony Peznola, Qiyanna Evans, Ashley Kelly, Bryan Dover, Cheryl Anne Fries, and Malcolm Tatman) while filming out in South Dakota this past October.  We will give you more of the behind-the-scenes story (and pictures) in future posts but this one shot at night shows the determination of these incredible students as they filmed all day long in harsh ever-changing weather elements (two separate freak snow storms) and scaling several hills/mountains up and down (with equipment) in slippery footing and clay-baked earth just to get to and from “set” each day.  They were excellent professionals and this one picture shows their determination to make it to the top…literally and figuratively!!!

Look Who’s Back…

First of all, let me apologize to all the students who have seen this blog address at the top of a syllabus by Professor Chris Stallings as he simply has not updated the blog in over two years.  He (okay, me – I am writing this) has been extremely busy with the assistance of the creation of a Cinema degree program at NOVA (Northern Virginia Community College).  In the past two (plus) years, we have begun the degree, increasing the number of classes to support it so it is a robust program with portfolio courses and an internship component.  In just over one and a half years, the program already boasts over 350 students in the degree, making it the fastest growing new program for NOVA – ever!  Those students who begun before the degree and finished up in it, are transferring to some incredible film/cinema schools across the country and some are going directly into the workforce and being equally successful.  And our influence has been felt internationally as well since we created a filmmaking experience in our study abroad program to the Czech Republic where students have studied alongside film professionals in Master Classes while working hands-on with the students of the FAMO film school over there.  We had 22 the first summer (2018), 17 last year (2019) and we have 20 prepped to go this summer.  In addition, we have an agreement for transfer to FAMO so select students can study internationally to complete their Bachelor’s degree.  Back here at home, our students are working on some of the best gear and software in the industry, including shooting on RED cameras, color grading on DaVinci Resolve, and we have even introduced a motion capture studio in the Regional Workforce Building on the Woodbridge campus.  Students are also getting the opportunity to work on bigger projects outside of the classroom, gaining valuable on-set experience.

So, yes, it has been an incredible ride for the past two years and I, again, apologize I have bene negligent on posting here but I will try to keep it up.

We have a special gift coming to you in the coming weeks as student Malcolm Tatman will be creating a series of podcasts about Cinema, in general, as well as to some things pertaining to this program, so look for that here on this site.

And, as a thank you to each of you for standing by us for the past few years without any content here on the site, please go to the videos tab/page of this site and see approximately 55 new student videos posted in there among the ones which were already located there.  You can see videos from our fabulous students from the past few years, concluding in our Fall 2019 semester.  I can’t wait to include more in the future when we uncover some other fantastic work by these students.

And from all the Cinema faculty here at NOVA, we thank everyone for their support!

Spring 2017 Student Videos Added

I finally got around to adding a few additional videos to the “Videos” section of this blog site.  Search around and you will notice seven new videos from the Spring 2017 semester, including group projects, class projects, and a few individual ones as well.  The students hope you enjoy their hard work.

Jake Simpson doing great work

I didn’t know how to otherwise title this post but Cinema student Jake Simpson has been working on a lot of projects recently to really hone his craft.

As I will tell any of our students, if you are interested in the production side of film, then you really need to get out there and do some real-world work, which is why the new Cinema AFA degree will offer both an internship component but also a portfolio so you can highlight your work, making you more marketable in the film industry and more desirable as a transfer student.

And I am really proud of so many of my students who continue to work in the field and make their dreams come true and Jake is the most recent example with his excellent cinematography on a new feature-length film still in principal photography: “Talons of the Phoenix.”

I do not know the plot of the film except it is a period piece set in WWII but based on Jake’s excellent work, it will be a film we will surely profile and push when it is launched to the public.  In the meantime, check out these wonderful screen grabs and you can already get the emotion of the film, as well as, Jake’s emerging film style:

Great looking shots!

Hopefully we will speak more to Jake in the future and find out more about this production and all the hard work being put into the production by the entire cast and crew.  All my best to all of them.

In addition, a big congratulations to Jake on his recent nomination for best cinematography at the Hollywood Dreams Film Festival in Las Vegas.

Now, if we can get all these talented students working together, there is no end to what they can accomplish.

Production in Pisek, Czech Republic

We spent all of last week in the Czech Republic meeting with our hopeful sister school, FAMO, in Pisek.  It is a beautiful small town south of Prague with all the resources you would need for your production and your inspiration!







We are not going to give details yet about our adventure because we will be speaking to our advanced production students in the coming weeks but we will soon be presenting to the various campuses and the community to speak more about this wonderful collaboration and the invaluable experience the students will get through their adventures in the Czech Republic working with the best professionals in their field while taking a personal journey of exploration and growing as an individual.  Stay tuned!

Clear the confusion


I will have a new blog post coming out in the coming days with all the new details we learned about in our effort to create a collaboration with our sister school in the Czech Republic, but for now, I wanted to clarify an earlier post because it was brought to my attention that it is not just cinema students who visit this site but also photography students and they might be getting conflicting messages too.  So, to clarify, PHT 130 still exists as a cross-listed class with ART 160.  ART 160 is for Cinema degree students and any student wishing to explore filmmaking, whether for personal interest or for transfer.  PHT 130 is for photography students in a photography degree who will not be considering any sort of degree change to Cinema in the future.

New equipment awaits our first Cinema degree seekers

The new updated college catalog references the new AFA in Cinema (though it does state “pending” until we get final approval through state accredidation).  With the launch of this new degree, we are also putting some new resources into supporting it, which means some new equipment has been added.

Though we love our RED Epic camera, we also now have a Sony FS7 camera (with lens) for the class to gain exposure (bad pun) on a second cinema camera.

Sony is one of the companies I like and trust almost as well as RED.  In addition, when I took a class of film students on a trip to DC Camera rental house in Fairfax less than two years ago, one of the items we previewed was the FS7 and the students really wanted one – so, I listened.

Speaking of what the students want, I have also heard a lot of chatter about more movement in their productions so we added some nice dolly track and centipede wheels to our already impressive Matthews Round D Round dolly (for that uneven ground), as well as, we now have a Ronin-M gimbal for some fluid and smooth movement (just please don’t overdo it).

And for use with the Ronin-M, we also added a Canon C100 (mark ii) and two new zoom lenses.

Again, we want you to have the best experience possible as a film student at NOVA Woodbridge.

Let us know if you have any questions. or

ART 160 – Film Production I/High School Visits

First of all, I just want to thank all the wonderful students we had the honor to meet while we have been touring the local high schools to discuss our film program.  For anyone who has any further questions, please do not hesitate to email Dr. Bryan Brown or Mr. Chris Stallings.

In addition, we sadly wish to report we recently realized an error in our class management system and it was not allowing students to enroll in ART 160 – Film Production I.  If you attempted to enroll and had difficulties (it was forcing you to select a lab, of which there was not one), then please try again now, as the problem should be resolved.

If you are still having problems, please email us (; and we will work through it to ensure you are taking the classes you want!

Please note the class change

Things are about to get very exciting for the fall and it is time to get registered now.  We are trying to finalize a lot of fun upcoming events and projects.  Huge projects like studying with Academy award winning filmmakers and training on pitching to Hollywood executive producers.

There is a lot going on but I do not want to ruin the surprises just yet.  However, we are getting very close to our final approvals of the AFA (Associates of Fine Arts) degree in Cinema.  Coming this fall semester!

Please note that on the Woodbridge campus, the production classes Video I and Video II are moving from Photography to Arts so please enroll in ART 160 (Film Production I) and let’s get this started.

A Cinema Degree Could Be Coming in Fall 2017

Cameron Pierson Rocks Out

Cameron Pierson Rocks Out


Just found this still the other day from the spring music video shoot and thought i would throw it on this post to give it some visual pop.

The exciting news (and the reason there have not been many posts recently – lots of time-consuming work was done) is we passed an AFA in Cinema through Curriculum Committee yesterday afternoon by an unanimous vote.

Though the degree is not completely passed, as there are many more obstacles to come, such as the State college system and accreditation boards but this was a major one and should be celebrated by everyone as this will be a great step forward for our students interested in all things cinema.

Thank you very much to my partners in this, professors Bryan Brown (of Woodbridge campus) and Lucy Gebre-Egziabher (of Alexandria campus).  If things stay on course (no pun intended), students can come to the college in Fall 2017 and earn a degree in Cinema!

So get a head start in the spring semester and take some film classes.  If you have questions, ask me now: