The ACM TeamMeet our award-winning faculty and staff
Dan Boulos is a classically trained animator, who is also fluent with modern digital toolsets. His over 20 years of professional experience include over 8 feature film credits. His industry experience includes Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Brothers and DreamWorks Animation. A part of the local animation scene, with Wiki Wiki Cartoons for more than 10 years, his work has aired on television and in film festivals.
Teaching animation and story for over 15 years, including 5 years in the Cal Arts Character Animation Program, Dan is well versed in classical techniques as well as all the modern digital toolsets. Dan has designed curriculum for many programs here, on the mainland and overseas. Dan founded the original European Animation Master Class in Halle, Germany. His students are employed in studios such as Disney, DreamWorks and Pixar. Dan emphasizes character development and story telling through his teaching and animation. A part of the Disney animation lineage his mentors include Glen Keane (Disney), Dave Pruiksma (Disney) and James Baxter (Disney/DreamWorks). He learned story from the late Joe Ranft (Disney/Pixar) and the late Vance Gerry (Disney).
Dan holds a BFA with a specialization in Character Animation from California Institute of the Arts, and a Masters of Education from the University of Hawaii, Manoa, Educational Technology Department. His screen credits include The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Prince of Egypt and The Road to Eldorado. His local accolades include animation in Pele Award winning commercials.
Professor - Affiliate Faculty
Dr. Wimal Dissanayake (M.A. – Pennsylvania, Ph.D – Cambridge, U.K) is one of the leading scholars of Asian cinema and Asian communication theory. He has also been awarded an honorary D.Litt. for his scholarly work. He has written a large number of books on cinema and cultural theory which have been published by Oxford, Cambridge, Duke, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois University Presses and Routledge Publishers and Penguin. Wimal Dissanayake is the Founding Editor of the East-West Film Journal. He was the Director of the Cultural Studies Program jointly sponsored by the University of Hawaii and the East-West Center.
Dissanayake is also one of the leading poets in Sri Lanka who has published eight volumes of poetry in his mother tongue Sinhalese, and has won numerous awards for his poetry. In 2012 he was given the highest lifetime award granted by the Government of Sri Lanka. He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Award conferred by the Sri Lanka Foundation in Los Angeles.
Prof. Dissanayake serves as an Editorial Advisor to a large number of prestigious international academic journals dealing with cinema, communication and cultural theory, as well as the International Encyclopedia of Communication. He has been invited as the keynote speaker at conferences held in countries and territories such as Germany, Canada, United States, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
As an independent filmmaker and a hula dancer, Lisette Marie Flanary creates documentary films that celebrate a modern renaissance of the hula dance and Hawaiian culture. She is the writer, producer, and director of Lehua Films and her first feature documentary, AMERICAN ALOHA: HULA BEYOND HAWAIʻI, received a CINE Golden Eagle Award when it aired on the critically acclaimed P.O.V. series on PBS in 2003.
Her award-winning film, NĀ KAMALEI: THE MEN OF HULA, featuring legendary Hawaiian master hula teacher and entertainer, Robert Cazimero, screened in numerous film festivals and Lisette received the Hawaiʻi Filmmaker Award at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival in 2007. The film also received Best Documentary and Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and the San Diego Asian Film Festival. NĀ KAMALEI: THE MEN OF HULA was broadcast nationally on the 2007-2008 Independent Lens series on PBS and was the winner of the Audience Award for the series. The film was also selected for Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program and the Independent Feature Project’s Spotlight on Documentaries screenings.
Lisette directed the feature-length documentary film, ONE VOICE, produced by Pacific Islanders in Communications and Juniroa Productions, which follows the young song directors at the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest celebrating the revitalization of the Hawaiian language through music. It was nominated for an Emerging Director Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2010 and won Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival in 2011. ONE VOICE received a limited theatrical release in Hawaiʻi and Japan in 2011 and broadcast nationally on PBS in 2012. In 2016, ONE VOICE was a 25 in 25 Honoree celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pacific Islanders in Communications.
Currently Lisette is directing and producing the final film in a trilogy of documentaries on the hula dance entitled TOKYO HULA which explores the explosive popularity of the hula in Japan. Research and development for the project was completed with funding support from the ITVS Diversity Development Fund, PIC, and the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. She was also awarded a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Professional Development Fellowship to attend the International Public Television Conference (INPUT) as a producing fellow in 2014 and was a Faculty Fellow at the Emmy Foundation’s Faculty Seminar in Los Angeles, California.
Lisette is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Film and Television Production and received her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School University. Having lived in New York City for over twenty years, Lisette joined the faculty of the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2011. She is an Associate Professor of Native/Indigenous Creative Media who teaches courses in screenwriting, producing, critical studies, and indigenous filmmaking. She received the Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.
Vilsoni Hereniko is a Professor at the University of Hawaii’s Academy for Creative Media, where his research, teaching, and creative work focus on issues related to climate change, indigenous storytelling, cultural identity, and the politics of representation in all kinds of media. As an award-winning filmmaker and theater artist he is a writer/director. As an academic, his research integrates the scholarly and the creative.
Hereniko’s book, Woven Gods: Female Clowns and Power in Rotuma, makes a compelling case for the use of objective as well as subjective perspectives in ethnographic research in order to capture the complexity of human nature and cultures.Hisco-edited book Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politics, and Identity in the New Pacificexamines the literatures and arts of Oceania in their social and political contexts as they pertain to identity formation.
Hereniko’s first narrative feature film Pear ta Ma ‘On Maf: The Land Has Eyeshad its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and European premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Selected for competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival and screened at more than thirty other film festivals, it won Best Dramatic Feature at the Imaginative Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto, Canada. Fiji also nominated it as Best Foreign Language film to the Academy Awards in 2005. It also had a commercial theatre run, was selected for broadcasting nation-wide on PBS, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Hereniko has also made short narrative films and documentaries and was a story and cultural consultant for Walt Disney’s animated film Moana.
Hereniko has written for the stage as well, most notably The Last Virgin in Paradise, The Monster, and Moana: The Rising of the Sea.His films and stage productions have reached audiences in North America, Europe, Russia, Asia, and throughout Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand. His films and plays are being distributed throughout the world to universities and public libraries through Alexander Street, a ProQuest Company.
Hereniko received the Ph.D. in Literature and Language from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji and the M.Ed. from the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne in England. He has served as the Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaii as well as Director of the Oceania Center for Arts, Culture, and Pacific Studies at USP.
Anne Misawa grew up in Hawai’i. Having graduated from the University of Southern California’s Graduate Film and Television Program, Anne Misawa has worked internationally in various aspects of film production. Her primary work is as a Director and as a Cinematographer, as well as Producer. Her work in TREELESS MOUNTAIN was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in 2010. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where she teaches cinematic production and served as department chair 2013-2016.
Directorial credits include–
WAKING MELE, (Sundance Film Festival, 2000), the feature length narrative EDEN’S CURVE, (Emerging Film Best Feature Award, NCGLFF, 2003), and the feature length documentary, STATE OF ALOHA, which she produced and directed at ACM, garnered various awards, (Halekulani Golden Orchid Award Nominee for Best Documentary at Hawaii International Film Festival, 2009).
Her work as Director of Photography (cinematographer) include–
MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, (directed by Shonali Bose, Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award 2012, NETPAC award at Toronto International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, 2014, 130+ film festivals, and received 25 awards,) JACK & DIANE, (directed by Bradley-Rust Gray, Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, 2012), TREELESS MOUNTAIN, (directed by So Yong Kim, NETPAC award at Busan International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, and New Directors/ New Films, 2008), TIME OUT, (directed by Xelinda Yancy, executive produced by John Singleton, HBO Award, 2004), SALT, (directed by Bradley-Rust Gray, Caligari Award for Innovative Filmmaking at Berlin International Film Festival, 2003), and LIV, (directed by Edoardo Ponti, executive produced by Robert Altman and Michaelangelo Antonioni, Venice International Film Festival, 1998).
Anne also has a background in writing: M.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry, from New York University and has studied at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa Institute with its multidisciplinary approach to writing with writers and artists such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Stan Brakhage.
Joel Moffett was raised on the island of Maui where he graduated high school from Seabury Hall. He holds an MFA in Film Directing from the American Film Institute and an MFA in Theatre Directing from Humboldt State University.
Collectively, his films have screened in hundreds of festivals all over the world. Top honors have been received at the Los Angeles Int. Film Festival, the Palm Springs Int. Shortfest, the Uppsala Int. Short Film Festival, the Nashville Film Festival, the Aspen Shortfest, Cinequest, Clermont-Ferrand, the Washington D.C. Independent Film Festival, World-Fest Houston, the CINE Awards, the Chris Awards, the London Independent Film Festival, the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, the Toronto Independent Film Festival, the Student Academy Awards, the Student Emmy Awards, and UFVA among others. He has received grants from the NEA, the NEH (through UHM), the AFI, the Tides Foundation, the Lane Family Foundation and the Colin Higgins Foundation.
While in Los Angeles, Joel taught screenwriting and Directing at the American Film Institute for nine years. During this time he also taught screen acting, production and directing classes for the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.
Joel was part of the initial hire of full-time ACM faculty in 2005, whose charge it was to help launch a new film program. In this capacity, he was awarded a Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, and currently serves as an Associate Professor.
More information can be found at his website: www.joelmoffett.com
George teaches production, editing, post sound and critical studies courses at the Academy for Creative Media at UH Mānoa.
A graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory, George had an extensive professional career in digital media production as an Avid editor and Apple Certified Trainer. George has directed/edited numerous promos and broadcast commercials for MGM Grand and Wynn Resorts, edited comedy skits aired on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC and Bravo Network, and designed motion graphics for The Billboard Music Awards. He collaborated in media campaigns with national advertising agencies such as Cramer-Krasselt, Korey Kay, Schadler Kramer and Young & Rubicam. Many narrative shorts and documentaries he worked on were awarded and exhibited in major film festivals worldwide, including SALESI, a short film directed by internationally acclaimed filmmakers Vilsoni Hereniko and Garin Nugroho (Indonesia).
Honors include Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award, Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Best of Competition Award, BEA Awards of Excellence, BEA Research Paper Prizes, University Film and Video Association (UFVA) Paper Prize, and National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) Faculty Development Grant.
George was named faculty fellow by NAPTE and the Television Academy, and served as American Pavilion Faculty Mentor at Cannes Film Festival (France), writer/consultant for Far East Film Festival (Italy), jury committee member for the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum Script Development Fund (Hong Kong), chair of the BEA Festival of Media Arts Faculty Video Competition, and jury chairperson of Netpac Award at the Busan International Film Festival (Korea) and Taipei Golden Horse International Film Festival (Taiwan).
As a U.S. Senior Fulbright Scholar, George has taught and researched at The University Hong Kong as Visiting Associate Professor. His research focuses on the life and works of King Hu, the cinematic titan who revolutionized the martial arts/wuxia genre.
George writes extensively and has published internationally in Asia, Europe and in the United States. He is co-editor of King Hu in His Own Words, the first English language publication of King Hu’s writings.
You can view George’s personal website here.
Marlene Booth teaches film production and critical studies courses at ACM, and is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked in film since 1975, both for public television station WGBH-TV in Boston and as an independent filmmaker.
She has produced and directed several major documentary films screened on PBS and cable television, at national and international film festivals, and in classrooms nationwide. Her major films include: YIDL IN THE MIDDLE: GROWING UP JEWISH IN IOWA, WHEN I WAS 14: A SURVIVOR REMEMBERS, THE DOUBLE BURDEN: THREE GENERATIONS OF WORKING MOTHERS, THE FORWARD: FROM IMMIGRANTS TO AMERICANS, and THEY HAD A DREAM: BROWN V BOARD OF EDUCATION TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER. PIDGIN: THE VOICE OF HAWAI’I won the audience award at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) in 2009.
Booth’s latest film STAND TALL (KU KANAKA), about the life and legacy of Hawaiian scholar and activist Kanalu Young, will have its premiere at this year’s HIFF.
Gerard is an award winning writer/editor/producer/director/actor who has a range of experience varying from television production, film and TV commercials.
As a commercial director, he has directed a number of award-winning spots for ad agency clients such as Wet N Wild, Taco Bell, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Straub, Hawaii Pacific Health, McDonald’s, Jamba Juice, HVCB, and many more. As a producer, he has helped coordinate popular Discovery channel specials for Shark Week, commercials, and films. In addition, he wrote and directed a feature film titled ALL FOR MELISSA, which was distributed nationally.
He is also the Executive Director for the `Ohina Short Film Showcase (ohina.org) which showcases some of the best short films in Hawaii each year. Currently, Gerard splits his time between his job as a commercial producer, writer, director at Hawaii News Now, freelance commercial work, and lecturing at the Academy for Creative Media.
Keiko is a Ph.D. student in the American Studies program at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Her expertise includes film theory, visuality, American Studies, American history and race, and US women’s history. In her dissertation, she is analyzing the complex process of racialization in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century through analyzing photography taken in Hawai’i, the Philippines, and at the St. Louis World’s Fair, as well as within films created from the 1880s to 1920s by companies including the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company and the Edison Manufacturing Company.
Laura began animating in 1988 as a means to combine her love of dance and painting. Animation has continued to inspire Laura, who has spent over twenty-five years exploring paint in motion. Laura hand animates using paints in a “stop motion” style. Her personal films have been screened worldwide in film festivals (Sundance, Ann Arbor, Margaret Mead, Anima Munde, Asifa, New York Children’s Film Festival, and Cardiff International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Honolulu Museum of Art, etc) and her commissioned work has aired nationwide (Cartoon Network, PBS, CBS, MTV, VH1, Sundance Channel etc.).
She has received awards and grants from Cinedance Film Festival, Broadcast Design, Asifa East, Ann Arbor, and Creativity Magazine, New York University, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Dance Films Association, The PEW Charitable Funds. Her work in progress “Local Kine Academy Leader” showed at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Artists of Hawaii show in 2011. Besides creating her own films, Laura has worked as a designer and colorist at MTV Animation on the classics “The Head”, “Beavis and Butthead” and “Daria” and as a freelance illustrator, animator and artist.
Laura teaches animation at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and has taught at Pratt, New York Film Academy, School of Visual Arts in NYC, Punahou School, I’olani School, Hawaii Women in Filmmaking and at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was a faculty member. Laura has a BA from the University of Hawaii and an MFA in animation from NYU. She continues to create animations for her online Ecard business, Leimation® and is currently directing and animating an animated documentary for the non-profit organization The Pacific Survivors Center.
Claudia Pummer teaches courses in the Critical Studies track of the ACM curriculum. Aside from having taught several topics-based courses with focus on gender, film authorship, and transnational genre cinema in the ACM, she teaches regularly the gateway-course ACM 255 Cinema and Digital Media and the advanced-level ACM 460 Ethics and Film.
She received her Ph.D. in Film Studies from the University of Iowa and holds an M.A. in Film/Theater Studies from the Free University of Berlin with an auxiliary major in Jewish Studies from the University of Potsdam, Germany.
In her research she focuses on theoretical and philosophical approaches to film, film history, and visual culture, with emphasis on the representation of gender and ethnicity, transnational cinema, environmental film studies, and experimental film/video.
Her publications have appeared in the journal Studies in European Cinema, in A Companion to German Cinema, and in the Austrian Filmmuseum’s recent anthology Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet. In addition to her continued research on the filmmaking-duo Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, she works currently also on the representation of disaster and global crisis in popular film and television and in Japanese documentary film.
Ty Sanga was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu and has always had a passion for storytelling. He is the director of the Emmy award winning food travel show Family Ingredients which is currently in its second season on PBS. His short film Stones has won a number of awards and screened at festivals around the world including the Sundance Film Festival. He directed the feature documentary Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson which was nominated for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. His feature film After Mele was developed at the Sundance Labs and is currently in pre-production.
He received an M.F.A in Film Production from Chapman University and a B.A. from the University of Hawaiʻi in Ethnic Studies.
Tom Brislin is the former long-time chair of ACM, who is now serving as Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities.
He is a former chair of the Departments of Journalism and Communication, and the combined School of Communications. He led the successful movement in 2001-2002 to establish the academic, creative and community foundations for the university’s first film school.
Dr. Brislin earned his B.A. at the University of Guam, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He enjoys a reputation as an international scholar in the field of Media Ethics.
As Associate Dean, Dr. Brislin helps oversee ACM and eight other departments in the College of Arts and Humanities.
Jason Leigh is the Director of LAVA: the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization & Applications, Professor of Information & Computer Sciences, and Director Emeritus of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago- which, founded in 1973, is the longest standing institution in the United States combining Art & Computer Science.
His research expertise includes: virtual reality, data visualization, high performance networking, and video game design. He has been working in the field of Virtual Reality since 1991. In 2011 he invented the CAVE2 – which was the highest resolution virtual reality system at the time- now produced commercially by Mechdyne Corporation. CAVE2 was succeeded in 2017 by his next invention- the Destiny-class CyberCANOE at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
In 2010 he created a new multi-disciplinary area of research called Human Augmentics – which refers to the study of technologies for expanding the capabilities and characteristics of humans.His research has also received numerous press from News media including: the AP News, New York Times, Popular Science’s Future Of, Nova ScienceNow, National Science Foundation Science Now, PBS, and Forbes.
Media Center Director
Jay Hubert began his professional filmmaking career in China while studying in the cinematography department at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy. He worked for several years as an assistant to top-tier Chinese cinematographer Wang Yu on numerous commercials and feature films before striking out on his own to direct, shoot, and/or edit a number of commercials, documentaries, and promos for clients such as Apple, Volkswagen, Chevy, Peugeot, Intel, Lenovo, China Unicom, Bud Light, Discovery, Vice, Nylon, and Xiaomi, while also working on several Chinese feature films. In 2013 he served as director of photography and co-editor for Volkswagen Group China’s “People’s Car Project – Building the Car Series”, a 10-episode web series awarded a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions.
Hubert has written and directed over two dozen short films in various countries and languages, screening and winning awards at numerous film festivals around the world. Twice he has had films selected for the nationwide PBS Online Film Festival. He is also an award-winning photographer and writer, and has been nominated for the HUMANITAS David and Lynn Angell Comedy Fellowship. Hubert has spent more than a dozen years of his adult life in Asia, and is fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, conversant in Cantonese and Korean, and speaks just enough Mongolian to make his mother-in-law laugh hysterically.