On Feb. 22, millions of movie lovers will tune into the 81st annual Academy Awards broadcast to watch the glamorous ceremony and learn who will receive the highest honors in filmmaking. Researchers, filmmakers and film industry experts at The University of Texas at Austin are available to comment on every aspect of filmmaking, from the business of Hollywood, screenwriting and film history and criticism to the role of celebrities in American culture.
Joshua Gunn, assistant professor, Department of Communication Studies
Gunn conducts research at the intersection of rhetorical and cultural studies. He is an expert in many areas of popular culture, including celebrity, fads and fashion, youth cultures, horror film, popular television, and cultural and rhetorical studies.
Stuart Kelban, assistant professor, Department of Radio-TV-Film
Kelban is a professional screenwriter with experience writing for feature films and television, for both network and cable outlets. A Writers Guild of America member, he has sold screenplays to many of the major studios and productions companies in Los Angeles.
Charles Ramirez Berg, professor, Department of Radio-TV-Film
Ramirez Berg is an expert on images of Latinos in U.S. films, Mexican cinema, film history and criticism, screenwriting and the films of Hitchcock. His most recent book is “Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance.”
Thomas Schatz, professor, Department of Radio-TV-Film, executive director, the University of Texas Film Institute
Schatz has written four books about Hollywood films and filmmaking. He is an expert on film and television history and criticism, media industry studies (history, economics, etc.), Hollywood studios and the “studio system,” and film genres.
Andrew Shea, assistant professor, Department of Radio-TV-Film
Shea teaches directing and film production. He recently completed his third feature film, “Forfeit,” a heist movie starring Billy Burke, Sherry Stringfield, Gregory Itzin and Wayne Knight, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. His other features, “The Corndog Man” and “Santa Fe,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. A member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, he is in production on a documentary about a Nazi-looted painting, Egon Schiele’s “Portrait of Wally.”
Alex Smith, creative director, UTFI; lecturer, Department of Radio-TV-Film
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Smith teaches screenwriting and directing and is the creative director of the University of Texas Film Institute (UTFI). He co-wrote and co-directed the award-winning feature film, “The Slaughter Rule,” starring Ryan Gosling, David Morse and Amy Adams. He adapted the graphic novel “Son of the Gun” for Fox Searchlight, and recently wrote “Badlands” a contemporary western dramatic series for the F/X Network. He is adapting “Faerie Wars” for Framestore UK. Smith also has written scripts for Disney Pictures, Columbia Pictures, HBO and ESPN Films. He produced “Dance With the One,” the first feature film made by UTFI.
Janet Staiger, professor, Department of Radio-TV-Film
Staiger is a theoretician and historian of American film and television. She has published on the Hollywood mode of production, the economic history and dynamics of the industry and its technology, poststructural and postfeminist/queer approaches to authorial studies, the historical reception of cinema and television programs, and cultural issues involving gender, sexuality and race/ethnicity.