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L. Jeffrey Selznick School Masters Faculty

University of Rochester Faculty

Joanne Bernardi, Professor of Japanese
Bernardi's research and teaching interests draw on her background in photography, film and media, and East Asian studies: Japanese popular culture; Japanese and Asian cinema; animation; visual culture and its relation to media of the past; film history, culture, and historiography; film and media archiving and preservation, early and silent cinema; orphan and "lost" film; nuclear history and the visual image. Some of her recent courses include: Atomic Creatures: Godzilla; Tourist Japan; History of Japanese Cinema; Film as Object; Anime: Japanese Animation; as well as Mobsters, Monsters, and Swords.

Joel Burges, Associate Professor of English and Director, Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies
Burges is currently working on two book projects, a manuscript titled Turning Back the Clock: Technological Obsolescence and Historical Time in Contemporary Culture and, as co-editor with Amy J. Elias, a collection entitled Contemporalities: Keywords for the Present. Working at the intersection of post-1945 cultural studies, critical theory, and media studies in these projects, Burges is rethinking ideas about time and history that have unduly dominated thought for the past thirty years; he is interested in how that which we have rejected as obsolete, outdated, and old-fashioned figures centrally in the works of post-1980 novelists and filmmakers as a repository for alternative modernities and alternative temporalities, such that the past supersedes the future as the temporal horizon of art and politics alike in their work. Burges is also working on a book titled Literature after TV, which explores the intersection of the literary and the televisual both before and after 1945.

Jennifer Creech, Associate Professor of German
Her research and teaching interests include: late 20th-century German literature, film and culture; cinema studies; Marxist and feminist theories. Some recent courses Creech has taught are: Cinema & Revolution, Hollywood Behind the Wall, 20th-century Gender & Sexuality, Marx & Marxism. Professor Creech's current research explores the critical impulses in East German women's films, and the revolutionary and reactionary aspects of post-unification representations of the East.

Morris Eaves, Professor of English
He teaches courses on British Romanticism, media studies, media history, editorial theory and practice. Morris Eaves's research has been principally concerned with literature and the visual arts and with the cultural contexts of British Romanticism, especially the interlocking histories of technology and commerce. His interests in multimedia editing, media history, and British Romanticism are combined in his work as a project director and editor of The William Blake Archive, the online digital edition of Blake's literary and artistic work, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (University of Virginia) and the Library of Congress.

Sarah L. Higley, Professor of English
She teaches courses on medieval vernacular languages and literature of Northern Europe, film and media studies, fiction. Higley's primary interests lie in northern medieval literatures with an early emphasis on language, linguistics, and poetic structure. Her later work in fantasy and science fiction led her to explore medieval and modern notions of magic, machinery, monstrosity, and artifice. Her recent publications investigate the early origins of the werewolf, the medieval concept of the "robot," and manifestations throughout time of "simulacra." Lately, Higley has become interested in miniatures and artificial languages.

June Hwang, Associate Professor of German
Her research and teaching interests include: early twentieth-century literature, film and culture; German Jewish topics; urban spaces; questions of modernity; film theory; critical theory. Some recent courses Hwang has taught include: The Urban Imagination, Strangers in a Strange Land: German Jews, On the Move: Travelers, Wanderers, and Explorers. Her current work explores how discourses of wandering, urban alienation, and the stranger intersect in the figure of the German Jewish intellectual.

John Michael, Professor in English, and Visual and Cultural Studies
His research interests include: 19th- and 20th-century American literature; critical theory, and cultural studies; problematics of national identities in American literature and culture; contemporary relations between academic intellectuals and democratic politics; the complex interrelations between the reading of literature; the demands of ethics, and the problems of historical knowledge. His books include: Identity and the Failure of America from Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror, Anxious Intellects: Academic Professionals, Public Intellectuals, and Enlightenment Values and Emerson and Skepticism: The Cipher of the World.

Jason Middleton, Associate Professor of English, and Visual and Cultural Studies
He teaches courses in film studies; documentary film and video; theory and practice of experimental film and video; Hollywood genres, including comedy and horror. Some recent courses Middleton has taught include: Issues in Film: Documentary, Mock Documentary, Reality TV; Introductory Video and Sound Art. Middleton's research interests currently include the revision for publication of his manuscript, titled Documentary/Genre. The project brings together scholarship in the areas of documentary and genre studies, examining the under-theorized affective and bodily dimensions of documentary spectatorship. He is also an award-winning experimental filmmaker, whose work has screened at a variety of festivals and other venues in the U.S. and internationally, as well as on public and satellite television.

Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández, Associate Professor of Spanish
He has published extensively on Hispanic literatures and cultures, including postmodern fiction, cinema, alterity and art, and European philosophical traditions in Latin American texts. The aesthetic representation of the "past"—how writers and artists incorporate the cultural remains of the past millennium—are central to his research. His book Mexico's Ruins: Juan García Ponce and the Writing of Mexican Modernity was published in 2007. He is currently writing a book on Latin American architecture.

Claudia Schaefer, Professor of Spanish
Her research and teaching interests encompass all aspects of cultural production in Latin America and Spain of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She has published five books and numerous articles in these areas. Her latest book is a biography of Frida Kahlo (Greenwood Press, 2008). She is currently writing on the Mexican film director Arturo Ripstein, and is completing a volume on anarchism and utopian thought.

Reinhild Steingröver, Chair of the Humanities department and Professor of German and Film at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Steingröver is the author of Last Features: East German Cinema’s Lost Generation (2014), which appeared in German translation as Spätvorstellung: Die chancenlose Generation der DEFA in December 2014. She also authored a monograph on Thomas Bernhard (2000) and co-edited with Randall Halle the volume After the Avant-garde: Engagements with Contemporary German and Austrian Experimental Film (2008), as well as the anthology Not So Plain as Black and White: Afro-German Culture and History, 1890–2000 (with Patricia Mazon, 2005), as well as numerous articles. Steingröver has curated silent film/live music programs for the George Eastman Museum, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Cinematheque Berlin. In 2009, she co-curated with the DEFA Film Library at UMASS Amherst the film festival Wendeflicks: Last Films from East Germany in Los Angeles.

Allen C. Topolski, Associate Professor of Art
His research and studio practices focus on production that incorporates found materials and a variety of processes to explore nostalgia and memory in technologies of domesticity and convenience. Some recent courses Topolski has taught include: Markings, Methods and Materials; Visual Production; and 3D: (Re)Collecting the Object.

Sharon Willis, Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies
Her research interests include: feminist theory, film theory and visual analysis, cultural studies, and modern French literature and literary theory. Her publications include: Marguerite Duras: Writing on the Body (1986), Male Trouble, co-editor, with Constance Penley (1993), High Contrast: Race and Gender in Contemporary Cinema. Her current book project is Islands in the Sun: The Civil Rights Movement and Its Legacies in Film 1949-2003. Some recent courses Willis has taught are The Films of Jean-Luc Godard and Film History: 1929-1959.

George Eastman Museum Staff

Kyle Alvut, Manager, Digital Laboratory
Kyle Alvut worked as colorist at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY. He directed operations in the Entertainment Imaging Film & Digital Systems Laboratory, and he brings experience in traditional and digital color correction, video and digital post-production workflow, and digital intermediate applications. In addition to guest lectures for the Digital Cinema program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Alvut also teaches an adjunct course in Digital Color Correction for both BS and BFA students in the School of Film and Animation. Most recently, he has provided lectures to students of the Selznick School at the George Eastman Museum in Film to Digital Transfer Systems.

Peter Bagrov, Curator
Peter Bagrov joined the Moving Image Department in 2019. He started his career in Russia as a film historian. In 2005-2013 he was a Research Associate at the Russian Institute of Art History. In 2011 received his PhD from the Institute for Cinema Studies in Moscow. In 2013-2017 he was the Senior Curator at Gosfilmofond of Russia, the Russian state film archive. In 2013-2019 he served as the artistic director of the archival film festival “Belye Stolby.”  Since 2005 he has been teaching film courses at various universities, curating retrospectives and giving talks on the lesser-known aspects of the early Russian and Soviet cinema of the 1910s-1960s. He has published a large number of articles on a variety of film-related subjects.

Bryan Burns, Preservation Officer
Bryan hails from Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in Film in 2011 he worked for four years at a photographic print lab and as an archival digitization specialist for Ancestry.com. Bryan graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2017.

Jared Case, Curator of Film Exhibitions
A 2002 graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, Jared curates the nightly program of film exhibitions in the Dryden Theatre, oversees daily operations of the theatre, and acts as a department liaison for the daily exhibition loop in the theatre and exhibitions in other museum spaces that have moving image elements. He is also the co-Director of The Nitrate Picture Show, an annual weekend festival dedicated to the celebration and exhibition of nitrate film, held at the Dryden Theatre every spring. He has appeared on Turner Classic Movies and The History Channel and has spoken at festivals and conferences around the country.

Spencer Christiano, Chief Projectionist
Spencer joined the Moving Image Department in 2014, having previously served as the Technical Manager and Head Projectionist of the Cinema Theater in Rochester for 9 years. He also served as Technical Manager of the MuCCC Theater in Rochester, where he is an Artist in Residence. He has taught the techniques of film projection at the National Film Archive of India, the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, and the University of Rochester. He is a co-editor and co-author of the upcoming George Eastman Museum publication The Art of Film Projection: A Beginner's Guide (2019), a comprehensive outline of the materials, equipment and knowledge needed to present the magic of cinema to an enthralled audience. His work as a playwright includes Endangered Features (2016), about the world of film archiving, film projection as a technical art, and the evolution of cinema exhibition from its analog roots to cutting-edge digital. 

Nancy Kauffman, Archivist, Stills, Posters, and Paper Collection
Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arizona State University and a Master's in Library Science from Emporia State University. She worked as a paralegal in litigation and environmental law for sixteen years in Portland, Oregon, before attending The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in 2004-2005. Nancy was hired as a curatorial assistant in the Moving Image Department in 2006. In 2007, she was promoted to archivist of the Stills, Posters and Paper Collection, where she manages, catalogs, and provides access to a collection of nearly one million objects. As faculty of the Selznick School, she teaches collection management, digitization, and the history of film-related objects.

Liana Kroll, Head, Information, Research and Access
Liana Kroll earned a BA in Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh ('04) and MA in Film Studies with Archiving from the University of East Anglia ('05). Experiences at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research, Carnegie Museum of Art, Cinematheque Royal de Belgique, Pro-Tek Vaults, and CNN all led her to find her home in cataloging and metadata. Liana was excited and honored to join the Moving Image Department in 2018.

Anthony L'Abbate, Preservation Officer
Anthony L'Abbate is a 1999 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, after graduation he worked for two years at the Cinema Arts Laboratory, in Angels, Pennsylvania, as their contact printer. He returned to the George Eastman Museum in the fall of 2001 as the stills archivist. Since March 2007, he has worked in preservation.

Sam Lane, Film Conservation Specialist
Sam is a native of New Mexico. He moved to Rochester in 2014 and completed a BA in Film and Media Studies and a MA in English, both at the University of Rochester. He is also a graduate of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation from the class of 2017. Sam worked as a film projectionist in New Mexico from 2006-2009 and at the Dryden Theatre since 2016. He began working full time at the George Eastman Museum as the Film Conservation Specialist in 2017.

Sophia Lorent, Curatorial Assistant
Sophia Lorent was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. She received her BA in history at University of Wisconsin–La Crosse in 2012. While attending school, she worked for the UW-L Oral History Department digitizing cassette recordings and interned at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research in the summer of 2012. She is a graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation class of 2014. In 2015, she completed her MA at the University of Rochester. As curatorial assistant, she is responsible for research and access, through assisting on-site researchers and answering inquiries about the department’s many collections.

Gordon Nelson, Digital Technician
Gordon holds a BFA in Cinema from Edinboro University and he is a 2015 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. His professional background includes working as a filmmaker, educator and curator. His films have been screened at many venues, including MoMA and Anthology Film Archive. He has taught film and video courses at MassArt, Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the University of Rochester. He programmed 35mm film screenings for the Carnegie Museum of Art and he helped establish and operate Jefferson Presents, a Pittsburgh-based experimental microcinema collective active from 2000-09.

Sheryl Smith, Dryden Theatre Manager
Sheryl Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a 2018 graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. Immediately following graduation Sheryl began working as projectionist at the Dryden Theatre. She has worked as a projectionist at The Little Theatre and KODAK Center. In 2019 Sheryl was promoted to Dryden Theatre Manager. Her prior career includes 23 years as an advertising producer/director for Time Warner Media.

Deborah Stoiber, Collection Manager
Deborah Stoiber received her BA in economics from California State University, Fresno. After graduating from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School in 1998, she worked at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, assessing their 16mm collection. Returning to Rochester, she was the assistant vault manager of the William K. Everson Collection at the George Eastman Museum, from 1998 to 2000 and the nitrate vault manager of the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center at the museum from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, she became the collection manager of the Moving Image Department’s film and video collection, holdings of more than 100,000 reels in nitrate and safety stock. As an instructor in the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, she teaches the identification, storage, and inspection of motion picture film.

Jeffrey Stoiber, Assistant Curator, The L. Jeffrey School of Film Preservation
Jeff Stoiber has both his BA in Media Studies (1993) and his Masters of Library Science (1997) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, his hometown. While completing his MLS he interned at both the American Film Institute and the George Eastman Museum. The Eastman Museum internship led to his employment as the Administrator of the Selznick School a position he has held since 1997.

Edward E. Stratmann, Curator Emeritus
Ed Stratmann started at the museum on December 12, 1974. He was hired by James Card and has worked for all curators/department heads of the Moving Image Department. He began his career at the museum as a curatorial assistant, working with nitrate films and, over the years, has been film technician, vault manager, projectionist, in charge of the study center, assistant curator, and associate curator. Stratmann ran the preservation program at the George Eastman Museum from 1988 to 2010. He received the AMIA Dan and Kathy Leab Award and the Pordenone Preservation Award, both in 1998. He is the only current staff member that has taught and worked with all the years of the Selznick School. Stratmann is also a founding member of AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) and has served on the AMIA Board of Directors as secretary. Ed has been a member of SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Televison Engineers) for more than ten years, has been on the local board of managers three times.

Patrick Tiernan, Assistant Collection Manager
Patrick is the assistant collection manager in the Moving Image Department. He is a Rochester native and received a BS in English with a minor in Film Studies from SUNY College at Brockport. He has worked as a projectionist at the Cinema Theater and the Little Theater.

Caroline Yeager, Assistant Curator, Administration
Caroline Yeager has been a staff member since 1998, when she graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation.  She has 25 years of experience in performing arts, an MFA from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, and a BS from SUNY Brockport, NY.  As assistant Curator, she is responsible for overseeing grant writing and administration to support the department’s collections; developing exhibitions for public access, and teaching curatorial management in the Selznick School. She is the Responsible Officer for the museum’s Exchange Visitor Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is a member of AMIA and SEAPAVAA, and she co-chaired AMIA’s Advocacy Committee for eight years.