Group of Students

Film/Television Department

Faculty & Staff

Full-time Faculty

Aimee Gillette is a writer, director and editor whose work has been featured at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While working for NYC & Company, she served as videographer and editor for clients such as NAACP, the Dutch Embassy and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Gillette also worked in Los Angeles for Sega game systems, Rhino Records and PBS, and she animated sequences for various cable networks. Before coming to De Anza College, she taught at the Art Institute of New York City and was a full-time faculty member in Film Production at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. Gillette has a B.F.A. in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California and an M.F.A in Film Production from New York University.


Barak Goldman worked as a Production Assistant for HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, then as a Production Coordinator and Associate Producer for a Buena Vista pilot. He has since written and produced television shows for Columbia-Tristar, Dish Network, The History Channel and USA Network, including a script for Susan Sarandon, Tommy Davidson and Kathy Griffin. Goldman ghost wrote two feature films for A-list talent and has had his own TV and film projects in studio development. He has also consulted privately on a number of scripts, some of which have sold or been optioned. Goldman earned an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA. He is the recipient of a Harmony Gold Award for Excellence in Screenwriting and was nominated for a 2007 United States Artists Grant.


Milena Grozeva Levy has produced, written, directed and edited numerous films that have garnered awards at festivals around the world. Emily, her 56-minute narrative film, played at the Angelika Film Center in New York as part of the Independent Film Market. After working in the Cinematics Department at Microsoft, Grozeva Levy collaborated with renowned San Francisco Bay Area film director Rob Nilsson, editing and creating the visual effects for Presque Isle. She also produced, supervised the capture tech process and edited the trailer for Celik Kayalar’s Moonlight Sonata. Originally from Bulgaria, Grozeva Levy studied under filmmakers Robb Moss, Ross McElwee and Dusan Makavejev while receiving a B.A. from the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Mentored by Emmy-nominated cinematographer Nancy Schiesari and seasoned editor Nick Cominos, she earned an M.F.A. in Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin.


Martin McNamara has produced and/or directed dozens of animated television commercials, title sequences and educational films at Colossal Pictures or his own production company, Saga City Media. Clients include PBS, Disney, Nissan, HBO, Fairchild, McDonald's, Alcatraz, Mitsubishi, Philips Electronics and the California Lottery. He co-produced the Nickelodeon pilot film for the animated series, Rocko’s Modern Life with De Anza alumnus Joe Murray. McNamara directed the San Francisco conference of the Society for Animation Studies, for which he has written extensively, and he served on the Executive Board of Directors of ASIFA (the international Animators' association). Partnering with major animation studios, he was awarded multi-year grant projects by the National Science Foundation and California Economic and Workforce Development to train college animation faculty. He earned an M.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University.


Susan Tavernetti, chair of the Film/TV Department, reviews films for the Palo Alto Weekly and its sister publications serving the Mid-Peninsula, Marin County and the East Bay. She co-authored the textbook The Critical Eye: An Introduction to Looking at Movies and has contributed to American Indians and American Popular Culture, Hollywood’s Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film, International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers and the journal Film & History. Tavernetti has covered international festivals for and has served on numerous film and screenwriting juries. She appeared in Ken Swartz’s documentary for KRON Channel 4, San Francisco in the Movies: The Silent Era. Tavernetti holds an M.A. in Cinema from the University of Southern California.



Adjunct Faculty

Joel Abramson’s broadcasting career has taken him to radio and television stations in Texas, California’s Central Coast and KBLX San Francisco, where he served as the Production Director for 27 years. His interest in media began as a high school student, when he was a DJ at the campus radio station and appeared as talent, crew and producer in television classes broadcast over the local cable channel. Abramson worked his way through college as a radio DJ, graduating from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Radio and Television. He is a certified instructor of Avid Pro Tools and a current M.A. candidate in Theatre Arts at San José State University.

Darcy Cohn has been an instructor in the De Anza College Film/TV Department since 1993. She has freelanced for over 20 years in the film industry as a producer, production manager, script supervisor and editor on indie features, commercials, music videos, documentaries, corporate and educational media. Cohn is currently completing Pressed for Time, a documentary video project following San Francisco Chronicle newspaper printers over a decade to record their storied history and dying craft. She holds an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University.

Benjamin Ferrer is a Director of Photography for documentaries, local commercials and corporate communication videos. His cinematography credits include the documentary feature Crime After Crime, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and received numerous awards at film festivals throughout the country. Currently Ferrer works full-time as the Director of Photography at Transvideo Studios in Mountain View, California. Before moving to San Francisco to continue his freelance career as a camera operator and editor, he interned at KCRA-TV Sacramento in the news editing department and the commercial production division. Ferrer studied photography at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton and earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from California State University, Sacramento.

Warren Haack is a filmmaker who specializes in sound design and post-production services at his studio. He also co-owns Catenary Video Productions, which has produced 15 documentaries on early American railroads. Haack spent eight years working as an editor and sound designer for Harcourt Brace Films in San Francisco before accepting his current staff position in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University. His most recent film, Santiago Is Santiago, explores the music and dance of Santiago de Cuba, and was shot on location in Cuban streets, homes and clubs. His documentaries focusing on culture and history have screened worldwide and have won many film festival awards. Haack received his B.A. and M.A. in Cinema from San Francisco State University.

Dennis Irwin is a filmmaker, illustrator and instructor in the De Anza College Film/TV Department since 1980. He received an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his films have won awards in many festivals and competitions. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and Fortune Magazine.

Film critic-instructor Glenn Lovell has been published in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Columbia Journalism Review. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges. Among the books to which he has contributed: Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist; The Pop Culture Zone: Writing Critically about Popular Culture; International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. In 1996, he was awarded a National Arts Journalism Fellowship and, while studying at USC's School of Cinema, wrote "Caught in the Machinery: How Hollywood Subverts the Media," a frequently quoted critics survey. Lovell has an M.A. in Mass Communications with an emphasis in film from Pennsylvania State University.

Dave Perry worked as a character animator for Broderbund and Nickelodeon on The Rugrats’ Storybook Adventure and as an assistant animator at Colossal Pictures on a television campaign for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. He served on the international jury and conducted animation workshops for Festival Animatu 2006 in Portugal. Perry balances his work in animation with a web design career for such clients as Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. He is the author of MonkeyJam, a free pencil test program for the PC. Perry studied fine art at San José State University and learned the art of traditional animation at De Anza College.

Sara Vizcarrondo is the Opening Movies editor at and publishes at, San Francisco Bay Guardian and She is working on a book about American independent filmmaker Rob Nilsson (Northern Lights, Heat and Sunlight, Chalk) and a cinephile's memoir about camping in the wrong shoes called "It's Not Nature, It's Just Further From the Car." Vizcarrondo received an M.A. in Critical Studies of Film and Television from UCLA and a B.A. in Film and Philosophy from Sarah Lawrence College.

Faculty Emeritus

Zaki Lisha is the founder and former coordinator of the Film/TV Department, the largest and most successful department of its kind in the California Community College system. Industry experience includes working as a producer and director of documentary and corporate film/video productions and serving as a founding member of the Mid-Peninsula Access Corporation, which provides community cable access to Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and East Palo Alto. Lisha has judged the short film category of the Cinequest Film Festival, and he has been honored as a Fellow for the Faculty Seminar at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and as a De Anza College Distinguished Educator. He received a B.A. in Cinema from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in Cinema at San Francisco State University.



Ed Breault, Chief Video Systems Engineer at De Anza College, is responsible for the planning, directing and coordinating of all the television service/support functions including studios, distance learning classrooms, cable channels, satellite uplink and downlink services, multimedia and computer graphics classrooms. His 25-plus years of broadcast systems engineering experience has included construction of television stations, post-production houses and 45-foot mobile production trailers. Breault holds a B.S. in Broadcast Engineering from Ferris State University.


Tom Schott, an Instructional Associate in the Creative Arts Division, supervises student film and television production and editing for the Film/TV Department. He assists faculty with the training of students in the use of the various cameras and editing systems used in the completion of student works. Schott has been a post-production consultant for documentary and animated television productions that have aired on PBS and Nickelodeon.


Contact: Susan Tavernetti
Phone: 408.864.8872

Last Updated: 10/1/14