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Experts from DePaul University to discuss summer movies and TV

Faculty available with expertise in filmmaking, pop culture, animation and more

​​​Student practice on a virtual production stage.

DePaul University/Jeff Carrion
CHICAGO — Summer blockbusters are back. Moviegoers can enjoy big-name productions, including “Buzz Lightyear,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” on the big screen. DePaul experts in pop culture, filmmaking and movie production are available to discuss what makes or breaks these movies with fans. Faculty in the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media as well as the College of Communication can discuss all aspects of filmmaking, screenwriting, pop culture fandom and more.

Contact experts directly via email or, for assistance arranging interviews, email or call 312-241-9856.

Brian Andrews, Assistant Professor of Visual Effects, Animation and Cinema Production

Andrews can discuss the cutting-edge technology used to make summer blockbusters. He recently brought virtual production to DePaul Cinespace Studios. In his class, they used the same technology that pros used in “The Mandalorian,” “Westworld” and the Marvel films. Andrews' animated virtual reality film, “Hominidae,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was presented at the Cannes Film Festival .

Paul Booth, Professor of Media and Cinema Studies

Paul Booth has expertise in fandom, games, technology, popular culture and cultural studies. His books include “Board Games as Media,” “The Fan Studies Primer,” and “Watching Doctor Who.” He can discuss fandom, including the Marvel, Doctor Who, and Harry Potter franchises, sci-fi and cult films, and board games.

Samantha Close, Assistant Professor of Digital Communication and Media Arts

Samantha Close’s research includes digital media, fan studies, gender, race, and Japanese media. Her documentary, “ I Am Handmade: Crafting in the Age of Computers,” based on her most recent research project, is hosted online by Vice Media’s Motherboard channel. She can offer commentary on Japanese animation (anime), video games, Sherlock Holmes and Minecraft, the 10th anniversary of which is this year.

Blair Davis, Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies

Blair Davis is a film and media historian who studies the intersections of film and television with other media industries, as well as representations of identity in pop culture. His latest book, “Comic Book Women: Characters, Creators, and Culture in the Golden Age,” offers a feminist history of comics, featuring titles by DC, Marvel and more. He can discuss the latest Marvel movie, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” in which Natalie Portman becomes the new Thor.

Anna Hozian, Assistant Professor of Screenwriting and Directing

Hozian is immersed in 2022’s summer movies and especially interested in “The Black Phone,” a supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson. Along those lines, Hozian is working with an alumna of DePaul’s MFA in Screenwriting program to write a thematic, character-driven horror film. Anna was one of 12 women chosen for the inaugural year of the New York Women in Film and Television’s Writers Lab funded by Meryl Streep.

Brad Riddell, Associate Professor of Screenwriting and Cinema Production 

Riddell just wrapped a DePaul course on low-fi sci-fi films and can discuss what it takes to write a hit summer film. In 2019, he directed his first feature film, “Later Days,” which was filmed in Chicagoland. Riddell has written four produced feature films on assignment for Paramount, MTV, Universal and independent producers. Brad’s first film, “American Pie: Band Camp,” remains one of the highest-grossing live action DVD releases in history, selling two million copies and reaching syndication on TBS.


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