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Team

Our Team

Executive Assistant

Brandy Dennard

Executive Assistant

Brandy Dennard

Brandy Dennard joined the Georgia Film Academy as Executive Assistant to Jeffrey Stepakoff in September of 2016. She comes to GFA from the Board of Regents Information Technology Services department. Brandy has over 15 years of support experience and is currently obtaining her Public Administration degree as a student with Central Michigan University. As an integral part of the support system within the office, Brandy performs many tasks that help the office run smoothly.

Director of Academic Affairs

Wendy Quinn Guttin

Director of Academic Affairs

Wendy Quinn Guttin

Wendy Quinn Guttin is an award-winning Showrunnner, Producer, Writer and Project Manager with 20 years of television production experience, including documentary, non-fiction, true crime, scripted drama and reality programming. She began her career as an assistant editor in Washington, D.C., before moving to Los Angeles where she was a network staff producer and freelance producer/writer of more than 50 hours of original content for E! Entertainment Television, WeTV, A&E, USA, Paramount, Bio and PBS. Wendy relocated to Atlanta in 2011 and worked as a senior producer, writer and showrunner on more than a dozen series for Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, Travel, Up and Cooking Channel, among others.

Wendy joined the Georgia Film Academy in 2016 as the Academic Program Manager and now serves as the Director of Academic Affairs. She is committed to GFA’s mission of training and building a sustainable workforce and talent pool for the film industry in Georgia.

Director of Film Workforce Development and Capstone Projects

Kate McArdle

Director of Film Workforce Development and Capstone Projects

Kate McArdle

Kate McArdle spent the first twenty years of her career working as a producer and creative executive in the entertainment industry. As a development executive she worked with writers and producers to create content for television and theatrical feature films. As a high-level cable executive at USA Cable network and as a producer with actor Michael Douglas, she was in charge of creating the stories that would become mainstream entertainment.

After many years in entertainment Kate decided to use her experience in “telling stories” to reach out to the next generation and help them chart their own career courses. As a consultant, Kate began working with Universities and film programs, offering lectures and workshops designed to help students on their own career paths. This consulting work lead to a position with Columbia College in Los Angeles as the Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations where she spent three and a half years advising students on career paths and helping them to secure jobs in the entertainment industry.

Manager of Consortial Services

Cassandra Hollis

Manager of Consortial Services

Cassandra Hollis

Actor. Educator. Filmmaker. Cassandra Hollis was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and has managed to forge her career in the Entertainment industry with her career in Education.

Cassandra earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia, where her studies were concentrated in Public Administration and Pre-Law. She earned a M.A. in Communication, majoring in Television Production, from Georgia State University. While matriculating in the MA program, Cassandra landed a position as Producer and On-Air Talent at a local TV station. She later formed a production company, subsequently directing, producing and writing 8 films, several of which garnered national and international recognition and best-in-festival awards. Cassandra was invited to teach a 3-Day filmmaking workshop in Barbados, WI, producing an acclaimed documentary about centenarians out of that experience.

While thriving as an independent filmmaker, Cassandra was an Adjunct Professor of Communication at a private university. After teaching over a decade, Cassandra landed a position at another university in an administrative role as Program Coordinator of Film and Digital Media.

Cassandra attended a One-Day Intensive Textual Analysis of August Wilson’s works at The Juilliard School in New York in 2017. In 2018, she was accepted into the competitive Yale Conservatory for Actors, earning an A. A working Actor, Cassandra has appeared in recurring roles on the TV One Network on true crime series, “ATL Homicide,” as well as on a true crime series on the ID Channel. Cassandra has appeared in commercials for Walmart, Verizon, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, and more, and has been cast as lead in several plays and independent films.
Cassandra joined the Georgia Film Academy as Manager of Consortial Services in the summer of 2021 and looks forward to continued opportunities to contribute to the success of the GFA.

Assets and Facility Manager

Danny Williams

Assets and Facility Manager

Danny Williams

Danny Williams is the Assets and Facilities Manager for the Georgia Film Academy. Danny joined the GFA in August of 2018. Danny is a US Army Veteran and comes with experience in general management and logistics. Danny works to ensure that the operational and logistical needs of the GFA Staff and students alike are met for a successful learning and teaching experience.

Administrative Coordinator

Blair Witte

Administrative Coordinator

Blair Witte

Blair Witte has spent most of her life in Georgia and loves everything the south has to offer. Graduating from Georgia State University with a BBA in Finance, Blair found herself leaning away from that field. She worked for the Board of Regents in the Chancellors Office and Student Affairs while in college. She is now the Administrative Coordinator for the Georgia Film Academy and makes sure the office runs smoothly while providing daily assistance to her coworkers.

Academics Coordinator

Emma Smith

Academics Coordinator

Emma Smith

Emma Smith is the Academic Coordinator for the Georgia Film Academy. She graduated from Georgia College with a BA in History and worked for six years in museum education before moving on to the University System. She enjoys working with students and is committed to helping them succeed.

Secondary Schools Coordinator

Laura McCarter

Secondary Schools Coordinator

Laura McCarter

Laura McCarter is the Secondary Schools Coordinator at the Georgia Film Academy, facilitating training initiatives for high school and middle school teachers as well as workshop and summer camp experiences for high school students. Laura’s background in the film industry is rooted in screenwriting, but she has worked on several local Atlanta productions in various roles on set and in the production office. In college, she received her Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Professional Writing and Film Studies, then went on to obtain her Master of Arts in Professional Writing, with an emphasis on screenwriting. Before graduating from Kennesaw State University, Laura attended GFA classes and received her Production Certification, and became a Certified User of AVID Media Composer. With fellow KSU screenwriters, Laura co-created a screenwriting podcast. In her free time, Laura enjoys analyzing her favorite movies and TV shows, taking inspiration for her own storytelling endeavors.


Our Instructors

Lead Instructor

Chuck E. Kerr
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Lead Instructor

Chuck E. Kerr

Chuck Kerr started working in film & television 20 years ago. Chuck is a member of IATSE and IBEW. In addition to working as a studio mechanic and stagehand, he has worked as a film instructor for over 11 years. He shares his knowledge and the magic he has gathered through the years working in the entertainment business with his students and colleagues. His rewards are that his efforts will be recognized through the success of his students on the big screen.

Head of Post-Production

Greg Gause
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Head of Post-Production

Greg Gause

Greg Gause is originally from North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Greg moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1989, after working nearly a decade as a DJ. His career in post-production began in audio, starting with an entry level position at Catspaw Productions, working with ¼” tape and analog consoles. Greg ultimately worked at some of the top post houses in Atlanta throughout the 1990’s, including: Crawford Post, on projects like “In the Heat of the Night”, the Time-Life collection “Lost Civilizations”, “Hercules” and “Zena Warrior Princess”; TCM and Cartoon Network, where he worked on promos and several other projects; and Peachtree Post, which eventually became Brickhouse Editorial, where he worked on projects for WCW, BellSouth and recorded the weekly radio show “The Foxworthy Countdown”. In 2001, Greg became Senior Sound Designer at Turner Studios where he continued to do sound design work for all the Turner brands until his departure in 2019 as the Manager of Sound Design. Over the years, Greg has worked with several Digital Audio Workstation platforms including New England Digital’s Post Pro, Studer’s Dyaxis II, Avid’s AudioVision and of course Avid’s Pro Tools. After two years as an Adjunct Pro Tools Instructor at Georgia Film Academy, Greg is now Head of Post-Production Education. While he still teaches Pro Tools with a focus on post-production, he also works diligently to support GFA students and Staff.

Instructor

Philip Bergquist
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Instructor

Philip Bergquist

Philip Bergquist received a BA in Drama, and an MFA in Dramatic Media from the University of Georgia. He has built a career path from carpentry to design for features, shorts, and commercials. Notable credits include ESPN, EA Sports, Epic Games, Storyville Coffee, and Telly Award-winning commercials for Full Sail University. He has taught at the Academy of Art University, and Full Sail University. He has achieved awards in Risk Management, Community Involvement, and an ESPN Game Ball. He currently teaches Introduction to On-Set Film Production, and Set Construction & Scenic Painting at the GFA.

Instructor

Brian Gunter
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Instructor

Brian Gunter

Brian Gunter was born and raised in Atlanta, and except for five years in Athens, GA at the University of Georgia, he has lived here his entire life. While still in Athens, Brian did his first two jobs in the film business on corporate films. After leaving UGA with a bachelor degree from the Henry Grady School of Journalism, Brian entered the film business as a freelance electrician - a member of the lighting crew. He worked on close to forty movies as an electrician, and advanced to electrical best boy on several more, including “The Mosquito Coast”. Around 1987, Brian started working as a Gaffer - the Chief Lighting Technician. He worked as the Gaffer on over forty movies, including “Sweet Home Alabama”, “October Sky”, “The Gingerbread Man”, “RoboCop 3”, “The Mothman Prophecies”, “The War”, “The Newton Boys”, “Diabolique”, “Remember the Titans”, “Last Holiday”, “Pink Panther 2”, “Get Low” and many more, providing him the opportunity to work with many of the best Directors of Photography working in the industry. In 2010, Brian started working in the Camera Department as a Camera Operator and Director of Photography. As an Operator he worked on “Anchorman 2”, “Last Vegas”, “The Three Stooges”, “The Good Guys” and several more. He worked as a Director of Photography on the 2nd unit of “The Blind Side”; the 2nd unit of “Pink Panther 2”, VFX unit on “Goosebumps”, the 1st and 2nd units of “Hurricane Season” to name a few. Throughout his career, he has had the good fortune to work with some of the best directors and most accomplished actors/actresses in the world. Having worked at the top level of the industry for many, many years, Brian decided to get off the set and pursue a career in teaching young people what they need to enter and maintain a rewarding career in the film business. He is an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University, which is a signatory to the GA Film Academy.

Certified AVID Instructor

Nicole Kemper
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Certified AVID Instructor

Nicole Kemper

Nicole Kemper studied directing for film and video at Columbia College in Chicago where she received her MFA in 2010. She returned to Atlanta and began work as a video editor, working on commercial/broadcast material as well as both short and feature-length films. Nicole is an Avid Certified Instructor and worked with Avid to develop their certification curriculum in 2016. In addition to teaching editing at the Georgia Film Academy, Nicole freelances as an editor and casting director and runs the production company Critical Crop Top Media for which she writes, produces, and directs.

Instructor

Bryan Krass
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Instructor

Bryan Krass

Bryan Krass grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee. He earned a BA in History from University of Evansville and an MFA in Film and Television Production from Savannah College of Art of Design. Following his schooling, Bryan moved to Los Angeles and worked as a grip, electric, best boy electric, and dolly grip in that market as well as Louisiana. He is most proud of his work as the gaffer of the TV game show “The Catch: Costa Rica” and documentary “Mayan Blue.” He has been an educator since 2011. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys studying history and playing mini-golf.

Instructor

Amanda Ray
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Instructor

Amanda Ray

Amanda Ray was born and raised in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. She received her BA in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina in 2010, followed by a MA in Teaching in 2016 from Reinhardt University. During her undergrad program, she began working as a camera intern on “Army Wives” in Charleston, SC. After graduating she moved to Atlanta Georgia, where she has called home for 12 years. She is a proud member of IATSE Local 600 – The International Camera Union, as a 2nd Assistant. She has worked primarily in episodic television, as well as numerous commercials and feature films. While on set, she saw a grave need for practical set knowledge in the education world. GFA has not only afforded her the opportunity to help future filmmakers excel quickly, but she’s now able to spend time with her family, which is her greatest joy in life.

Instructor

Joe Thomas
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Instructor

Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas was born in Atlanta, and grew up on the South Side. After graduating from College Park High School he attended Southern Illinois University and earned a dual degree in Cinema and Photography from the School of Communications.

He worked as a still photographer in the U.S. Air Force for four years, ending his tour as NCOIC (Non-commissioned Officer in Charge) of the 1365th Photographic Squadron, Detachment 10, Langley AFB, separating from the USAF as a Staff Sergeant.

Joe returned to Atlanta and worked as an audio tape editor at the Protestant Radio and Television Center, then went on to work as the Manager of Atlanta Film Equipment Rentals for several years.

He left AFER to begin his career of 37 years as a 1st Camera Assistant, with his primary work being on feature films and episodic television, as well as work on hundreds of TV commercials, industrial films, and documentary films.

Soon after retirement, Joe accepted a position as Adjunct Film Instructor at the Georgia Film Academy and then joined the GFA staff as a full-time Production Training Instructor.

Joe has been married to Beverly Jean nee Shifflett since 1965, has three sons, two granddaughters and three great granddaughters.