Bruce Nicholson – Visual Effects Artist


The Academy Award-winning visual effects artist has worked on nearly 50 films from Star Wars and The Matrix Reloaded to Iron Man 3

In 1976, Bruce Nicholson landed his first big job on a feature film—a little movie known as Star Wars. A springboard into the realm of battling starships and snow-stomping AT-AT walkers, that film propelled the visual effects master on a journey into the magic of cinema.

Nearly 40 years later, with two Oscar wins and a filmography spanning dozens of beloved blockbusters, Nicholson, who has taught visual effects classes in the School of Animation & Visual Effects since 2013, will be teaching M.F.A. cinematography courses as well. 

In the 1970s, Nicholson explained, George Lucas’ visual effects company Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) employed a young group of rather inexperienced, but enthusiastic “hippies.” Led by a few industry stalwarts like John Dykstra and Richard Edlund, Nicholson and his team forged their way through unchartered territory, experimenting with new technologies like motion control cameras and compositing scenes with optical printers, choreographing groundbreaking sequences that made audience's jaws drop.


Christopher Coppola -  Director of Film Program


Coppola is the president of Christopher R. Coppola Productions (CRC Productions). In 2006, Coppola launched a digital film festival, PAH-FEST – "Project Accessible Hollywood" or "PAH" in New Mexico. In addition to New Mexico, Coppola has taken PAH-FEST to multiple cities and towns in the US, Germany and  Slovenia. Coppola’s CRC Productions is also developing and producing content for alternative distribution and interactive platforms.

In addition to being a digital entrepreneur, Coppola began filmmaking at an early age and has directed eight feature films and a number of television shows. He premiered his feature film Creature of the Sunnyside Up Trailer Park at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival. His television show Biker Chef premiered at the 2004 Oldenburg Film Festival in Germany. A filmmaking endeavor is entitled The Never Ending Movie, which is a digital online film that allows collaboration from filmmakers from all around the world.

 David Turashvili  

David (Dato) Turashvili is a Georgian fiction writer – author of novels, movie scripts and plays for theatre.  After graduating from the secondary school, he studied literature, film and art history at the universities of Tbilisi, London and Madrid. 

His first collection of short stories was published in 1991 – in the year of the Georgian independence from the soviet empire. Before the liberation, Dato Turashvili was one of the leaders of the student protest movement against the soviet regime in Georgia.

For this moment, he has published 17 books, his bestselling novel “The Flight from the USSR” which is translated in 11 foreign languages and published yet in 10 countries. He has written plays and scenarios for such famous directors as Robert Sturua, Eldar Shengelaia and Gela Babluani. 

Furthermore, Dato is the author of scientific-research letters in literary criticism and historiography. He has translated both prosaic and poetic texts from Russian, Spanish and English languages. 

Dato Turashvili has been actively engaged in UN Women’s awareness raising campaigns against VAWG/DV in Georgia leading public discussions around these topics throughout the country and on television. Turashvili actively participated in confidence building projects, such as the Pen marathon 2015. He is further author of a drama play on VAWG issues. 

His other interests include mountain climbing. He has participated in expeditions to the Caucasus, Andes and Himalayas. 

Dato Turashvili is a host to the most popular TV shows about books in Georgia.

He is married to Maka Kekelidze and has three daughters - Anna-Mariam, Liza and Sofio.