Regent University seeks to serve as a creative and spiritually uplifting place where people connect with others who are working in media and the performing arts in a learning environment. On the pages below, you will discover a few of the many artists and professionals who have shared their lives and experiences with us. In 1744, Italian philosopher and historian, Giambattista Vico, offered an apt account of the mission of a story-teller: “Now this is the three-fold labor of poetry (story-telling): (1.) To invent sublime fables suited to the popular understanding; (2.) to perturb to excess (entertain) with a view to the end proposed; (3.) and to teach the vulgar to act virtuously.” As Christians, we join with others to develop our gifts, our talents and our lives in ways that will help make a redemptive difference in the lives of others through the creative and prophetic power of story.
Industry Speakers & Guests
Morning Anchor/Political Reporter
Crystal worked on Scott Rigell's race for Congress in 2010 former VA Attorney General Bob McDonnell's Governor campaign in 2009. Crystal Cameron has over a decade of experience in television news. For the past three years Crystal has served as the morning anchor and a political reporter at WVIR NBC 29 in Charlottesville. Prior to her time at WVIR, Crystal worked as the weekend anchor, executive producer and investigative reporter for WMBB-TV in Panama City Beach, Florida. Before she began her on-air career, Crystal worked as an Assistant Producer for WESH, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, Florida. She began her news career in Daytona Beach, Florida as a co-host for a political talk show on WNDB radio. Crystal worked on former Florida Representative Bill Sublette's Congressional campaign in 2000. She also worked with the former Speaker of the House in Florida and with former Florida Congressman Tom Feeney. Crystal graduated from University of Central Florida with a degree in Political Science and Mass Communications.
Bobby & Kevin Downes
Founder and CEO of ChristianCinema.com
Bobby & Kevin Downes held a question and answer session with students to discuss the business of entertainment and their latest movie, Like Dandelion Dust (starring Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper). Their projects, Like Dandelion Dust and A Thousand Tomorrows, are based on novels by New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury. Like Dandelion Dust will be released by 20th Century Fox in 2011 after its 2010 theatrical release. Bobby helped bring the USA Today and No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel, The Shack, to publication and is developing the movie adaptation.
The Fifth Quarter (Film Screening)
In February 2006, young Luke Abbate accepted a ride home from a fellow student following his high school team practice. In a severe case of irresponsible and reckless teenage driving, and over the objections of Luke and the other young passengers, the driver lost control of the car at nearly 90 miles per hour, spinning off a narrow road and landing in an embankment some seventy feet below. Luke suffered irreparable brain damage and died in the hospital two days later—just four days before his sixteenth birthday. Following his brother's death, Jon considered giving up his football career but knew that doing so would not properly honor the younger brother who loved and idolized him. Upon his return to Wake Forest, Jon was given the approval of head coach Jim Grobe to change his number from his long-standing 40, to his brother's number 5. And, in so doing, dedicated the new season to the memory of his brother. The Abbate family founded The Luke Abbate 5th Quarter Foundation for the purposes of educating young people nationwide about the dangers and life-altering consequences of irresponsible driving.
Gresham, the step son of C.S. Lewis, hosted Focus on the Family's radio adaptations of his stepfather's most famous works, and his interest in media versions thereof was later shown again when he was named co-producer for the series of theatrical films adaptations of the The Chronicles of Narnia' and The Screwtape Letters; he also made a cameo in the first installment as a radio newscaster and the second as a "Telmarine crier".
He has also written an autobiography entitled Lenten Lands which chronicles his life from childhood to age 28.
Loving the Bad Man (Film Screening)
This story focuses primarily on Julie Thompson (Christine Kelly), a young conservative Christian woman who is truly tested by God and gives birth to a child conceived in rape. This decision leads her to a journey that forces her to explore and redefine her relationships with God, her family, her friends and even her rapist, Mike Connor (Arturo Fernandez), as she struggles to forgive the man who violated her by boldly visiting him in prison and forging an unlikely bond.
Mao's Last Dancer (Film Screening)
This film is a drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.
Oh Yeon Ho, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO of citizen journalism Website OhmyNews
Oh Yeon Ho is a leader in citizen journalism and founder of OhmyNews, an international media outlet operating under the motto, "Every citizen is a reporter." In 2000, Yeon Ho created OhmyNews in his native South Korea as an online media experiment that began with 727 citizen reporters. Now the site boasts more than 60,000 citizen reporters worldwide and 65 full-time staff reporters. Citizen reporters work from more than 100 countries worldwide, contributing stories of local, national and international interest. He earned a master's degree in journalism from Regent University in Virginia and a doctoral degree in journalism from Sogang University.
Michael Ward, Ph.D.
Anglican Clergyman, Writer and Speaker
Michael Ward, a leading expert on the works of C.S. Lewis, is chaplain of St. Peter's College, Oxford, and associate editor of Davey's Daily Poetry. An Anglican clergyman, he served as chaplain of Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge from 2004 to 2007. Between 1996 and 1999, he was Warden of The Kilns, Lewis's Oxford home. He studied English at Oxford, theology at Cambridge and has a Ph.D. from St. Andrews. He lectures widely on theology and imagination and presented the BBC1 television documentary, The Narnia Code. Ward's chief claim to fame is that he handed a pair of X-ray spectacles to James Bond in the movie, The World Is Not Enough. His latest book, The Narnia Code: C.S. Lewis & the Secret of the Seven Heavens, was released in November 2010.
Waiting for Superman (Film Screening)
From Davis Guggenheim, the Academy-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, comes another stirring, must-see clarion call of our times. Waiting for Superman, is a deeply personal exploration of the current state of public education in the United States and how it is affecting our children. Fueled by his conscience and electrified by the possibilities for change, Guggenheim sets off on a probing journey into the lives of five unforgettable kids whose dreams, hopes and untapped potential reveal all that is at stake at this critical moment.
SAFD Fight Director
Jacki Armit, a Mississippi native, is a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). She has been an instructor at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival (Atlanta, Ga.), the North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Session, Introduction to Stage Combat, the High School for Performing and Visual Arts (Houston, Texas), and the Atlanta Stage Combat Studio. Armit also assisted stage combat and character movement classes at the University of Houston as well as stage combat classes at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
Author and Speaker
Carolyn Castleberry is the founder of WomenSaveMoney.com and is an internationally recognized author on money and time management. She is the editor of The Proverbs 31 Investor e-newsletter and a former co-host of Living the Life on ABC Family Channel, produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network, where she still contributes financial reports. Castleberry's work has been featured on FOX & Friends, USAToday.com, MSN Money, Essence magazine and major newspapers and radio programs in the United States and Canada. She spent 17 years as a news anchor and reporter in Virginia and Colorado, and her reports have also aired on CNN and MSNBC. While in Colorado, she started the first national radio talk show for female executives on the Business Radio Network, Women Talk Business, which was recognized by the American Women in Radio and Television.
SAFD Fight Director
Michael Chin is a fight coordinator on Broadway for the internationally acclaimed show, Festen. He received the 2005 Outstanding Fight Direction Award from the New York Theatre Fringe Festival for Lizards. Chin is a student of Northern Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu and a full partner with Fight4 in New York City.
Richard Clabaugh has taught cinematography for nearly a decade at North Carolina School for the Arts, School of Filmmaking (now UNC-SA) before leaving that position in 2008 to return full time to the world of film production. Currently, he is a principal partner in Crimson Wolf Productions, a North Carolina based feature film and television production company. Crimson Wolf's first feature, Eyeborgs, is scheduled to be released on DVD and Blu-ray this summer.
President and CEO of ReelWorks Studios
With more than 30 years in the entertainment business as a musician, producer and entrepreneur, Rick Eldridge knows how to make projects happen. Whether it is audio and sound design, sports programming, film, animated, broadcast video or feature-length movies, Eldridge has been involved in every facet of the business. His creative vision has led to numerous projects including: The Monkey Trial, Running the Sahara, The Perfect Game, Bobby Jones-Stroke of Genius, and Hermie & Friends.
Tim Finch runs a small independent TV production company, OCM Films, in the UK. The company produces a number of productions for an array of UK based Christian clients—everything from short documentary specials for TV to promotional films for books and DVDs for charities.
Editor of The Virginian-Pilot
Denis Finley graduated with honors in 1975 from Philadelphia's Temple University. He received his master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1987, also with honors. He came to The Virginian-Pilot in 1987 as a photographer and became a photo editor in 1993. This was followed by stints as features editor and news editor before becoming deputy managing editor for presentation in 1999. In that role, Finley guided The Virginian-Pilot to recognition by the Society for News Design as one of the world's best-designed newspapers in 2001.
Actor, Writer, Director and Producer
Stan Foster began his versatile career starring in the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning CBS television drama, Tour of Duty. God told Foster to go to Hollywood even though he had no experience in acting or writing. Foster's feature film, Preacher's Kid, starring LeToya Luckett (formerly of Destiny's Child), R&B artist Tank and gospel star Kiki Sheard, was released by Warner Bros. in 2010. In addition to writing and producing, this also marked Stan's directorial debut. With several stage, television and film projects currently in various stages of development, production and distribution, Foster is now set to launch “The Hollywood Mentors”, a new media venture which links television, Artist Management and Internet social networking.
SAFD Fight Director
Dale Girard is a certified fight master with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and Fight Directors Canada (FDC). He is also co-founder of the North Carolina Stuntmen's Association, author of Actors on Guard and director of stage combat studies for North Carolina School of the Arts. Girard appears in the role of Sankur and served as second unit director and stunt coordinator for the film, Eyeborgs. He is currently serving as stunt coordinator on Gary Wheeler's, The Trial, starring Matthew Modine.
CBN News Channel's Morning News co-host
Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio. His most recent honor came as co-anchor of the newscast that earned the station's morning news program its first Emmy Award. He began as an NBC Page, and quickly landed opportunities to work behind-the-scenes in local news, network news, entertainment and the network's Corporate Communications Department. His work earned him the NBC Broadcast Fellowship and the DuPont Research Fellowship, which allowed him to study and receive his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Efrem moved from behind the camera when he relocated from New York City to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Efrem juggled two full-time careers in Chattanooga. By day, he taught journalism at Chattanooga State College. And by night, he anchored and reported the news at the NBC affiliate, WRCB-TV.
Although a native of Virginia Beach, Va., his family hails from New York where his grandfather was vice president in charge of production at Radio City Music Hall for 42 years. And, coincidentally, his mother was a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Recent credits include Tony Scott's film, Unstoppable, with Denzel Washington (November 2010.) Leonidoff can also be seen as the father, Bob Belmont, in The Knock Knock Show on The Smile Channel, the hit independent film, Moving, on The Sundance Channel, and in the fall of last year, he wrote, produced and starred in the short film, My Hero for the international 48 hour film festival. This film won critical acclaim including Best Acting, Best Writing and 2009 Audience Favorite. An adept improviser, Leonidoff is a graduate of the famed Second City Conservatory, The Improv Olympic and The Groundlings Improv Comedy School. His knowledge and experience with this art form had him serving as a guest artist teaching improvisation and acting in his home state of Virginia at Regent University in 2008. He and his beautiful wife, Holly, are expecting their first child in May. He dedicates his performance in Letters to God to his mother, who passed away from cancer in 1997.
Letters to God (Film Screening)
Regent University alumnus, Derek Leonidoff, presented the film and had a question and answer time with the audience. Synopsis: Letters to God is the story of what happens when one boy's walk of faith crosses paths with one man's search for meaning. The resulting transformational journey touches the lives of everyone around them. Inspired by a true story, Letters to God is an intimate, moving and often funny story about the galvanizing effect one child's belief can have on his family, friends and community.
Director, Scriptwriter, Cinematographer, Editor and Actor
Wes Llewellyn has been a filmmaker for more than 20 years on hundreds of productions in film and television. A director, cinematographer, writer and producer, Llewellyn has produced and directed three seasons of the syndicated TV show, Sid Roth's, It's Supernatural. His feature films, The Moment After and The Moment After 2, have received critical acclaim and have begun distribution with Sony this year. He has also won Best Film at the 168 Hour Film Festival a record three times. He has received numerous other awards for documentary, shorts, TV and music videos. Llewellyn received his master's degree from Regent University and was inducted into Regent's Hall of Fame. His production company, Llewellyn Films, is in Burbank, Calif.
SAFD Fight Director
Gregg Lloyd is a Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) certified teacher, professional actor and director. As a professional actor and fight director, Lloyd has worked around the country from Chicago to Dallas in all types of venues including regional theaters, rep companies, amusement parks and Medieval Times. He recently staged the fights for the Virginia Stage Company's, Romeo and Juliet, and currently serves as professor of acting and stage combat at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.
SAFD Fight Director
Scot J. Mann currently serves as assistant professor and director of theatre at Mercer University and is a nationally recognized fight director with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). He has choreographed, performed and instructed stage combat around the United States. Southeastern credits include the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Alliance Theatre Company, The Atlanta Opera, the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, the Seaside Music Theatre, The Hippodrome Theatre and the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills. Mann is the founder, executive director and master instructor of the Atlanta Stage Combat Studio, a member of the Association of Theatre Movement Educators, and holds an MFA in Acting through the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
Australian born Rebecca St. James is both a Grammy Award winner and multiple Dove Award-winning Christian pop rock singer, songwriter, musician, published author, actor and an outspoken advocate for teenage sexual abstinence and pro-life. She counts her lead acting role in the November 2009 film release, Sarah's Choice, among her most recent career highlights. With international success that has driven her record sales into the multi-millions globally, she has been tireless on the concert/live performance front since becoming a major artist in the Christian music industry while still in her teens. In 2008, St. James was named “Favorite Female Artist” in Contemporary Christian Music by readers of CCM Magazine for the seventh consecutive year.
Entrepreneur, NBA Broadcaster and subject of The Blind Side
Sean Tuohy was an American success story: ”He had come from nothing and made himself rich,” wrote Michael Lewis in The Blind Side, the best-selling book that inspired the major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager turned first-round draft pick NFL football player with the support and love of an unlikely adoptive family, the Tuohys. Tuohy, Michael's adoptive father, was a record-breaking basketball player before becoming a successful entrepreneur and NBA broadcaster.
Professor and Filmmaker
Darren Wilson is an independent filmmaker and assistant professor at Judson University. He earned his MFA in Cinema-Television, with a concentration in script and screenwriting, from Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Va. Wilson recently released his first feature film, Finger of God, which details his personal journey around the world in search of the miraculous. He is currently working on his next feature, Furious Love. Darren is married to his lovely wife Jenell and has two children, Serenity and Stryder (with a third on the way).