NFI Faculty

“Films are always pretentious. There's nothing more pretentious than a filmmaker. ”
- John Milius
Nashville film institute
k baker

Kelley Baker has written and directed three full length features (Birddog, The Gas Café, & Kicking Bird), eight short films and a few documentaries.  Kelley films have aired on PBS, The Learning Channel, and Canadian and Australian television and have been shown at Film Festivals including London, Sydney, Annecy, Sao Paulo, Chicago, Aspen, Mill Valley and Edinburgh.  Kelley Baker has found funding for his no-budget films and successfully self distributed them all over the US and Canada.

He was the sound designer on six of Gus Van Sant's feature films including, My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, and Finding Forrester, and Todd Haynes feature film, Far From Heaven.   

Kelley attended the University of Southern California.  He received a BA (1980) and an MFA (1982) in Film Production, and did post graduate work at the American Film Institute (1989).

Kelley’s new book, The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide: Making the Extreme No Budget Film is available.  Check out his website for more information.
Ronda Berkeley MICHAEL CHASE (Program Consultant)

Michael spent 14 years at the internationally renowned Vancouver Film School where he taught and developed curriculum for the Acting, Writing, Make up and Entertainment Business Management programs and led a production team that made over 600 films during his tenure. As Head of Production for VFS Entertainment Michael oversaw large-scale studio shoots that partnered students with professional mentors from the local industry, the results of which have garnered several awards.

Over the last 20 years Michael has produced, directed and edited dozens of films and has accumulated over 50 acting credits, including roles in Stargate SG1, Supernatural, Psych, The 4400 and The L Word. Films he has worked on or produced have been to many festivals including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Palm Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, Philadelphia, Trail Dance, SFIndy and Screamfest.


Matt Coale has been shooting films since he was twelve; professionally since 1984. Matt has over 1400 commercials, 650 corporate films, 750 television projects, and 160 music videos to his credit.

And don't forget the Emmy. Matt has done it all DP, lighting, editing, and brings all his experience to NFI to teach Cinematography, lighting and how to work with 35mm Film. For a complete list of Matt's experience, visit

Scott Crain

Scott Crain is a freelance filmmaker and director at Bar Sinister Films, a Nashville-based film production company. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Memphis, Scott's been acting, writing, producing, and directing for stage and screen for 20 years, and his films have been exhibited in numerous film festivals in the United States and internationally. Scott was nominated for "Indie Film Director of the Year" by the Elite Business Network in 2013, and writer and director of Little Red, winner of Best Film, Best in Genre, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in the Nashville 48 Hour Film Project (2013).
Scott Crain

Jamie Ford has enjoyed a 20 year career in the film and television industry as a make-up artist, wardrobe stylist, art director, production designer, writer, and producer.

With over 150 commercials and music videos, 12 full length feature films, and dozens of TV shows to her credit, Jamie has logged more than 10, 000 hours on set and has worked with some of the best names in the business, including Oscar nominated Production designer Richard Hoover, Oscar nominated director Billy Zabka, Oscar nominated actor Harrison Ford, and Oscar winning actors Eric Roberts and the later Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Jamie has been involved with every aspect of the film making process from writing scripts and packaging film projects to music supervision and post production. Jamie also has working knowledge of distribution, financing, foreign and domestic pre-sales, product placement, subtitling, and overdubbing films for foreign language markets.

Jamie is a member of IASTE local 492 and Film Nashville. She splits her time between Nashville and Los Angeles.

Steve Grinder STEVE GRIDER

Steve is a location sound mixer based out of Nashville, TN. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University's Mass Communications program, Steve has been rolling sound since 1991. The first ten years of his career was spent recording dialog on set and assisting in audio post-production. For the past decade Steve has concentrated on the part of filmmaking he is most passionate about, location sound.

Steve specializes in sync sound dialog across many genres. He is experienced in news gathering, reality tv, documentaries, commercials, and feature films. His twenty year career has taken him all over the world, from the steppes of Mongolia to Hollywood and Vine. Excerpts from his client list look like a bowl of alphabet soup:  ABC, BBC, CBS, FOX,  HGTV, MTV, NBC, TLC  and The NFL. 

He has taught classes on location sound at Vanderbilt University, and his alma mater, MTSU.

Ronda Berkeley ROBERT KIMMEL

Robert Kimmel is a screenwriter and music journalist who splits his time between Los Angeles and Nashville where he courts his two life-long passions: movies and music. A graduate of New York University's Graduate Film Production Program, he's written feature films and episodic television for Warner Brothers, NBC, and the USA Network among others, and his musings on music have been published in various national publications and on the web.

Steve Grinder BRIAN McHUGH

Brian McHugh graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism Management. Having worked in Broadcast television for over a decade, Brian's professional experience includes producing, shooting and editing news and entertainment packages for NBC, ABC and Thomson Reuters for both national and international audiences. "I first and foremost consider myself an AVID non-linear editor. However, in this ever-changing economic climate, I wear many hats to get the job done. I have produced, directed and operated cameras, mixed audio, edited and created motion graphics, making me a proficient "One man band".


Scott Mumford SOC is an award winning director and cinematographer with decades of real world experience in the motion picture industry. Scott grew up in a creative family and was on photo sets with his art director father even as a youngster. While in high school Scott shot sports, and soon after managed the world famous Great Southern Studios in Miami Florida where he fine tuned his skill sets. Soon after Scott built a Grip truck and Lighting company and soon after added scenic services providing one stop shopping for many producers.

Scott was quickly an in demand cinematographer and has been shooting tv spots, music videos, feature length films since. A member of the Society of Camera Operators and when directing, Scott continues to collect awards. With a love of technology, and passion for specialized photography, including time lapse photography, his love of the many technical crafts that comprise motion picture production are readily apparent. Scott's enthusiasm for sharing his extensive knowledge and experiences are a great asset for our students.


Wes Scoggins has spent 8 years working in media production, holding a diverse array of jobs such as colorist, writer, producer, cinematographer, camera operator, DIT, and editor. Wes got his start working for Indy Mogul from 2007 to 2011, Producing shows, writing, and interviewing industry professionals. Since then he has worked on 4 Feature Films, several television shows including a Dreamworks Animated series, two graphic novels, hundreds of articles, and two Webby award winning internet shows. He is an expert in post-production pipelines, and filmmaking technology, and has worked on a diverse set of projects over the last decade.

Wes earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Film/Cinema/Video Studies from University of Southern Mississippi.


Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and television programming had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production and Graphic Design (though not at the same time) he was in one of the early graduating classes at the Watkins Film School in Nashville, Tennessee. During that time at Watkins he discovered editing. While most of his classmates in film school wanted to be directors, Scott saw real career opportunities in post production and took a job as an assistant editor after completing film school. In 1999, Scott took the leap into freelancing. The years of freelancing in a market like Nashville gave him the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects from music videos and live concerts to commercials and television programs, industrial and corporate pieces to documentaries and the occasional narrative film. If you can name it, Scott has probably cut it.  In 2007, he accepted a position as a staff editor at Filmworkers - Nashville. He has worked on projects from artists including Kenny Rogers, Kenny Chesney, Ronnie Milsap, Rodney Atkins, Mercy Me and Rhonda Vincent to name a few. Television networks include programming for CMT, Nickelodeon, Great American Country, Speed, HGTV, Gospel Music Channel and ABC Sports. In 2005 Scott created The Editblog, a blog dedicated to all things editing and post-production which is now located as part of Pro Video Coalition, a website that brings together some of the best writers in the film, video and technology space. He's also a contributing writer to Studio Daily and Studio Monthly, one of the leading film and video trade portals on the Internet. Someday he hopes to edit on a beach with a touch screen device, a wireless hard drive and a Red Stripe.


Michael Stryker, owner of Casting Life Films, is a two-time Emmy nominated, four-time Golden Addy Award winner for his directing, cinematography, composing and sound work.

Film credits include Paramount Pictures / MTV's "The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia", and music videos such as CMT country artist Danielle Peck's "Impossible Dreams" (placing top ten on CMT); Julie Roberts "Whiskey and You" (top ten on CMT) and Beau Davidson's "Blessed", (which became the campaign video for Mitt Romney during for his 2012 campaign).

Michael has received numerous awards for his short films and commercial work, and has composed musical scores for over fifty productions, including commercials, documentaries, cinema, infomercials, and TV.

For Michael, working with NFI has been an incredible experience. "NFI drops you directly into production—an experience that is a must to mature as a filmmaker" says Michael a Communications graduate from West Virginia State University. At NFI Michael teaches and mentors students in Cinema Production.


Ronda Berkeley ZAC ADAMS

Zac Adams is an Emmy-nominated and award winning filmmaker based in Nashville, TN. His company, Skydive Films, produces TV shows, films, documentaries, music videos, and PSA's. Adams mini-series, SOUTHERN HAUNTS has been awarded 7 International awards and has been seen by millions on PBS.

Some of his most recent projects include "Nashville Rises," an Emmy nominated documentary narrated by Academy Award winner, Billy Bob Thornrton. His last 3 music videos have been featured on CMT.

Adams latest project is a TV series called IN AMERICA that focuses on issues here in America, while inspiring resolutions. The first episode is about the hunger crises called "Hunger in America" narrated by "Desperate Housewives" star, James Denton. The second episode is "Autism in America," narrated by "Grey's Anatomy' star, Chandra Wilson.

To view more work, visit Adams' website at:


Jason Glassman, a dedicated film geek and accomplished screenwriter, has created projects for MTV, the USA Network, UPN, and Howard Stern. He taught screenwriting at Writers Boot Camp in Los Angeles and now acts as the NFI’s Director of Development. In addition to his own screenwriting projects, Jason Glassman is a creative writing and English teacher at Middle College High School in Franklin.  Jason earned his Masters in English at Claremont Graduate University. Jason serves as the NFI's Director of Development, greenlighting the scripts  for the student projects, and shepherding them through the various stages of development while helping to make their stories come alive.

J. Todd Harris is the president of the Los Angeles-based Branded Pictures Entertainment. Originally from New York City, he spent many years in Palo Alto, where he earned both his BA and MBA from Stanford and served as Managing Director of the award-winning repertory company TheatreWorks.

Of the nearly 40 movies Mr. Harris has produced, highlights include Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated The Kids Are All Right, Bottle Shock, Crooked Arrows, Jeepers Creepers, and Piranha 3D.

Five of his films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, including Digging To China, Urbania and Lewis & Clark & George. His first feature, the $600,000 Denise Calls Up, won a Special Mention for the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995 and went on to become a hit in France, eventually tripling its investment. Other films have played in nearly every major film festival in the world, including Toronto, Tribeca, SxSW, Deauville, Seattle, San Sebastian, Hamptons, Mill Valley, Montreal, Vancouver and many others.


Mrinalini D.S was born and raised in Chennai, India. Trained in Indian Classical music from the age of five, Mrinalini's foray into films began with playback singing, a technique popular in Indian cinema, where singers record songs for soundtracks and actors lip-sync them for the camera. Mrinalini has worked with academy award winning music composer A.R.Rahman amongst other eminent musicians. This led to an interest in music production and she studied audio engineering at the SAE Institute. She followed this up with composing for a Tamil music album.

A socially conscious person, Mrinalini also played the lead in a play aimed at raising awareness about epilepsy amongst the public, which premiered in 2005 on World Epilepsy day and was reviewed by a leading Indian paper. Filmmaking felt like the next natural step and she wrote, directed and produced her first short film 'Notes of Silence' (2010) that had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival. It has also played at the New York Indian Film Festival, the Legacy Film festival (Brighton, UK) and the Jaipur International Film Festival. A screenwriting graduate of the New York Film Academy, Mrinalini's feature script tentatively titled 'Red Mondays and Turquoise Twos' was a finalist at the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant and Fellowship 2012. An electrical engineer turned musician and filmmaker, Mrinalini is currently based in New York. She is working on a short film version of 'Red Mondays and Turquoise Twos' and writes film reviews online.