Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran, Director
PhD Candidate, Theology and Film (Interdisciplinary) King’s College London, UK
(anticipated completion, in 2017)
M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary
B.A. Philosophy, Bethel University
Rebecca is the director of the L.A. Film Studies Center (LAFSC), director of alumni and teaches. She was featured in an article in the Washington Times (August, 2016), and has recently written an article for Image Journal, a chapter in Tarantino and Theology, “Seeing Red: The Significance of Blood in Tarantino’s Oeuvre of Violence,” CIVA’s SEEN Journal on Andrei Tarkovsky, and a chapter in Reframing Theology and Film (ed. Robert Johnston). She speaks at conferences and universities, recently giving a Princeton Lecture, American Scientific Affiliation keynote, and on panels at the Faith and Film Conference, Baylor University, American Academy of Religion, and at Pepperdine University. She created/led the first film track at Christians in the Visual Arts Conference (CIVA) and also led the annual spiritual retreat at Pepperdine University. Currently Rebecca is writing her dissertation for a PhD in film and theology (interdisciplinary) at King’s College London, UK. For many years she was on the Reel Spirituality Committee at Fuller Seminary and was Director of City of the Angels Film Festival. Rebecca created the Miracle Mile Art Walk sponsored by L.A. County Museum of Art, was elected to the Mid City WEST Community Council, Chair of Arts, received a “Sheroes” award from California Senate District 26, was ordained and worked as a pastor for 14 years at three churches, developed arts ministries, and planted a church for artists, musicians and filmmakers. Her prior background was in urban ministry. Rebecca lives one block from LAFSC with her husband, David Raven, a veteran musician who has made over 2,000 albums, toured, writes songs for TV and plays on movie soundtracks. They have three children and five small grandchildren. ages six and under.
John K. Bucher, Jr., Instructor, Faculty
Ph.D. Current Student, in Mythology and Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, (completed anticipated completion, in 2018)
M.A. Communications (Film), University of Colorado
B.A. Communications (Film), University of Colorado
John has produced film, television and video programming in more than 30 countries around the world including Iraq, Mongolia, China, Argentina and Morocco. He is an award-winning writer and narrative consultant based out of Los Angeles, California. He is a regular contributor to VirtualRealityPop.com, LA-Screenwriter.com, HBO.com, and MovieMaker Magazine. He co-hosts The Inside Out Story Podcast, The Westworld Watch Podcast. A popular speaker, John has given talks on five continents regarding story, technology, and art, and led panels at BEA. He is in process of a PhD in Mythology and Depth Psychology and is the author of several books including Storytelling for Virtual Reality: Methods and Principles for Crafting Immersive Narratives (Routledge and Focal Press), two books two co-authored with Jeremy Casper, Master of the Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code For Writing in the New World of Media, and The Inside Out Story, in addition to Storytelling By the Numbers, (all published by Michael Wiese, where John is a story consultant). He can be found on-line at his site, tellingabetterstory.com, and on social media @johnkbucher. John has taught at the L.A. Film Studies Center since 2007, where he passionately encourages students toward recognizing the structure and power of story, teaching courses in Virtual Reality, storytelling and filmmaking, and has overseen over 1000 student films. John lives with his wife, Katie in Panorama City.
Jeremy Casper, Instructor, Faculty
M.A. Communication - Directing and Cinematography, Regent University
B.A. Communication - Film and Public Relations, Southwest Baptist University
Jeremy Casper attended the L.A. Film Studies Center in the fall of 1996, and has been an instructor since 2007, teaching cinematography and narrative storytelling, helping his students develop over 1,000 short films. He is a writer/director/producer. Jeremy sold his feature film, Vacant House, at the market at Cannes, which premiered at the United Film Festival, Los Angeles 2013, winning “best screenplay” and “best picture” and "best director" at the CineRockCom International Film Festival. His books include Master of the Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code to Writing in the New World of Media (2016), co-authored with filmmaker John Bucher, published by world renowned film book publisher, Michael Wiese, and The Inside/Out Story, (2015), also authored with Bucher. Jeremy and John covered the 2016 NAB conference for Movie Maker Magazine and the article is in the September, 2016 edition. Jeremy also works with the Global Short Film Network and the Visual Story Network and has led screenwriting and directing seminars in Los Angeles as well as in Egypt, Ukraine, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and Jordan. Jeremy has worked professionally in the film industry at Warner Brothers, has worked in all aspects of production and postproduction, and did his internship at James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment during the production of Titanic. He lives with his wife, Trisha, and his beloved dogs in Pasadena.
Christine Krebsbach, Industry Relations Director, Faculty
M.A. Producing, Regent University
B.A. Communication/Broadcasting, Theatre Minor, Northwestern College, MN
University of Northwestern St. Paul (hopefully “Comm” will shorten line to one)
Chris has been a part of the LA Film Studies Center team since 2003. She began working with LAFSC as the Residence Director and has been part of the teaching faculty since 2004. She co-teaches the Hollywood Production Workshop class and leads LAFSC's internship program, helping students to find opportunities that suit their areas of interest and skill level. Chris is a member of Actors’ Co-op and acts in their productions. She is currently completing a feature screenplay to direct, working with a production company, and is developing two non-fiction books. Recently, she has also starred in a stage production of Proof, directed two short films, cast several others. Prior to working at LAFSC, Chris worked in freelance production in various producing and acting capacities in both the United States and abroad.
Kris Young, Instructor, Adjunct Faculty
MFA Screenwriting, UCLA
BA Film, USC
Kris, a native Los Angeleno, has taught screenwriting at LAFSC since 1998 and at UCLA since 2001. He’s been a WGA member for over 30 years and was a founding member of and co-chaired the WGA Asian-American Writers’ Committee for many years. He wrote six movies for the Disney Channel and was a staff lyricist for a major R&B record company where he put words to music for Grammy Award winning artists. Kris lives in La Crescenta, California with his wife, son and family dog.
Sarah Duff, Residence Director
B.A., Asbury University, Wilmore, KY Kentucky
Sarah has served on LAFSC's staff since 2005, overseeing student life. She considers it a great privilege to serve the students of the program each semester as they navigate new academic and cultural waters in Los Angeles. Her degree in media communication and role in developing an extraordinary youth ministry as a youth pastor equip her well for residence life ministry. She is on the Board of Elders at Ecclesia Church and lives onsite with her husband, Patrick, and their four young children at the Park La Brea apartment complex where students are housed. Her office and apartment doors are always open!
Alex Swickard, Technology Coordinator
B.A. Communications (Film Studies), Creative Writing Minor, Olivet Nazarene University
Immediately after attending the LAFSC in the Fall of 2013, Alex continued working in Los Angeles. He was hired as a full-time production assistant at his LAFSC internship, where he produced and edited online content for YouTube personalities Rhett and Link. For the past three years, he has held work as a freelance director of photography, gaffer, and 1st/2nd assistant camera for multiple commercials, music videos, web series, as well as short and feature films. He has also held positions as the head of the camera department at the New York Film Academy and as production equipment coordinator at DreamWorks’s AwesomenessTV. He continues to do freelance camera work while working full time as the LAFSC’s Technology Coordinator, where he oversees production and post production equipment.