Current Students

Danny Boling
Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas

D. D. graduated in 2008 from Arkansas State University and again from the University of Arkansas in 2010 with degrees in Communication Studies and Financial Management and Investments, respectively. He has interned at an Emmy Award winning news station, operated camera at NCAA basketball games, and served as a contractor for an Arkansas sports television station. In the future, D. D. hopes to combine his passion for film and music into a cohesive career.

Michael FerraraMike
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Michael is a filmmaker based out of Little Rock, AR. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas Digital Film program in 2013 with aspirations of becoming a director and cinematographer. Since then, he has been very active within the film community of Arkansas, including volunteering with local festival and producing low-budget independent shorts with his friends and peers. Michael aspires to write, direct and produce his own independent features ranging in genre and style.

Dalton Kennerlydalton
Hometown: Malvern, Arkansas

My biggest interest is music, but I relate that directly to film. I have a love for creating music videos. I am also in band that I drum and sing for. My favorite movies as of recent include Beasts with No Name and Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? My career goal is to one day teach film to those who want to learn it. I also hope to work in the industry for a while before getting into teaching. Alongside film, I hope to achieve great things with my musical career.

Charisa Martincharisa
Hometown: Bellevue, Nebraska

Between 2012 and 2016 I wrote my first trilogy series: East Gate; a thriller, Tabanni, and an apocalyptic novel, Tamarrud. All have been self-published through Amazon. In 2016, I wrote a feature length script for Tamarrud, which I directed in 2017. When not filming or writing, I enjoy going to punk rock/metal concerts, playing video games, and eating pizza (avidly). My biggest aspiration is to have my trilogy picked up a professional publisher.

Stephanie Salyerstephanie
Hometown: Marble Hill, Missouri

Stephanie graduated in the Spring of 2017 from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree Mass Communication: TV and FIlm and with minors in Creative Writing and Anthropology. While in college she worked as a production assistant for a local radio station, was a master control operator for a local TV station, and was a producer and production assistant for her university, helping to online stream OVC sports and cultural events. Her favorite television shows and movies are old comedies, and favorite film is the 1953 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis film “Scared Stiff.” Stephanie hopes to one day teach at the college level.

Bilal Sohail
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Bilal is from Pakistan, but has lived most of his life in Saudi Arabia. He grew up in a different culture, which also reflects his ability to see things differently. He came to the United States in 2007 for high school, and was accepted to Bemidji State University (BSU) in 2009. In 2011, he attended the New York Film Academy for acting, editing, and directing. He transferred back to BSU and graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Mass Communication. In 2015 he interned with Lakeland Public Channel, where he learned advanced documentary editing techniques. He has made a few documentaries and has his own website (, where he promotes his work. His ultimate goal is to be a director, but he wants to start his career with short documentaries. He loves watching cinema from all around the world. His hobbies include watching and playing cricket, as well as swimming, running, table tennis, and playing pool.

Michaela Skaggsmikki
Hometown: North Little Rock, Arkansas

Mikki graduated from UCA with a B.A. in Psychology and Film. During that time she directed an undergraduate capstone project, several shorts, and some features in her spare time. Her favorite position when working on other’s films is Production Designer because it lets her express her creativity. Hobbies include painting, sketching, sculpting, and photography. But nothing can capture, imitate, and manipulate reality like film, in her opinion. She’s wanted to write since seeing “Girl Interrupted” as a kid. She aspires to make surreal films like “Mulholland Drive”, “Natural Born Killers”, and “Lost River” which she feels reflect reality’s rawness. Ideally, she’d like to one day study psychopaths professionally while writing at home. When her crazy characters are brought to life by talented people, she’ll consider them fulfilled.

ShayMichael Shay Stout
Hometown: Shannon Hills, Arkansas

Shay graduated in 2015 from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Sociology. With an interest in expanding and refining his skills as a writer, he decided to join the Digital Filmmaking graduate program. By the time he graduates, Shay plans to finish two feature length screenplays and a pilot episode for a television series. Shay also aspires to become a university professor.


Behnoush Tavakal
Hometown: Tehran, Iran

Behnoush studied cinema at the University of Art in Tehran, where she was born and raised. She is a writer and director with several short scripts and two feature length scripts with dramatic social themes, as well as a few  internationally renowned short films. She has worked as a script consultant and assistant director for three prominent Iranian filmmakers. She enjoys mountain climbing, dancing, reading, drawing caricatures, and of course watching movies.


Mark Thiedeman
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

After studying film and television at New York University, Mark returned to Little Rock to make his first feature length film, Last Summer, a quiet art film about two boys in love, now available on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, et. al. That film led to the production of his next film Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls (winner of Best Film in Arkansas, Little Rock Film Festival 2014), which he plans to expand into a feature. Having always had a love for teaching, Mark looks forward to working with students at the university level while continuing to write and direct his own films.


Donavon Thompson
Hometown: Batesville, Arkansas

Donavan’s love of film started at a young age when his father used to put him on his lap to watch Terminator 2, much to the detest of neighbors sensitive to loud sounds. Donavon earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Digital Filmmaking from the University of Central Arkansas in May of 2016. He is the sitting president of Psi Delta Kappa, the university’s honors film society. Donavon also has administrative experience in film festival organization and production working with organizations like the Conway Film Festival, the Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival. He also helped found the Festival of Misfit Films in December 2015. In his spare time Donavon writes and illustrates comics for the weekly school newspaper, The Echo. In terms of filmmaking, his passions include writing, directing and cinematography. Always a presence with fellow students, he is credited with working on over forty student films.


Daniel Wingfield
Hometown: North Little Rock, Arkansas

Daniel is a writer, director, cinematographer and editor living in North Little Rock, AR. Graduating from UCA in 2013 with a major in Communications and minor in Digital Film Making, Daniel has done a variety of video production, editing, and VFX jobs for ministries, commercial companies, and independent projects in and around central Arkansas. Daniel loves storytelling; it’s what brought about his initial interest in film making. His dream is to write, direct, or edit the next great film or episodic epic (preferably Star Wars Episode 20). Currently working as a high school teacher in North Little Rock, Daniel plans on teaching film making at the university level upon graduation from the program. He is the happy husband of Katherine, and proud father of Rhys.