JHU's Faculty: Film and Video Makers & Critical Studies

A native of Baltimore, Matt Porterfield has written and directed three feature films, Hamilton (2006), Putty Hill (2011) and I Used To Be Darker (2013). His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Film Archive and has screened at Centre Pompidou, Walker Art Center, The Whitney Biennial, and film festivals such as Sundance, the Berlinale, and SXSW.

Matt made his first short, Take What You Can Carry, in Berlin in 2014 with a grant from the Harvard Film Study Center. It premiered in the Berlinale Shorts Competition in February 2015. As a producer, Matt has participated in IFP’s No Borders, Cinemart, FIDLab, the Berlin Coproduction Market and the Venice Production Bridge.

In the summer of 2015, he co-produced and co-wrote Argentine director Gaston Solnicki’s first fiction feature, Kekszakallu, which won the FIPRESCI prize at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Matt recently completed his fourth feature, Sollers Point. Since 2007, Matt has taught film production and theory at Johns Hopkins University.


Karen Yasinsky is an artist and filmmaker working with experimental film, animation and drawing. She teaches courses dealing with the aesthetics of film language, animation, surrealism and experimental video. She is a Guggenheim fellow and a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and the American Academy in Rome. Her video installations and drawings have been shown in many venues internationally including the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art, NY, UCLA Hammer Museum, LA, the Wexner Center, Columbus, Kunst Werke, Berlin and Museum Folkwang, Essen. Her films and videos have been screened worldwide at various venues and film festivals including Museum of Modern Art, the New York Film Festivals Views from the Avant Garde, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Images Festival, San Francisco International, Crossroads and the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Best Sound 2013). She is also the recipient of the Baker Award.


Jimmy Joe Roche is an interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses video, sculpture, and performance. Screenings of his work include the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Rojo@Nova, and Museum of the Moving Image.

Roche has had five solo exhibitions in New York, Texas, and Colorado. His artwork is in the permanent collection at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where he participated in a two-person exhibit.

Roche has created commissioned work for Adult Swim, Dazed and Confused Magazine, Incubate Arts Festival, and Harvestworks. Numerous publications have featured his work including The New Museum's "Younger Than Jesus" Artist Directory. He is a long-time collaborator with the arts group Whamcity and electronic musician Dan Deacon.


John Bright Mann is a documentary filmmaker. His work reflects a thematic concern for a concept of home, begun with his dissertation, A Phenomenological Inquiry into a Concept of Home. His first documentary,Shelter: Conversations with Homeless Men, was shot in North Carolina and Kansas. He then produced and directed Nicodemus, a one-hour documentary on the only surviving African-American town from post-Civil War America, Nicodemus, Kansas (selected for screening at the Athens International Film Festival).

Following these, he produced and directed Locust Point, funded entirely by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Independent Television Service (ITVS.) Locust Point explores the memories of immigrant children who came to Baltimore in the early 1900s. The film includes reenactments as well as archival photographs. Mann also composed and performed the soundtrack for this film. Locust Point was included in the national series American Independents.

His next film, Running to Keep from Falling, was a short experimental documentary utilizing telephone answering machines and automatic answering devices to investigate the loneliness associated with technological detachment. The film received an Honorable Mention in the Black Maria Film Festival. He is completing a short autobiographical film "if...then...”

Professor Mann also works with dance for the camera projects. These include Breathe In…Breathe Out, selected for screening at the International Screen Dance Festival in 2014. He is currently shooting It Goes Without Saying, which considers Martin Heidegger’s notion of “throwness” and the existential condition of being always already here, and suddenly not. He serves as director, cinematographer, and sometimes, composer, for these projects.

He is in pre-production for Dream Worlds, a documentary concerned with the notion of home and cultural displacement. He is also in pre-production for the documentary Pavlov’s Quest, along with Professor Daniel Todes (JHU Professor in the History of Medicine). The film is based on Professor Todes’ book, Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science.


Just some of our recent alumni of JHU Film and Media Studies include (below): Michael Diliberti, screenwriter of 30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari, as well as Little White Corvette; Jonathan Groce, Emmy Award-winning producer; Alexandra Byer, independent award-winning producer; and Emma Needell, screenwriter.