As a lecturer of culture and history, a professor of filmmaking and television production and a lecturer of Hip Hop and pop culture in general, Holman has appeared and taught at institutions as distinguished and varied as: Yale University, Beyeler Museum, New York University, The Brooklyn Museum, Howard University, The New School For Social Research, the Royal College of Art, Rice University, University of Texas at Austin and the University of Connecticut, amongst many others.
Panelist, Screening of “Downtown 81,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2011
Panelist, Screening of “Blank City,” IFC Theater, NYC, 2011
Panelist, Screening of “The Radiant Child,” Jacob Burns Film Center Theatre, NY, 2011
Panelist, Basquiat Retrospective, Beyeler Museum, Basel, Switzerland, 2010
Keynote Speaker, “Funkstyle 2008,” Paris, France, 2008
Panelist, Hip-Hop Higher Education Symposium, Howard University, 2007
Keynote Speaker, New Direction Christian Church, Memphis, 2007
Keynote Speaker, Rhodes College, Memphis, 2007
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Basquiat Retrospective, 2005
Keynote Speaker, Cox 18 & Calusca Books, Milan, Italy, 2003
Keynote Speaker, Royal College of Art, 2002
Keynote Speaker, Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan, 2000
I.C.A., London, 1997
Keynote Speaker, Rice University, 1996
Austin Museum of Art, 1996
Keynote Speaker, New York University, New York, 1996
The Whitney Museum, New York, 1992
R.J. Reynolds, Inc., Columbia, S.C., 1990
Keynote Speaker, Yale University, 1990
PaineWebber, Inc., New York, 1985
Keynote Speaker, San Francisco Art Institute, 1982
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS, New York City, NY: 2011-2012
- LECTURER, 2011-2012 – teaching graduate level screenwriting for School of Visual Arts, Masters in Professional Studies Program.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY, JOHN H. JOHNSON SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS Washington, DC: 2001-2008
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, 2007-2008 – taught graduate screenwriting courses, as well as undergrad directing courses.
- LECTURER, 2001-2006 – taught graduate screenwriting courses, as well as undergrad directing courses.
THE WORKSHOPS, Rockport, Maine, 1999-2000
- LECTURER, 1999-2000, created and taught course titled, ”Producing
THE NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH IN MANHATTAN, 1996-97
- LECTURER, 1996-97 - created and taught course titled, ”Writing & Directing For Children’s Television.”
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Arnie Baskin, my first Professor at NYU’s Grad School of Film, would challenge his directing students to begin the process of completing a narrative film, by writing a number of possible stories – in treatment form - that the students would produce into a short movie, the ultimate goal of the course. Though the process was rife with frustration, we students realized we were wrestling with our own stories, not some one else’s. We were given the opportunity to pick from a number of our own stories, or abandon them all together and come up with new ones if we had to, but in the end, they were ours. We felt a sense of ownership, and with it, responsibility to our craft. This system of choosing THE story to devote an entire semester to is one of the first important steps taken by the students in my grad level writing classes; “It’s your story, take responsibility.” Thank you, Arnie…
On Teaching Screenwriting
But before I ask my students to write multiple stories and choose one, I first indoctrinate them into the world of classic story structure. Though I myself enjoy experimenting with film, and I often plays fast and loose with structure and “the rules,” I never the less, demand my beginning writing students understand and learn to use classic story structure, because it is, from Aristotle to Godard, the foundation of all great storytelling. I demonstrate, time and again, that there is no escaping it. I usually begin by comparing the engineering specifications of a modern building - in which all sorts of standards and requirements are demanded, least the buildings collapse - with the specifications and requirements of classic story structure; without it, stories collapse. I usually have to challenge skeptical students to name a film that doesn’t adhere to classic story structure, and they discover very quickly, that it's nearly impossible to do. Nearly, but not always. But when a professional screenwriter does break the rules of classic story structure, I am able - nearly one hundred percent of the time - to demonstrate that the writer in question never the less knew the rules to begin with. “Know the rules before you break them, if breaking them is critical to the story!”
I will often times tell a joke, and challenge my students to break the joke down into a classic, three act structure, with the goal of helping the students see that in everything there is structure, and without structure the subject collapses.
Another major part of my instruction is the theory of relativity, meaning, there are no original stories, so why not analyze existing films (with the intention of finding similar plotlines, characterizations, structure, etc. to your own film story) to see how you might benefit from exploiting the strengths, and avoiding the weaknesses of that particular film. This process begins with making “step sheets,” or breakdowns of the major plotline, and action points of a film similar in style and theme to your own. Then, after similarly breaking down your film story/script, see if your story is heading in the right direction. “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
As the writing process becomes more involved, i.e., closing in on that first night of writing pages for your script, it’s critically important for my students to do a healthy bit of research. It is said that writers write clichés because they don’t really know their subject matter. Part of my writing students’ course work is not only researching the story setting and environment, but more importantly, researching their characters so they know them as they know themselves. My students all must interview people who’s lives closely resemble the lives of their story’s main characters, to not only glean new, unexpected, great ideas for plot twists and turns, but most importantly, so that the student writer understands what motivates their main characters to do what they desire/need to do, and understand the feelings that comes over them when they reach, or fail to reach their goals. How their characters ultimately grow.
D. The Work
Another challenging aspect of my writing courses is that I demand that my students do a healthy amount of writing – it is a writing course, after all. But the writing they do is always related to their specific stories. For example; they begin by writing a number of possible stories they can choose from to focus on for the rest of the semester; they write a good amount of film analysis, or short and long step sheets; they do a good amount of research; and once they’ve begun to write their screenplays, they do a good amount of rewriting. In spite of the fact that after all the prep work leading up to writing their screenplays (and they don’t get to start writing until the middle of the semester!) I find that the industrious students have plenty of time to do three and four re-writes of their entire scripts, before turning them in at the end of the term.
Though my classes are usually of a decent size, I never the less always engage in one on one sessions with each individual student, all the way through the semester, to help make sure they’re still writing the intended story, and/or writing a story that works; that they can be proud of.
Though it is tempting to go off on topical tangents, I am strict about keeping class time discussion on storytelling only, but, discussions on the merits of this film versus that film is always instructive. I demonstrate to my students that, in a short period of time, they have lost their innocence, meaning, after learning how film stories really work, they will never see movies the same way again.
I often share my own experiences with my students, as a professional screenwriter. They get to hear about real problems, and real solutions, involving film and television writing, involving films and television shows they know personally, that their professor was directly involved with, and I know that this makes a lasting impression.
On Teaching Directing
A. Starts With Writing A Good Script
As for my directing classes at Howard (all undergrad), I begin the process in the same way as the (grad level) writing classes; I demand that each student, BEFORE they ever think of making story boards, or picking up a camera, has a good, short script that, when made into a short film, will represent the student’s talents, long after leaving the school. In a more truncated fashion, I cover the same principles of classic story structure, and make sure the students “get it” and retain it before anything else. I find that films that have minimal production value (which is the norm for Howard University student films, due to our minimal resources), but maximum story value, stand up much better against films with considerable production value, but poor stories. There are more filmmakers who can make a good-looking picture, than there are filmmakers who can tell a good story, and the industry knows that, which plays directly to Howard University’s strengths, and unfortunately, our weaknesses (no equipment!). So I push for more attention to good stories than perhaps I should.
Once the entire class has found the stories they desire to tell, we then embark on the journey of pre-producing our films, and all the headaches and heartaches that that entails. I remind my directing students EVERY DAY, that no matter what they do, and no matter how well they plan, there will always be unseen, and unpleasant (but sometimes pleasant!) surprises and obstacles in the way of their productions/shoots. For this reason, wearing the producer’s hat, and going to extremes to anticipate these often unpleasant surprises, is another critical aspect of understanding directing. I stress that the true creative moments of a shoot happens BEFORE the shoot, while you’re planning out what you want to do and how you want to do it. Though there is plenty of opportunity to be creative and spontaneous on the set, you’re only afforded those luxuries when you arrive on set, completely and totally prepared for anything and everything that may come. I always compare film directors to firemen (and firewomen), prepared to put out “fires.” My students’ “fires” of course being all the unexpected conflicts, obstacles and drama that threatens the successful completion of their films. I often will show them films of my own, and point out, to much hilarity, problems that arose on my set(s) and how I solved them resourcefully. These real life experiences I bring to the class as a director seems to be some of the more indelible memories the students take away with them.
C. Blocking Shots
Once the students are braced for the shoot challenges ahead, we begin to map out the story, to “see” how they want the picture to look, or “blocking.” I use former student films, as well as professional films to show the impact of various techniques and styles, such as:
locked down camera shots versus handheld;
long lenses versus wide, versus medium, etc.;
two shot versus close ups;
extreme shots versus normal;
over shoulder conversation shots;
moving camera shots;
D. Working With Actors
Then it’s time to discuss casting actors, rehearsing actors, directing actors. We discuss and analyze the idea of “what makes a good performance?” I enjoy sharing my acting experiences with the students, i.e.: different acting methods; different techniques in getting the performance you want; directing children (a specialty of mine from directing for Nickelodeon for years); and especially directing non-actors (what they’ll more than likely have to deal with). A major part of this process is returning to their scripts and knowing when they’ve written good dialogue or not and why, how it will effect their actors’ performances.
A major part of the course, and the students’ grades is their execution of a production plan or prospectus that details every aspect of their films, from budgets to shooting scripts, from cast and crew contact lists to storyboards. Their prospectus must be clear, and informative, so that any crew or cast member can use it to solve problems they need not bother the director with!
Of course composition, editing, lighting, color versus black and white, film versus video, and any and every other aspect of short film producing and directing is covered in the course. Though not all of my students have talent in this direction (and some talent is needed!) or ever meant to be directors, never the less, nearly each semester, I marvel at the skills many students display as directors, some even blow me away! And I’m always proud when I can see that a lot of what I teach them appears on the screen, to great results.
In the end, each student submits a short narrative film and a corresponding prospectus, as well as a short art film, on a subject of the student’s choosing, as long as it contains originality, creativity and passion
Ultimately, whether a teacher/professor is an expert in their field, or merely a novice themselves, I believe deeply, that the best teacher is the one who brings the greatest amount of passion to the classroom, and in the end, inspires their students to want to know more. I don’t know anyone – and I know a few people in the film industry – who has more passion for film, and film writing, than I. Thank you for your consideration.
Downtown Uptown Art Lecture Series
I have created a lecture/lecture series on the late 1970’s, early-mid 1980’s, New York City, Downtown Art & Music Scene, and have delivered this lecture to a number of institutions (listed at the bottom of this document).
This lecture/lecture series:
1. presents and explores the people, institutions, events and creative movements that contributed to this seminal epoch in world art & music history…
2. explores the critical artists and personalities who propelled these various, historical art & musical movements forward, from a personal, eye-witness, hands-on perspective/experience.
3. examines the various artists, impresarios and personalities and their individual strategies for success; their personality types; their education and backgrounds; their ambitions/goals, etc., to see how their personal goals helped shape this special time in art & music history...
4. explores the significance of the late 1970’s early 1980’s, New York Downtown Art Scene, as it existed/participated in the greater Art World of the time, as it still exists as an influence to the greater Art World today, and as it will remain an important influence for future generations...
5. studies the significance of the socializing and social intercourse that took place, and the greater “Club Scene” of the period, and how it facilitated creative growth...
6. scrutinizes the significance of drug, alcohol, and other substance use and abuse, in regards to creativity and social interaction...
7. studies the various disciplines and artistic interaction, and how it fostered innovation and the creation of new mediums, and how these new mediums and art movements impacted world commerce, then and now...
8. considers the impact of foreign and out-of-town artists on the New York Downtown Aesthetic, artistic rivalries, and how they helped fuel competition and growth, etc….
10. looks at the emergence of alternative gallery and exhibition spaces, alternative media, including underground magazines and cable TV shows and their impact on the New York, Downtown Art Scene….
11. measures the interaction of Uptown/Hip Hop Culture with the Downtown Art Scene, and how it they impacted/affected each other...
These and many more issues and ideas will be explored as I take the audience back, just a few decades ago, to when New York City changed the world, single-handedly.
I use film, video, photographs, music and other tools to help bring this Epoch to life for my audience.
Questions will be answered and discussion will be sparked, with the hope of keeping the creative process continuing, inspiring a new generation, or simply a new, unfamiliar audience, with the special creative work and spirit that was so important to this time.
This lecture has been done with minimal audiovisual equipment, or with an elaborate collection of multi-media devices, depending on the circumstances.
This lecture has been presented to small, intimate audiences of just a few, as well as a theater of thousands. Even broadcasting the lecture/lecture series has always been an exciting option.
As more and more films, television programs and museum exhibitions are embracing this particular period in popular, and fine art culture, it’s a good time for my lecture/lecture series for your organization or institution.
Kings Court Project
In 1994, I was part of a group of artists working out of a row of studios located on a side street called "King's Court" in South East Washington, D.C. We would often gather to discuss subjects like the meaning and importance of art and culture, as-well-as our own work. During one of these informal "rap" sessions, the discussion turned to Jean-Michel Basquiat, a New York painter I had the privilege of knowing and working with for ten years. Jean and I created a musical group, Gray, and I wrote the screenplay about his life for the 1996 Miramax film "Basquiat."
It was about a year before "Basquiat" was to go into production, so Jean-Michel Basquiat was a hot topic at King's Court. The particular theme of one discussion was: "If Basquiat had been from an inner-city ghetto, instead of upper-middle class Brooklyn neighborhood (which he was), could he have become the world-famous painter we all knew him to be?” “Or, is it critical for a fine artist to have the advantages that Jean-Michel enjoyed, e.g., good schooling, exposure to museums, travel, culture, etc., in order to understand art and art history in a way that facilitates one becoming something more than a graffiti artist?"
It's a valid question, considering that many of the world's great painters did come from privileged, or at least middle-class backgrounds. Either way we agreed that exposing under-privileged youth from the inner-city, to an advanced level of art and art history, including music, film, photography, etc would be a "fascinating experiment," and a worthwhile endeavor. We believed that, no matter who the child was and where he or she came from, given the correct stimuli, exposure and practice, that child could grow to become at least an appreciator of the arts, and perhaps even a successful artist as well (later, we discovered our program would do more to change the lives of our students in ways that we could never have imagined from the start).
At first we thought we'd just find willing teens from the King's Court neighborhood, which was the perfect, poverty stricken environment in which to conduct our experiment. But how, exactly, would this "experiment" work? We realized we needed to design a curriculum consisting of classes on different art subjects with a set time period, focus, objective, budget, etc. So we (five artists) sat down together over a period of six weeks to do just that. It wasn't easy. We agreed on many issues, such as; we would keep the number of participants low at first (five students, a manageable number for our initial program); the ideal age group for the program would be juniors in High School who were old enough to grasp the material and young enough to use this experience on their college applications; the program would be named "King's Court Project" in honor of the street (named after Martin Luther King, Jr.) where we all met and would be conducting the classes...
The program would last six weeks - three weeks of classroom lectures, three weeks of hands-on "doing/making the art". We also wrote a budget of $15,000.00 for materials, operating expenses, etc. (Of course, we had no idea at the time where we would find the money!) Our first major stumbling block was the "focus" of the program. Some of us wanted to make the program a basic, nuts-and-bolts arts educational experience, but more inclusive and comprehensive than the average high school art curriculum. The others wanted to make King's Court Project specifically designed to expose kids to the avant-garde of the major art disciplines. The reason for the avant-garde angle was to expose the students to new, radical ideas by cutting-edge artists who successfully achieved their goals, to prove that nothing is impossible, that there are no limits in life, and that their lives, in particular, are no different in this respect. We wanted to create an arts program Jean-Michel would have been proud of. The "avant-garde lobby” won out.
Finally, we decided upon exactly what would be included in our King's Court Project curriculum. KCP would consist of five different subjects or disciplines: 1. Painting, 2. Photography, 3. Music, 4. Film Theory, and 5. Film Production, all in an avant-garde approach. Next question was, where would we get the participants for our project? We decided to approach an appropriate Washington, D.C. high school, and interview the kids through the proper channels. But which high school? After asking around, we discovered that Balou High School in the Anacostia area of Southeast Washington, D.C. was just the place.
Balou was a school, already participating in all kinds of experimental educational programs, both academic and extracurricular, and anyone who knows D.C. will tell you that Anacostia is one of the most depressed inner-city neighborhoods in America. We contacted one of the art teachers who loved our idea and was eager to help us with our project.
We set up the interviews, then regrouped to figure out what kind of questions we would pose to which students. First of all, we decided to choose only the most motivated students for our pilot program, and since we alone were the sole source of funding, we decided that we could only handle a limited number of participants, perhaps five.
Considering the novelty of our idea, the limited world the Balou students come from, and the awkward time of the interviews (lunchtime), we were pleasantly surprised when more than 100 students showed up and expressed genuine interest in KCP! Our next problem was the guilt we felt (and still feel) at not being able to take on all 100 kids! At that moment, we realized the power of a good idea.
During the following interview process, we not only asked the students probing (sometimes abstract) questions about art and esthetics, we also video-taped the session so as to use the recorded material to help us make our decisions on which kids we wanted. In about a week, we decided on our KCP five. It was an exciting moment; things were moving forward decisively.
Soon afterwards, we informed the chosen students' teachers, the students themselves, and their parents. My sister, Linda Holman, who is an attorney specializing in family law, drafted a "Parents' Permission" release form, to let everyone know we were serious about the project. All of this took place in early October of 1994, with the intention of beginning our KCP program just after Christmas vacation (which we did). This three-month interim gave us some breathing room. We had three important goals to achieve before KCP began: one, we wanted to incorporate, and then get our 501C-3 (tax exempt) status, which we did about a year later; two, we had to raise $15,000.00 by January; and, three, we had to design the specifics of the KCP core curriculum including location(s), materials, supplies, field trips, food, budget, etc.
KCP's curriculum was designed to work in a linear fashion, starting with painting, then photography, music, film theory, and, finally, film production. We adopted this "linear" curriculum design, so that each discipline inspired the next, while stressing "composition" (whether it be the composition one finds in a frame, a camera lens, a piece of music, or a story). Once we realized our curriculum, it was time to face the fact that we had no money. With trepidation, we approached people we hoped would appreciate our program and would want to help us. To our delight, many did. Artists Julian Schnabel and Kiki Smith each donated signed prints to the cause, and art dealer Tony Shafrazi donated an important set of Keith Haring prints as well. Julian, Kiki and Tony were very enthusiastic about our program. We weren't able to raise the entire $15,000.00, but we raised enough to make the program happen (our own funds had to be thrown in as well).
Eventually, the new year started and the first classes of KCP began. The first portion of KCP was the painting class, taught by Gini Alter. She began by taking her class on field trips to museums and galleries, as well as giving lectures on history's greatest ground breaking painters.
Our students took KCP seriously as well, considering how difficult their lives were to begin with. In participating enthusiastically in KCP, with its two three-hour after school classes each week, the students showed character, and a real desire to enrich their lives. We were always proud of our KCP participants for the work they did, and their genuine interest in what we were teaching them. While driving all five students home one night after class, Gini overheard two of the students discussing how they had all been sitting together during lunch period in the school cafeteria, discussing Gini's lecture the week before, about the monochromatic nature of the work of French painter, Yves Klein.
This conversation came from kids who, before being involved in KCP, didn't even know the definition of the words "monochromatic," "surrealism," "autuerism," etc., words which they began to use regularly in our presence (Gini's classes also consisted of "hands-on" painting and drawing that produced amazingly powerful pieces of work).
After Gini's painting classes, Chris Gunn's photography class began. Chris was already an experienced teacher of disadvantaged children. Teaching the avant-garde of photography was a new experience for him, but one he tackled with relish, lecturing on photographers like Man Ray and Van Der Zee.
Chris challenged his students to photograph only the details of an object, details so small that the object was unrecognizable, so as to transcend the object's original form and meaning, finding new worlds within the familiar. Chris even required the students to develop their own photos, which they did expertly.
The third part of KCP was Christopher Downing's music class, where he introduced the students to avant-garde musicians and composers from Bartok and Stockhausen to Mingus and Coltrane. When given the opportunity to make their own avant-garde music, the students experimented with the sounds of dripping water, cymbals spinning on the floor, synthesizers and more, composing and arranging their own pieces which they would later use to score the films they'd make in Eugene Wooden's film production classes, where they learned how to shoot, direct, and edit their own surreal short films.
But before Eugene's film production class, they took my class on film theory, where they watched the works of challenging, avant-garde auteur greats like Luis Bunuel, Jean-Luc Goddard, Stanley Kubrick, and others. Also, in my class, they wrote a short, surreal script (with storyboards) to be produced later in Eugene's film production class.
Finally, they took everything they learned, from composition, light, color, music, and story, and put it all together in their final projects - their own short, surreal films. We were constantly shocked and surprised at how well the students grasped what we were trying to teach them. But their surreal films were the biggest surprise of all. Some of the films were so powerful, and loaded with meaning, that it was hard to believe they were made by poor, inner-city teenagers.
These teenagers had transcended their own limited environment and often destructive, influences to create works of art that showed real freedom from society's expectations of what they should have been capable of. And they truly enjoyed it!
After the six weeks of classes were over, and the assignments completed, we gave a "graduation" dinner for our KCP students, at which we gave them engraved plaques, signifying their accomplishments. We were proud, and so were they. Again, we were surprised when the kids spoke so eloquently about how much KCP meant to them. When we asked them what they would have changed (if anything) about their KCP experience, they all gave the same answer. They wished that the program had been longer! They all expressed, in emotional terms, how King's Court Project had changed their lives - not only by exposing them to art and artists they might not have ever known, but also, by showing them, through the works of cutting-edge artists, and through their own hard work and commitment, that life, in general, has no limits.
Two of our KCP participants used their experience in KCP to get jobs at important Washington, D.C. art institutions. One KCP participant began working at the Smithsonian Institution, and another got a job at the Corcoran Museum.
Developing a desire to choose careers as artists (or careers in the art world) in our graduates was not the purpose of KCP. However, if that's what they choose, and they're happy, all the better. What KCP does intend is for its graduates to acquire an ability to see the world in new ways, without limitations, and with confidence, where anything they dream is possible.
King’s Court Project
Kings Court Project Press Release
Kings Court Project Exposes Inner-city Youth to Innovative, Cutting Edge Art
“Dedicated to the development of creative talent among urban Youth”
Question: What if Inner-city teenagers, knowledgeable about the latest rap songs, Hollywood action movies and hip street fashions, were also familiar with abstract expressionist paintings, avant-garde music and surrealist films? Could the awareness and appreciation of these historical and innovative art movements act as a catalyst to expand the minds of our youth, helping them make radical changes in their lives and in their communities?
The posing of the above, two-part question was the genesis for the creation of a new and innovative mentorship program called Kings Court Project.
The purpose of the Kings Court Project is to gather a team of qualified mentors who will expose inner city high school students to the importance of avant-garde art and challenge the students to create their own cutting-edge art.
The Kings Court Project’s eight-week program focuses primarily on painting, music, photography, film writing & theory and film production. The students will learn about and create: gallery quality paintings, avant-garde music scores, minimalist photographs, experimental short films and other works of art.
“The arts are a natural part of the learning process. We want to demonstrate to inner city teenagers that creativity and artistic adventure can play an important part in their lives”, says Michael Holman, founder of Kings Court Project. “Our challenge is to give inner city youth a new, more positive focus on life. We’re offering them a new way of ‘seeing’, which we hope they’ll pass on to their peers and community.”
The program has already completed its first run with four local students from Frank W. Ballou High School in Southeast Washington D.C. The students were chosen by the Kings Court Project mentors.
Ballou High School art teachers Patricia Spradlin, Alan Reamer and Murielene Gordon, made initial selections of about thirty students, thirteen of whom went on to be interviewed by the Kings Court Project mentors selection committee. From the thirteen students who were interviewed, four were selected as the first participants in the program, with two alternate students.
The four students chosen showed they were creative thinkers, had a great interest in art, and came prepared to learn. “We want the students participating in the Kings Court Project to benefit from the opportunity of working with professional artists in a studio environment. It will give them a point of view, different from our high school curriculum,” says Ms. Spradlin. Ms. Gordon has high hopes for the Project and had this to say: “It is a very worthwhile project. My students enjoyed the interaction with the Kings Court instructors, and other students at the high school are looking forward to being a part of the program in the future.”
Eugene Wooden, co-founder of the Project, believes this program can make a powerful impression on teenagers. “We want to help mold a generation of creative doers and big thinkers. We want to head off a generation of ‘couch potatoes,’ watching the world go by.”
This philosophy of encouraging young people to ‘think outside the box’ is one of the guiding principles behind the Project. Kings Court Project is a non-profit corporation who’s sole funding to date has been generously donated by artists Kiki Smith, Julian Schnabel, Tom Nakashima, and gallery owner Tony Shafrazi.
Mentors/Instructors Who Bring Broad-Based Professional Skills to Kings Court Project
Michael Thomas Holman, Founder/Instructor
Michael Thomas Holman is an experienced film writer, director and producer who wrote the screenplay to the film Julian Schnabel, Miramax Film, “Basquiat.” Awards include Rolling Stone Magazine’s Critic’s Poll award for Best Video of the Year and NYU Graduate School’s Paulette Goddard Award for the film, Heads, You Win. He is a veteran of New York City’s 1980’s “art scene”, having created an avant-garde ‘sound’ band with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Michael Holman also designed and staged many art and film ‘happenings’ at performance spaces like the Mudd Club, P.S. 1 and The Kitchen. He also wrote for Art Forum magazine and made short, experimental films. Holman attended the Master’s Degree Program at for Film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Eugene Wooden, Co-Founder/Instructor
As an independent filmmaker, Eugene Wooden is president of his own production company, Urban Images. Wooden has produced various video projects, including Voices Against Violence, a Rosebud Awards Festival-nominated film. Wooden has been an instructor of film production at Arlington Community Television, and is a broadcast technician at the Public Broadcasting Service. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Gini Alter, Co-Founder/Instructor
Gini Alter is a painter and sculptor who brings over twenty years of experience in the study and creation of art to Kings Court Project. Her classical background includes study at the Sorbonne, the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the ateliers of renowned artists in Paris. She has exhibited her work extensively, both in the United States and abroad, including shows at the La Foret Museum in Tokyo and in one woman shows in Palm Beach, New York City, Paris, Bologna and most recently at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Christopher Downing, Co-Creator/Instructor
Sound engineer and musicologist Christopher Downing is a computer sound designer and producer who utilizes computers to compose electronic, abstract music for use in films and commercials. For the past eight years, he has owned and operated a sound studio which local musicians use as an incubation salon for the development of new music. He is also an accomplished composer who has completed a score for a documentary on artist Tom Nakashima. Downing has been the music director for local theatrical productions of note; including FADE TO BLACK and JAZZ, JIVE AND JAM.
KINGS COURT PROJECT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael Holman…………………Chairman, CEO
Eugene Wooden………………...President, Chief Financial Officer
Gini Alter………………………….Corporate Vice President
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Tony Shafrazi……………….Gallery Owner, Collector
Linda Holman……………….Attorney, KCP General Consul
Christopher Downing………………Music Producer