This Friday Mar 24 | Alumni Spotlight


Ria Banerjee ‘14
Ria Banerjee is an associate professor of English at Guttman Community College and a consortial faculty member in Film Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY. In literary studies, her scholarly interests are in British and European modernism and writing pedagogy. She has published essays at venues such as Modernism/modernity Print Plus, ELN, the Eliot Studies Annual, and South Atlantic Review. In media and film studies, she has written on film noir and the intersections of literary modernism with the films of Alain Resnais. Banerjee teaches undergraduate courses in writing, literature, and media studies and graduate courses in film studies. She is currently at work on a project about film studies pedagogy.

Annie Dell’Aria ‘16
Annie Dell’Aria is an Associate Professor of Art History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and an affiliate faculty member of the programs in Film Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of The Moving Image as Public Art: Sidewalk Spectators and Modes of Enchantment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). Her writing has appeared in venues such as Afterimage, Artforum, and Millennium Film Journal and recent book chapters include contributions to Screening the Art World (Amsterdam UP, 2022) and Architecture, Media, Populism…and Violence (Routledge, 2022). In 2016, she earned a Ph.D. in Art History from the CUNY Graduate Center along with Certificates in Film Studies and American Studies.

Laura Di Bianco ‘14
Laura Di Bianco is an Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Italian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, where she is affiliated faculty member at the Center for Advanced Media Studies (CAMS). She has published articles in academic journals such as The Italianist Film (2019), and Film and Philosophy (2022), and contributed to edited volumes like Italian Women Filmmakers and the Gendered Screen (2013) and Radical Equalities. Global Feminist Filmmaking (2021). Her first book, Wandering Women. Urban Ecologies of Italian Feminist Filmmaking (Indiana University Press, 2023) investigates the work of contemporary Italian women directors from a feminist and ecocritical perspectives. Supported by the Lauro De Bosis Fellowship at Harvard University, and the Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, she is currently developing a second book project on Italian cinema and ecology: Crumbling Beauty: Italian Cinema in the Anthropocene.  At Johns Hopkins, Laura teaches classes of Italian cinema, modern and contemporary Italian literature and ecocriticism, and she is the co-editor of the academic journal MLN (Modern Language Notes).

Sascha Just ‘17
Sascha Just is a New York-based filmmaker, born and raised in Berlin. She emigrated to the US to make films about jazz and jazz-related topics. She has produced and directed the feature-length documentary ELLIS about New Orleans pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr. Completed in October 2022, ELLIS premiered at DOC NYC November 2022.

Prior to ELLIS, Sascha produced and directed Heirs, a feature-length documentary about three New Orleans artists, the short documentary Big Chief about New Orleans Black Indian Chief Darryl Montanta’s path to Mardi Gras, and the short documentary Ambassadors – The Native Jazz Quartet at Work, that follows a jazz group as they compete for the title Jazz Ambassadors to the US.

For her work on the Freytag Collection, an archive of New Orleans performers and performance traditions, the United States Government granted her the rare national interest-based permanent resident status.

Sascha holds a BA in Film, an MA and a PhD in Theater Studies (minor Cinema Studies) from the City University of New York (CUNY). Her dissertation explores the interdependence of theatricality, gender, and race in cinematic and performative representations of New Orleans.
She teaches in the Communications Department of Baruch College, CUNY.

Eero Laine ‘16
Eero Laine is the Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His first book Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage, examines the performance form of professional wrestling to examine issues of labor, class, and the financial and global influence of live, popular entertainment. Eero is a co-editor of Performance and Professional Wrestling (2017) and Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism (2020), and Sports Plays (2022). He has co-edited seven special journal issues or sections and has published over two dozen articles and book contributions. He is actively engaged in developing new methodologies and practices for theatre and performance scholarship and regularly collaborates with local and international colleagues on projects that might reconsider academic labor and collective creative processes. He is one of the co-editors of Lateral, the journal of the Cultural Studies Association.

Nicole Wallenbrock ‘12
Nicole Beth Wallenbrock earned a PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in French and Francophone Studies.  She has taught French and Francophone literature and film at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Syracuse University before beginning as an Assistant Professor at Hostos Community College in 2019. Wallenbrock’s first monograph, The Franco-Algerian War through a Twenty-first Century Lens (Bloomsbury, 2020) probes cinematic discourse to shed new light on topics including: the media revelation of torture and atomic bomb tests; immigration’s role in the evolution of the war’s meaning; and the complex relationship of the intertwined film cultures. Guy Austin of Newcastle University described it as “a brilliant and important book…A fascinating meditation on memory, violence and cinema.” Wallenbrock co-edited Migrants’ Perspectives, Migrants in Perspective: World Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2021) with Frank Jacob, a volume that deciphers the semiotics of migration and its representation in cinema. In addition to these two book projects and various chapters in volumes, some of her articles have appeared in the Journal of Cinema of Media Studies, French Politics, Culture and Society, French Cultural Studies, and Performing Islam. Wallenbrock is a 2022-2023 Faculty Fellow of the Center for Place, Politics, and Culture.

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