“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
– Galileo Galilei –
Here at Lights Film School, we’re building a tight-knit, global team with a broad range of professional industry experiences to help guide you on your filmmaking journey.
MICHAEL KOEHLER grew up making home movies in East Africa. He studied Film & Television Production at New York University, then spent a year in Southeast Asia doing relief and documentary work. Following several years of freelance film editing in New York City, Michael started traveling full-time. He now develops Lights Film School on the road, working also as a screenwriter and story consultant for narrative, documentary, and nonprofit film projects.
One of the latest short films Michael wrote won Showtime’s Tony Cox Short Screenplay Competition at the prestigious Nantucket Film Festival. Another – Discover the Journey’s and Invisible Children’s They Came at Night – was screened for local communities in Central Africa and went on to win the Prix D’Or at The Lower East Side Film Festival. A TV pilot he cowrote was featured in 2016’s The Black List, and his next project, Watch Room, is currently in post-production.
When he’s not lost in a script or working with Lights, you can find Michael rock climbing, accidentally ordering too many dishes in the local language, or catching a sunset with friends after a day of adventuring.
LAUREN McGRAIL is a graduate of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College, where she earned her BFA in Screenwriting.
Professionally, Lauren has worked in various facets of the entertainment industry, including reality television, network television, public broadcasting, and ultimately talent management, where she acted as executive assistant to the president of Authentic Talent & Literary Management for several years. In this range of roles, Lauren has worked with the screenplay in multiple contexts, including providing script coverage for representatives of A-list talent, network executives, and more. She also has acted as a judge on several national screenwriting competitions.
Currently, Lauren lives in Vermont and is focusing on her own writing. Her screenplay, But, Then, was a finalist in the 2012 New Hampshire Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, and she’s currently working on a teen detective novel which she plans to adapt for the screen.
Outside of LFS and her creative projects, Lauren loves to spend time with her family exploring New England’s beaches, hiking trails, farmer’s markets, and other culture.
JENN DURRETT is a filmmaker and academic exploring ways to use film and filmmaking in positive, socially proactive ways. After attending film school at New York University, she received a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College Dublin and is currently working toward a PhD in Media Studies at SOAS, University of London.
Professionally, Jenn works in both narrative and documentary film. In the one she has worked as a Script Supervisor in both New York City and Los Angeles, including an indie feature that premiered at Sundance. In the world of documentaries, she works as a co-producer and production coordinator. After Spring, a feature documentary she co-produced about the Syrian refugee crisis, premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
When she’s not coordinating festival screenings or working with Lights, Jenn can be found goofing around in circus class, checking out London’s indie music scene, or in the library working on her research. (Actually, that’s where you’re most likely to find her…for the next year or so…)
COURTNEY HOPE THÉROND is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where her short film Sex & German Grammar won awards for screenwriting and cinematography. After graduation, she completed a Cinereach Fellowship focusing on social justice filmmaking.
Following a year of assistant directing in France, Courtney returned to New York to develop the screenplay for her web series Between Us Girls, a finalist in the 2016 Austin Film Festival, with production planned for summer 2017.
In her free time, Courtney can be found working to master food photography, studying short films, or scheming future travel plans and new projects.
JEFFREY BAYS is a director and film scholar, known by many as the Hitchcock Whisperer. He earned a Master of Arts in Cinema Studies at La Trobe University and is a frequent contributor to MovieMaker Magazine, LA Screenwriter, No Film School, and Peter D. Marshall’s Director’s Chair.
Upon the release of his filmmaking books Suspense With a Camera and Between the Scenes, Jeffrey began traveling the country teaching at film festivals and screenwriting conferences. He currently produces the Hitch20 documentary series, exploring Hitchcock’s twenty works of television.
Before getting into film, Jeffrey worked as a host and production director in small-town radio. He wrote and produced the feature length “Not From Space” heard on XM Satellite Radio. “Not From Space” won two audio awards and was recently listed by Time Out Magazine as among the “top five most essential radio plays of all time.” He is now producing a film adaptation.
When he’s not directing or teaching, Jeffrey is feeding his passion for science. You can find him Netflix-binging on episodes of Cosmos or plotting ways to undermine Einstein’s theories.
SOME WORDS FROM OUR STUDENTS ABOUT OUR TEAM:
“Lights Film School is the ideal stepping stone; I love how it takes you through the entire filmmaking process. Learning the technical side was appealing & the course exceeded my expectations. The tutors are experienced & incredibly knowledgeable. Lights opened a whole new world for me.”Aaron Falvey
“Having a dream to create films, but not having any real formal training made me a prime candidate for Lights Film School… I revisited my final project, and it was broadcast on local PBS stations. Thanks for giving me a solid foundation and the confidence to follow my dreams!”Gregory Fish
“Lights Film School has been an amazing experience! By the time I graduated, I had secured two film jobs, developed my showreel, and achieved film schooling! Lights is the perfect school for anyone who wants to work towards a film certificate whilst having enough time for a full-time job.”Nick Kingan
With limited time and experience, I enrolled in Lights Film School. I’m so glad that I did. It was challenging while still being supportive and accessible. Instructors were very attentive and the online school community was always open to sharing ideas and experience. The online platform itself was quick to learn and easy to follow. I’ve come away with technical skill, a honed lens for what makes a good film, and the confidence to pursue this career!Kelly Legge
“I am very pleased with how thoroughly the program is constructed with theoretical knowledge, concrete examples, videos and other material. My filmmaking skills have reached a completely different level after studying at Lights. Especially the feedback from the teachers has been priceless!”Jussi Pohjolainen
“The flexibility of the Lab Chats allowed me to work around my busy schedule. The live lectures are very thorough in covering the necessary elements relevant to developing my skills as a filmmaker. They also give me an opportunity to ask questions directly to industry professionals.”Sharvon Urbannavage
“It’s easy to recognize and respect the expertise of the instructors, who have been responsive to my questions as well as helpful and generous with their direction. The chatroom lecture format has been surprisingly easy to get used to. They’ve helped improve my work enormously.”Charlie McDougall
“I would like to thank Lights Film School and everyone who is a part of your program! Because of Lights Film School, I now work in video full time and have made some really awesome short independent films that have gotten attention from big name video game developers and publishers.”Jason Forge
“There are, undoubtedly, many free filmmaking resources on the internet, but these are scattered and disconnected… The Lights Film School course, conversely, guides its students through a highly structured curriculum with regular assignments and excellent feedback!”Julian Eyre
READY TO CONNECT WITH US?
Then we invite you to start learning how to create professional narrative and documentary films, using the gear you already have, wherever you live.
We’ll be with you every step of the way, with guidance, community, and resources from beginning to end!