Christopher Ernst M.F.A.

Associate Professor
Film & Moving Image | School of Design


  • M.F.A., Media Study: Independent Film & Video; State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.A., Film & Music; Hampshire College

Professional Experience

  • Stevenson University; Assistant Professor, Film & Moving Image 2015 – present
  • The New School; Part-Time Faculty, Media Studies; 2009 – 2015
  • MTV Networks; Producer; 2008 – 2015
  • State University of New York at Buffalo; Adjunct Professor, Media Study; 2005 – 2008


I create work that is cinematic in form, yet lives across multiple diverse genres, functionalities, industries and disciplines. This includes theatrical narratives, documentaries, commercials, musical compositions, experimental films, performances and expanded cinema pieces. My films are musical and, as the music I write itself often is, abrasive, dissonant, slow and noisy. I focus on incorporating not only music and musicality itself into my films, but also the distinctive processes found in collaborative musical composition and performance. Likewise, the cultures of punk and underground music greatly influence my approach to independent filmmaking and the artistic process. My filmmaking style is heavily weighted toward lens-based content and a cinematographic sensibility. Aside from the actual form and content of the films I write and direct, my work as a cinematographer for documentary and ‘hybrid’ fiction/documentary features well exemplifies this inclination. I consider my work as a cinematographer to be an integral component of my overall practice, just as I consider my work as a musician and a teacher to be integral factors. At the end of the day, while my filmmaking practice does not follow a singular style, approach, process or discipline, it does follow a central imperative: exploration of potential. In her seminal 1960 essay Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality, Maya Deren praised the motion picture medium as possessing a “profusion of potentialities” in simultaneously encompassing creative elements of graphic design, movement and phrases of time, among other plastic art forms. My point of departure as a filmmaker can be, in many ways, understood as a reimagining of Deren’s viewpoint for the age of screen-based visual communication, set amongst the expanding potentialities of digital motion picture media.



  • Me Here Now (Burning, Too) | Gallery Lokal, Antwerp, Belgium (2016)
  • Lone Star Film Festival (winner, best documentary), Ft. Worth, TX (as Cinematographer for Audition) (2015)
  • St. Lawrence International Film Festival, Canton, NY (as Cinematographer for Audition) (2015)
  • Portland Film Festival, Portland, OR (as Cinematographer for Audition) (2015)
  • Big Apple Film Festival, New York, NY (as Cinematographer for SEEK) (2015)
  • Buffalo International Film Festival, Buffalo, NY (as Cinematographer for SEEK) (2015)
  • In Carcosa (solo screening) | Rio Cinema, London, UK ( (2015)
  • In Carcosa (solo screening) | Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY (2013)
  • Fargo Film Festival, Fargo, ND (2013)
  • Jeridoo Film Festival, Vancouver, BC (2013)
  • Azimuth (solo screening) | Genesis Cinema, London, UK (2012)
  • Tribeca International Film Festival (as Cinematographer for Buried Land) (2010)
  • Moscow International Film Festival (as Cinematographer for Buried Land) (2010)
  • Cinema Returns the Gaze | Galerie M., Berlin, Germany (2009)
  • Opening Ceremonies | Burchfield Penny Arts Center, Buffalo, NY (2009)
  • Boxing the Compass (solo screening) | Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY (2008)
  • Festival Antenna, Paris, France (2008)
  • OMSKBOOK | South London Gallery, London, UK (2008)
  • Abstracta Festival, Rome, Italy (2008)
  • Toronto Urban Film Festival, Toronto, ON (2008)
  • Auditum Sound and Relation Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria (2007)
  • Perpetual Art Machine | Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY (2007)


FMI101 Cinema I: Storytelling FMI201 Cinematography I: B&W FMI202 Cinematography II: Color FMI302 Narrative Production FMI303 Lighting for the Camera FMI305 Production Design FMI306 Experimental Cinema FMI401 Senior Project Pre-Production FMI402 Senior Project Production

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