Yellow Springs and The Arts

A sampling of people in the arts that came from or through Yellow Springs, Ohio

This is a work in progress. This is not intended to be a complete listing, but a reasonable representation of major contributors to the arts community who were also residents of the town. Please email any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at

The Yellow Springs FILM, TV & VIDEO: [back to main index] The Yellow Springs


Rod Serling (writer of teleplays & films, Antioch alumnus)

Rod Serling

Photo courtesy of
rodserling.com
Rod Serling, one of television's most prolific writers, is best known for his science fiction television series, The Twilight Zone. He believed that the role of the writer was to "menace the public conscience." Throughout his life Serling used radio, television, and film as "vehicles of social criticism."

Serling enrolled under the G.I. Bill of Rights at Antioch College. In the late 1940s Antioch was famous for loose social rules and a unique work-study curriculum. Serling was stimulated by the liberal intellectual environment and began to feel "the need to write, a kind of compulsion to get some of my thoughts down." He was also inspired by the words of Unitarian educator Horace Mann, first president of Antioch College, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." Serling would later feature these words and a rendition of Antioch's Horace Mann statue in the 1962 Twilight Zone episode, "Changing of the Guard." His first writings were short stories, mostly about the war. In "Transcript of the Legal Proceedings in the Case of the Universe Versus War" a heavenly trial was conducted with Euripedes as prosecutor, Julius Caesar as lawyer for the defense, God as judge, and a jury of twelve angels.

During his first year at Antioch, Serling met his future wife Carol Kramer. The liberal environment at Antioch, which had Unitarian connections going back nearly a century, helped Rod and Carol to shed their family religious traditions (Protestant and Jewish) and to accept Unitarianism as a convenient compromise.

Serling won Emmys for three early teleplays: Patterns, 1955; Requiem for a Heavyweight, 1956; and The Comedian, 1957. His message in Patterns was that "every human being has a minimum set of ethics from which he operates. When he refuses to compromise these ethics, his career must suffer, when he does compromise them, his conscience does the suffering." Serling wrote or adapted 99 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes. The series ran for five years and won him two Emmys.

In 1962, Serling accepted a year long teaching position at Antioch college. He felt that he needed to "regain my perspective, to do a little work and spend the rest of my time getting acquainted with my wife and children." At Antioch he taught writing, drama, and a survey course about the "social and historical implications of the media." A clippings archive of his letters to editors and published thoughts in newspapers exists in The Antiochiana Collection at Antioch College.

After saying, "television has left me tired and frustrated" Serling began to write more movie scripts. Seven Days in May, 1964, showed Serling's passion for nuclear disarmament and peace. He tackled racism and anthropocentrism in the movie adaptation of Pierre Boulle's The Planet of the Apes, 1968. At the same time Serling continued to write for television. The Loner, 1965-1966, and Night Gallery, 1970-1973, however, left Serling bitter. He had little creative control and said of Night Gallery, "It is not mine at all. It's another species of a formula series drama."

-- excerpts from an article by Beringia Zen
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Herb Gardner (playwright & director, Antioch alumnus)

A Thousand Clowns
The Herb Gardner play "A Thousand Clowns" (1962, starring Jason Robards, who also starred in the film version) was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play and Mr. Gardner won the Variety Critics Poll as Outstanding New Playwright that year. "I'm Not Rappaport" won the Outer Critics Award, the John Gassner Award and the Tony Award for Best Play. "Conversations with My Father" was the runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1992.

Herb Gardner's work often focuses on contemporary urban people trying to find equilibrium in a crazy world, Herb Gardner has enjoyed more success in the theater than in motion pictures. His first work, "A Thousand Clowns", about a TV writer who drops out to care for his nephew, proved successful on both Broadway (in 1962) and film (1965). For his seamless adaptation of his original comedy, Gardner earned an Academy Award nomination.

The Brooklyn native began his career as a commercial artist and also created and wrote a comic strip called "The Nebbishes" for eight years. Following the success of "A Thousand Clowns", Gardner wrote and directed "The Goodbye People," wrote the play, "Thieves" and was lyricist and book writer for the musical, "One Night Stand". His richer, autobiographical "Conversations With My Father" (1992) was also a Broadway success, fueled partly by Judd Hirsch's lead performance.

For the big screen, Gardner produced and wrote the cult hit "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971) with Dustin Hoffman. Gardner made his feature directorial debut with the screen version of "The Goodbye People" (1984). His film version of "I'm Not Rappaport" (1996) had leading performances from Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis.

-- excerpts courtesy of Powell's Books and Hollywood.com
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Richard Kaplan (documentary film and television writer, director, producer, Antioch alumnus)

A Thousand Clowns
Richard Kaplan has a distinguished record as a documentary film and television writer, director, and producer, both in the United States and abroad. His work has won considerable acclaim and critical recognition, including two Academy Awards. He is also the recipient of an Emmy Award for Ňoutstanding historical and cultural programming."

In addition to his many documentaries, made in the course of a career that has spanned almost 60 years, Kaplan's film work has encompassed the detailed planning and development of theatrical feature films. While unproduced (due to lack of funding) they represent a significant body of work that. He has been responsible for pre-production, and in some cases scripting, of the following: Audubon. The Life Of The Painter And Naturalist; Battle Of The Bulge...The True Story Of This Crucial WW II Battle; The World's Delight ...An Original Script By Robert Graves; Alberta... based On The Novel By Swedish author Cora Sandel; Surrender On Demand....A Fact Based Drama About The Rescue Work Of Varian Fry; Mboya ....A Bio Pic Centered Around The Life Of The Assassinated Kenyan Leader Tom Mboya; The Nansen Project... A Huge Historical Drama about The Many Faceted Career Of Fritjof Nansen.

-- excerpt courtesy of Richard Kaplan Productions
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John Korty (director, screenwriter, cinematographer, Antioch alumnus)

John Korty
An amateur filmmaker from the age of 16, John Korty went professional after receiving a Liberal arts education at Antioch College. After designing and directing animated TV commercials, Korty was nominated for an Oscar for his 1964 short subject Breaking the Habit. He was critically garlanded for his first feature, Crazy Quilt (1965), an ultracheap character study shot silent (it was post-dubbed, with narration by Burgess Meredith and music by Peter "PDQ Bach" Schickele) and in black and white. In comparison, his next effort, the low-budget Funnyman (1967), was a Cecil B. DeMille epic; this largely improvisational effort is distinguished by the presence of the comedy troupe The Committee (including Peter Bonerz) and by Korty's animated vignettes. His subsequent films (Riverrun, Alex and the Gypsy with Jack Lemmon, James Woods and Genevieve Bujold) were more mainstream in nature, though they still could not be considered conformist.

On television, Korty has been one of the busiest and most successful laborers in the field of made-for-TV movies: Go Ask Alice, The Silence, Class of 63, Farewell to Manzanar (on the Japanese American internment camps, which was selected for the Humanitas Award), Ewok Adventure and many others. John Korty won an Emmy for his direction of Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) with Cicely Tyson as an ex-slave recounting 110 years of American history, and, in an unusual move, was honored with an Emmy and an Oscar for Who Are the Debolts--and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (1978) the first film to win both an Oscar and an Emmy. Critic Pauline Kael called it "perhaps the finest film made for American television."

Other feature films he directed include Oliver's Story with Candice Bergen and Ryan O'Neal, Twice Upon A Time, a satirical animated feature and Caravans Of Courage, the first Ewok film produced by George Lucas, which was released as a feature abroad. His other films for television include Resting Place, a Hallmark special, featuring John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman; Line Of Fire, on Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center; Long Road Home on migrant labor in the 1930s; They, inspired by a Rudyard Kipling story, starring Vanessa Redgrave; (Getting Out, based on the play by Marsha Norman with Rebecca deMornay and Ellen Burstyn and Redwood Curtain, a Hallmark presentation based on the play by Lanford Wilson and starring Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow.

His recent directing assignments were Ms. Scrooge, with Cicely Tyson for USA Network; Oklahoma City; A Survivor's Story with Kathy Baker for LifeTime cable and Gift Of Love: The Daniel Huffman Story, starring Debbie Reynolds for Showtime. Last year, Sydney Pollack picked a script of his, The Doctor Of Desire (based on a book of the same title by Allen Wheelis), to be his premiere film for HBO. John Korty is now rewriting the screenplay for production in 2003 with Lindsay Doran as producer.

-- biographical info courtesy of Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide, and John Korty
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Victor Nuñez (director, screenplay writer, editor, teacher, Antioch alumnus)

Victor Nuñez

Photo courtesy of
Gennadi Balitski
While blockbuster, special-effects laden movies continue to capture the headlines, Victor Nuñez believes there is a place for character-driven independent films.

"Every three or four years the critics try to make a case for a revival of independent features," says Nuñez. "The truth is there will always be people who want to make independent movies and succeed. It's not a trend. It happens one film at a time."

Born in 1945, Victor Nuñez studied at Antioch College, later receiving a diploma from UCLA. He worked as a director, screenplay writer, cameraman and editor on a number of educational and industrial films as well as taught filmmaking at Florida State University. In 1975, he decided to devote his energies entirely to filmmaking. He made four shorts from 1968 - 1976 : "Fairground", "Taking Care of Mother Baldwin", "Charly Benson's Return to the Sea" and "A Circle in the Fire". In 1979, he made his first feature film "Gal Young Un", but was not acclaimed by the critics until "Ruby in Paradise in 1992. "Ulee's Gold is his fourth feature film.

Victor Nuñez creates high-quality, memorable portraits of life in his native Northern Florida. Among mainstream filmgoers, Nuñez is best known for directing Ulee's Gold, a potent relationship drama in which Peter Fonda gives his finest performance since Easy Rider (1969). Fonda received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award for his performance. A founding member of the Independent Feature Project board, Nuñez holds degrees in film and film production from Antioch College and U.C.L.A. After obtaining his master's degree from the latter school, he gained experience making short educational and industrial films. He also made three fictional short films. In 1979, he made his feature film debut with Gal Young Un; set in 1920s Florida, it was the tale of a miserable but wealthy farm widow, her new, younger spouse, and his girlfriend. That year, it was designated Best First Feature at the Chicago Film Festival and was a co-recipient of the USA/Park City Film Festival Best Feature Award. Nuñez's sophomore film, A Flash of Green, was based on a novel by John D. MacDonald and, unlike his first film, featured a bigger budget and a name cast that included Ed Harris, Richard Jordan, and Blair Brown. Set in a small, Florida seaside town, the story followed a reporter's investigation of a fishy landfill deal. His third film, Ruby in Paradise, was Ashley Judd's feature debut and chronicled a young Florida woman's attempt to overcome personal and financial adversity. The film (like his other two) was chosen for screening at the Cannes Film Festival Directors Fortnight. It also played at the New York Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Nuñez is a founding member and serves on the boards of the Independent Feature Project and the Sundance Film Institute. Between 1983 and 1986, he served on the selection panels of the NEA, CPB, and the Florida Fine Arts Council. awards: Best Film (win) "Gal Young 'Un" 1981 US Film Festival (through 1989) In Competition: "Documentary A Flash of Green" 1985 US Film Festival (through 1989) Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic (win) "Ruby in Paradise" 1993 Sundance

-- biographical info courtesy of Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide, and Gennadi Balitski
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Julia Reichert (Film Producer, Screenwriter, YSO resident)

Julia Reichert

Photo courtesy of
Women of Vision
Julia Reichert is an Academy-Award nominated filmmaker who has made a great many documentaries since the late 1960s so that the stories of average people become part of history. Her films allow under-represented people and communities to tell their own stories in their own words because it can be argued that actions become history only when they are told, documented, and then screened, especially on film or TV.

Julia Reichert is one of the god mothers of the American Independent Film movement. As a founding member of the Film Fund, she helped give rise to the Independent Feature Project. As co-founder of New Day films, she pioneered self distribution for independent filmmakers, and wrote the first book on the subject, "Doing It Yourself." She and partner Jim Klein were nominated for two Academy Awards for best feature documentary, for their films "Union Maids" and "Seeing Red." All four of her feature documentaries have aired on national PBS. Reichert is a proponent of regional filmmaking, working for two decades to develop Midwestern filmmaking. She completed her first dramatic feature, "Emma & Elvis," in 1992, and is currently one year into production on a major documentary about kids fighting cancer, their families, doctors and nurses, entitled "A Lion In The House."

"A Lion in the House" by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert of Yellow Springs shared a Primetime Emmy recently for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking with Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts." "A Lion in the House" is a four-hour documentary that follows five Ohio families with children battling cancer. "We know the film is a scary subject," Bognar said. "This award will help get the film out there."

Julia Reichert's other films include: "Growing Up Female," "Methadone: An American Way of Dealing," and "Men's Lives." She is also the producer of the feature film "The Dream Catcher," by Ed Radtke, and the short, "Gravel," by partner Steven Bognar. Reichert is a Rockefeller and Fulbright Fellow.

-- biographical info courtesy of Alexandra Juhasz, Women of Vision (with permission), and Redeemable Features
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Gerald Feil (Filmmaker and teacher, Antioch faculty)

Gerald Feil's major feature credits include Lord of the Flies and the Rolling Stones' Let's Spend the Night Together. Feil has received numerous honors and awards including Berlin, U.S., and Cannes Film Festival prizes, and an Emmy® Award. He has produced, directed and/or photographed more than a dozen primetime network documentaries including ABC Africa. Feil was instrumental in developing the new generation of 3-D camera systems used by Paramount Pictures, and was the first technical director of the Time-Life Filmmakers Group.

Other films include: "He Knows You're Alone," "Friday the 13th - Part 3," "Silent Madness," and "Savage Dawn."

-- biographical info courtesy of Antioch University
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Steven Bognar (Filmmaker and teacher, Antioch faculty)

Steven Bognar

Photo courtesy of
Ohio Arts Council
Steven Bognar has completed six films since 1986, many of which focus on regional identity, the Midwestern landscape, and the significance of photographic images. His films include Picture Day (2000), Personal Belongings (1996) and Welcome to Censornati (1990). Bognar's work has been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the DoubleTake Documentary Festival, South by Southwest, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and has aired on PBS, the Independent Film Channel and Deep Dish Television. He is a contributor to Independent Film and Video Monthly and has taught at Antioch College and in Ohio public schools.

Steven Bognar spent eight years making his first film, PERSONAL BELONGINGS. An intimate documentary about his father, the film debuted at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. PERSONAL BELONGINGS went on to play at South by Southwest , the inaugural Gen Art Film Festival, and to air nationally on the PBS documentary series P.O.V. The film won the Audience Award for best film at the 1996 Atlanta Film and Video Festival, a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Best First Film at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and has aired on national television in France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Taiwan, Quebec and Estonia. Bognar has written for indieWIRE and The Independent, and is currently completing a feature script he plans to shoot next year.

-- biographical info used with permission from Creative Capital Foundation and Big Beef Productions. See also the recent article in the Yellow Springs News about the Bognar film, GRAVEL
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Jim Klein (Documentary filmmaker, Antioch alumnus)

Jim Klein

Photo courtesy of
New Day Films
Jim Klein has been an independent filmmaker since 1969. He has been active in the American independent film community ever since. Along with his partner, Julia Reichert, he made the first documentary about women from a feminist perspective, Growing Up Female; one of the first oral history films, the Oscar-nominated Union Maids; the first film to challenge government policies on heroin addiction, Methadone: An American Way Of Dealing; and the first documentary film on American Communists, Seeing Red, which brought their second Academy Award nomination. His first solo film, Letter to the Next Generation, was released in May 1990 and premiered on the PBS series, P.O.V. Jim has just completed a new work, Taken For a Ride, co-made with Martha Olson. A look at General Motors' role, over a fifty year span, in destroying public transportation and pushing freeways into the very center of cities, the film premiered on PBS.

Klein teaches film and video production at Wright State in Yellow Springs, Ohio and is the co-founder of New Day Films, a grassroots distributor of social issue films.

-- biographical info courtesy of New Day Films (with permission)
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Ed Radtke (Filmmaker, Antioch faculty)

Ed Radtke

Photo courtesy of
Emerging Pictures
Ed Radtke was educated in Ohio public schools and attended NYU's Film Program, graduating with honors in 1985. He's made two independent feature films, the award-winning BOTTOM LAND and most recently THE DREAM CATCHER. THE DREAM CATCHER screened at more than 24 international film festivals and garnered an impressive 11 awards. Amy Taubin of The Village Voice called him "a highly talented filmmaker" after the film recently played Lincoln Center in New York City. It is slated to open in select U.S. theaters Spring of 2002. The film has also been released in France, Germany, Spain, Australia and other territories.

Ed Radtke has years of practical filmmaking experience, having served as an editor, assistant director, co-producer and line producer on various projects including: independent features, documentaries, TV movies, ITVS funded dramas, commercials and music videos. He has taught filmmaking at the college level, worked extensively with at-risk youth, taught media making to developmentally challenged adults and to prisoners. He is the recipient of two NEA production grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation Media Fellowship.

Radtke recently co-wrote the feature script HONOR THY FATHER, produced by Gerard Depardieu and starring Depardieu and his real life son, Guillame and won the Venice Film Festival's inaugural Queer Lion award, honoring a full-length film with a gay theme or character, for "The Speed of Life." The film follows a New York City youth who steals video cameras and downloads the footage.

Ed is currently living in Los Angeles, where he is writing the feature project SUPERHEROES, for which he received the Rockefeller Fellowship this year.

-- biographical info courtesy of Emerging Pictures (with permission)
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Whitney Leblanc (director, producer, writer, stained glass artist, former Antioch faculty)

Whitney Leblanc
In his own words: "I have a Masters degree in Theatre Production from the University of Iowa. I have taught theatre courses at Antioch College, Howard University, Lincoln University, Towson University the University of Texas and Pacific Union College. It was during my teaching years that I assembled my theatre design portfolio of 80 productions, including designs for the New York production of Ceremonies In Dark Old Men.

"Although directing was the focus of my activity, I liked to design and direct. Included in the many productions in which I wore both hats are; A Streetcar Named Desire, A Raisin In The Sun, Zooman And The Sign, Funnyhouse Of A Negro, and The Glass Menagerie. I received a " Best Director Award" from Drama-Logue for the production of A Raisin In The Sun in San Francisco; and I received the Critics Circle award for Outstanding Design of Funnyhouse Of A Negro, at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco. Dreams Deferred, a play that I wrote, directed and designed, had its premiere production in Los Angeles.

"At the Maryland Center For Public Broadcasting, I was the one and only director for 105 episodes of the nationally aired series OUR STREET. As a Producer, I also wrote for the series and received the Ohio State Award. I directed the acclaimed and controversial TV Special, HOLIDAYS: HALLOW DAYS--about prisoners, by prisoners and rehearsed in prison. Not only did this Npact Special get national airing, but it also received the American Film Festival Award.

"From PBS I went to Hollywood where I joined Norman Lear's staff as Associate Producer of GOOD TIMES. I also worked on the DINAH SHOW, JIM NABORS SHOW, and the REDD FOXX VARIETY HOUR. As producer/director of UP AND COMING, in San Francisco, I completed 52 half-hour episodes. As a member of the Directors Guild, my directing credits were seen on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, GENERATIONS, BENSON, 227, THE ROBERT GUILLAUME SHOW, ME AND MRS C and MARBLEHEAD MANOR.

"Most of my writing was done in Hollywood. I have written teleplays, film-scripts, treatments for series and a "bible" for a continuing drama. Now retired to the Napa Valley from the active life of a director in Hollywood, I have published my novel of fiction, BLUES IN THE WIND. My autobiography, ONE STEP FORWARD, TOO BLACK is completed but unpublished and I am working on my third manuscript PORTRAITS.

"I remember distinctly what I told Bob Metcalf one day: that I liked stained glass so much, 'I will do this when I retire.' This has come to pass. That comment was made in 1960. I had fun with Bob and he taught me everything I know about stained glass techniques. Since then I have been to other workshops and classes and I was introduced to Tiffany copper foil techniques, but all of my basics came from Bob. He was a great guy and I loved him. I can still hear his laugh which was infectious and genuine."

Ted Shine, Ph.D, writes: "Blues in the Wind is an engrossing, riveting work peopled with vivid, colorful characters that capture the racial, religious, social and political attitudes of Louisiana, and indeed the South, from its segregated past to the Civil Rights Movement. This novel is a learning experience filled with historical facts neatly incorporated into LeBlanc's story. It is a needed and welcome addition to American literature."

-- bio and picture courtesy of Whitney Leblanc

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Jay Tuck (TV producer, reporter, voiceover talent, filmmaker, Antioch alumnus)

Jay Tuck
Jay Tuck got into filmmaking as a student at Antioch, including his short film, "The Date," which also gave Julia Reichert & Jim Klein their first film experience. Jay headed to Europe in 1969, where he had a long career in network televsion at Germany's largest broadcaster ARD German Television. More recently, he was Executive News Editor of the daily network television news magazine ARD - Tagesthemen and did a lot of investigative reporting and two stints as television war correspondent in both Iraq wars.

Now retired from ARD, he has my own television company in Dubai, Airtime Dubai Ltd.which produces a 30-minute high-tech news magazine broadcast weekly on Al-Jazeera News Channel (the first non-Arab company ever to produce programming for Al-Jazeera).

-- bio and picture courtesy of Jay Tuck

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Special thanks to: Nicholas Q Dewey, Rebecca Eschliman, Tony Dallas, The Yellow Springs News, Scott Sanders and Antiochiana

For an overview of Yellow Springs Ohio history from 1803 to 2003, see the Yellow Springs News.

For info on the YSO Bicentennial (July 4, 2003) and YSO background info, see The Yellow Springs Historical Society.

Please email any corrections, updates, additions, or suggestions to Tim Eschliman at


-- Page last updated April 20 2013