Title: Associate Professor
Office: Emery Hall
Kristyn Jo Benedyk is a writer, director and producer. As writer/director, her breast cancer awareness comedy Flat Chested, starring Alicia Witt and Luke Perry, recently finished a large national festival receiving nominations for Best Short Film, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Writing. She has two short films as writer/director in post-production: Buttercream and an homage to Pillow Talk, set in the today’s text messaging era and shot entirely in split-screen.
As producer, the innovative live-action stop-motion film Speed Dating, written and directed by Emmy-winning animator Meghann Artes has played in dozens of festivals and won multiple awards all over the world. She also recently produced two short films, Gamiconocron (about female gamers) and Blue Dawn (a 14 minute, single-shot film, shot with an Arri Alexa XT on a steadicam), both of which will head to the festival circuit later this year.
Originally from Chicago, Benedyk attended the University of Iowa where she earned a B.A. in Education with honors and a B.A. in English with honors. She holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Arizona State University and is a published and produced playwright; her play Stolen Children was produced in 2005. Benedyk also holds an M.F.A. in Writing for Film and Television from the University of Southern California, where she attended the program through the U.S. Department of Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship; she wrote and directed numerous short films during her time in Los Angeles as well as worked in story development at the management company, FUSE.
Benedyk has been teaching in higher education for 15 years, creating numerous courses, certificates, minors, undergraduate degrees and graduate programs along the way. She taught at Arizona State University, Webster University in St. Louis, DePaul University in Chicago and was the chair of DePaul's screenwriting program until she left in 2015 to join the UC team. She now helps lead the creation, development and growth of the university's cluster initiative on digital media, bringing faculty and students together from multiple colleges to create new interdisciplinary opportunities and curriculum.
Through all the moves and all the states, she remains a die hard Cubs fan (and it finally paid off)!