Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

FTVM Honors Program Cohorts

Meet the 2018-2019 Honors Cohort

Phoebe Hopp 

Primary Advisor, Jim Burnstein; Secondary Advisor, Hugh Cohen

Phoebe Hopp is a native of the SF Bay Area, where she visited the mission where that scene in Hitchcock’s Vertigo was shot on a 4th-grade field trip. She didn’t realize she wanted to make movies until she wrote and assistant-directed a painfully pretentious short in high school (black and white was involved) under the supervision of a UM alum. She’s spent the past two summers in LA with development internships at Fabrik Entertainment, Gorilla Flicks, Beacon Pictures, and Red Wagon Entertainment, where she covered scripts and did research for the writers of upcoming projects. When not writing, Phoebe plays ultimate frisbee and makes comedic shorts with her friends for UM’s Black Sheep.

Her honors thesis screenplay Coyote examines modern gender dynamics through the lens of 1840s California. When the right hand woman of the most notorious man in the West is separated from her posse, she’s quickly taken into custody by a jaded, small-town sheriff that has no idea who she is. Inspired by and in reaction to #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Coyote repurposes a historically misogynistic genre to explore what a relationship between a young woman and an older man in power could be.

Andrew Howell

Primary Advisor, David Marek; Secondary Advisor, Hugh Cohen

Andrew Howell is a writer/Director from Ypsilanti Michigan, currently attending the University of Michigan. Andrew works mostly in dramatic narrative, his most recent projects being Socks! and All the Way Down Main. Previous experience includes working as a digital storyteller for Verizon Digital Promise and designing projections for live theater performances in southeast Michigan.


His honors project Walk Off is a dramatic narrative short film with an anticipated runtime of 25-30 minutes. Walk Off explores the relationship between a high school baseball star and his sports crazed father.

Joseph Wagner 

Primary Advisor, Matthew Solomon; Secondary Advisor, Chris McNamara

Joe Wagner
is an undergraduate dual degree student in the Ross School of Business and an Honors candidate in the Department of Film, Television, and Media. Through both written and visual work, his integrated thesis explores Dziga Vertov’s pioneering work, Man with a Movie Camera, as a precursor or prototype of social media.


Joe has had a variety of entertainment and business experiences. He was a production assistant at Shoot The Moon Productions where he worked on Basketball: A Love Story, a 10 part, 20 hour documentary series that will premiere on ESPN October 9, 2018 On the business side, he interned as a Financial Analyst for Gun Lake Investments, the economic development company of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan. Prior to this experience, he worked at Valhalla Capital as an Equity Analyst. When not working on his thesis, Joe enjoys working on set with M-agination, DJing at WCBNFM Ann Arbor, and hanging out with his friends.

Maxim Vinogradov

Primary Advisor, Jim Burnstein; Secondary Advisor, Yasmin Moll

Maxim Vinogradov is a Michigan native and Detroit-based playwright. Two of his plays have been produced professionally in Ann Arbor and Ferndale, both receiving Hopwoods and one earning multiple Wilde Awards and a NAPAT from The Kennedy Center. He’s always been a big fan of movies and wants to explore how to use low budgets and simple concepts not as obstacles but as tools to ensure creativity. He would describe his writing as focusing on flamboyant ghosts.

His honors thesis screenplay, 1927, focuses on a journey to find a girl who’s run off to join a cult. Along the way, the girl’s sister and her friend discuss general religious ramifications, and upon finding the cult, they discover that it’s more authentic than the pair assumed. The story is about how people tend to go where people have already been, and whether or not comfort in an uncomfortable time needs to be defended.