lewisctiupui [dot] edu
Thomas received his MFA in film from CalArts in 1993, where he studied with filmmakers James Benning, Thom Andersen, and Betzy Bromberg. He subsequently worked professionally in video and film production in Los Angeles for sixteen years. From 2001 to 2009, Thomas produced DVD bonus materials for the Harry Potter film series among other major motion pictures. In 2005, Thomas was the cinematographer for the motion picture Viva (Dir. Ann Biller) and he completed Through Corridors and Factories, a short film about post-colonialism in Hawaii that screened in festivals around the world. Other earlier works include Got Land (2008), a film about time, space and development in the American west, and Of Fire and Water (2009), a narrative film set in a dystopic future.
In 2015, Thomas was awarded an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant and a grant from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute for his project, “Participatory Filmmaking to Confront HIV Stigma”. In the summer of 2015, he traveled to Kenya to shoot a series of short narrative films. For these films, he designed a participatory filmmaking model bringing together many stakeholders, including patients, clinicians, counselors, students, and professors in the US and Kenya, to determine many aspects of the films and contribute to their creation. These films have screened at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and the Africa International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. They are available at hiv-films.org along with films he made in Kenya in 2013. AMPATH’s network of clinics throughout western Kenya uses Thomas’s films in counseling and community outreach efforts.
Prior to his recent filmmaking in Kenya, Thomas created two ambitious video exhibitions in Indianapolis, Better or Worse? (2012) and From Now On (2013), which used new video-mapping technology to create immersive multi-projector gallery installations.
In 2013, Thomas was a co-founder of the non-profit Word on the Street Inc., creator of The Cool Bus, which upcycles books to young readers in underserved communities of Indianapolis.