Nate Thomas

Nate Thomas
Professor, Film Production Option Head
Office location:
MZ 320


Nate Thomas has directed and/or produced numerous film projects including award-winning PBS documentaries, television commercials, public service ads, feature films, etc. He spent in-flight and ground travel time with 1988 presidential candidate Jesse Jackson directing and producing for the campaign Under The Rainbow, a promotional film narrated by the late radio legend Casey Kasem. In addition, he produced several of Jackson’s television commercials. 

In Hawaii, Nate line-produced a 70mm IMAXfilm presentation for Japan’s Expo ‘89. He also produced and directed a series of award-winning anti-alcohol television public service ads for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. In 2009 he directed and produced Family Dinner, a gripping 30 second cyber predator public service ad for television sponsored by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice. For his efforts Thomas received a commendation from then FBI Director Robert Mueller. In 2013 the FBI released a series of television and radio public service ads produced and directed by Thomas highlighting the devastating effects of intellectual property theft and cyber bullying. The television version of these ads garnered him an Emmy Award in 2014. Thomas also produced a featurette and electronic press kit for Universal Pictures’ Ghost Dad starring Bill Cosby, and the nationally televised PBS film The Last of the One Night Stands. This film, on the big band era, won numerous awards including a CINE Golden Eagle, a Focus Award, honors at the San Francisco International Film Festival and an award from the Black American Cinema Society. It was given special screenings at the 15th annual Wellington Film Festival in New Zealand and the Smithsonian Institution where it is contained in the film archives.

Nate, a Warren, Ohio native, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Using a graduate fellowship from Warner Brothers, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Cinema Production from the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. He is also listed in Who’s Who Among African Americans and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Television Academy. Mr. Thomas is a tenured Professor of Cinema and Television Arts and head of the film production program at California State University, Northridge where in 1998 he was honored as the Outstanding Professorin creative activity.

Mr. Thomas won a Sony Innovator Award in recognition of his film work and  completed the independent  feature  film East  of  Hope  Street. He directed the urban drama which was co-written and co-produced with long time friend Tim Russ, of television’s StarTrek: Voyager fame. The film is a real-life story of a teenage Latina who comes of age while struggling to survive the abuses of home, the inner city, and an overburdened child protection system in a Los Angeles most of us never see. East of Hope Street won Best Feature Film at the 1998 New Orleans Urban Film Festival, Best Urban Drama at the 1998 New York International Independent FilmFestival, 1st Place, Cross Cultural at the 1998 Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Festivaland a Jury Award at the 1999 Hollywood Black Film Festival.It was also honored at the 8th Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards Show and was nominated for the prestigious Imagen Award (Spanish Image Awards).  East of Hope Streetis distributed by The Cinema Guild andhad a limited release in theaters in the Fall of 1999 and available on home video through Maverick Entertainment.

Thomas also directed the independent feature film Stompin’ starring Sinbad and Vanessa Bell Calloway. The film has been released on pay-per-view and DVD by Warner Home Video. 

Thomas has been featured in a variety of newspaper articles including the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News. He has also been featured on E! Entertainment Television, Starz Movie News, and various other television outlets.  More recently he has been a guest film lecturer in China at Shanghai University, Nanjing University of the Arts and Nanjing University of Science and Technology.