Founders of Catharsis
Originally from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, Barbara Nicolosi is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of Act One, Inc., a nonprofit program to train and mentor Christians for careers as Hollywood writers and executives. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the new Galileo Studio at Azusa Pacific University, an on-line think tank that utilizes 3D video technology.
Barbara is a member of the Writers Guild of America-West and has written screenplays for several Hollywood production companies. Her most recent credit is as a co-writer with Benedict Fitzgerald on the 2013 Lionsgate release, Mary, Mother of the Christ. She also completed Polosuasion, a contemporary resetting of Jane Austen’s Persuasion for IMMI Pictures of Beverly Hills. She wrote Fatima: Message and Miracle about the events that that took place in Fatima, Portugal in 1917, for Origin Entertainment of Manhattan Beach, CA, and is currently working on Theotokos, a story of the early Church for Panaghia Productions of Marseilles, France. Barbara also Executive Produced the 2010 Origin Entertainment 3D documentary Cosmic Origins, a broadcast standard hour-length documentary about the beginning of the universe.
Barbara has a Masters in Film and Television from Northwestern University, and a B.A. from the Great Books program at Magdalen College in Warner, NH. She has done further studies in documentary production and animation at UCLA. She has been a script analyst, production company executive, and consultant on scores of entertainment projects including the features The Passion of the Christ and That Evening Sun, and TV shows Joan of Arcadia (CBS) and Saving Grace (TNT).
A highly experienced public speaker on art, culture, media and spirituality, Barbara has delivered hundreds of addresses at universities, conferences and assemblies all over the world. Most notably, she was a featured speaker at a Vatican conference on media in 2001 and gave the keynote address at the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars National Conference in 2002.
Barbara has been a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and a reader for the Humanitas Prize which has been called the Pulitzer of screenwriting. For ten years, she has been on the Blue Ribbon jury of the Angelus Awards Student Film Festival, which is the top student film competition in the world. Barbara has appeared as a cultural commentator on ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR and in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Premiere magazine, among many others. She has produced several award-winning plays at the Actors Co-op Theater in Hollywood, and is currently working on a play based on the life of the poet Emily Dickinson.
Barbara is an adjunct professor of cinema at Pepperdine University and Azusa Pacific University and is a guest lecturer at the Los Angeles Film Study Center, the Catholic University of Valencia, in Spain, and the Catholic University of Milan. She won Catholic Press Awards in 2001 and 2002 for her contributions to various Catholic magazines. She is the co-editor with Spencer Lewerenz of the Baker Books 2006 release, Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith and Culture. She has been a contributor to several other books including: the 2012 Our Sunday Visitor release, Style, Sex and Substance, the 2010 Baker Books release, For the Beauty of the Church, the 2001 Augustinian Press release, Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement, and Loyola Press’ The Best Catholic Writing of 2005.
Barbara has received several awards for her work in media and culture. In 2004, she was selected as the Lay Apostle of the Year by the Legatus International Association. She won the 2006 Spirit Award from the Windrider Forum at the Sundance Film Festival. Most recently, she received the Gravitas Award for Cultural Impact from the Diocese of Trenton for her work in media in the spirit of Blessed Pope John Paul the Second.
Barbara serves as a consultant to the Board of Directors of the Magis Institute, a non-profit to promote authentic Catholic culture and spirituality. She is also on the board of New Ethos, an effort to foster dialogue and cooperation between the Christian community and Hollywood. In conjunction with Family Theater in Hollywood, she teaches theology to converts to Christianity from the entertainment industry.
Read Barbara’s blog at Patheos.com
A California native, Vicki Peterson is a screenwriter and founding partner of Catharsis, which offers script consulting, event speaking, and development and writing services for multiple production companies.
Vicki’s most recent writing projects include a television pilot, Alum Rock Ave, based on her hometown in East San Jose, which is in development at Cortez Brothers. She is also developing a feature called Mother at War, based on the inspirational true story of Mary Ann Bickerdyke with producer Ken Stewart. Her script, Jesus Stole My Boyfriend, was recently a finalist at the Broad Humor Film Festival, and her former projects include features, TV specs, and rewrites for smaller production companies.
Vicki is formerly the director of both the Writing for Film and Television Program and Producing and Entertainment Executive Program at Act One, Inc., which was founded by her business partner, Barbara Nicolosi. Vicki managed over 150 faculty who are top writers and producers in the entertainment industry. She also mentored and supported a community of over 700 alumni, many of whom have gone on to very successful careers in the industry.
Before that, Vicki was a development executive at Origin Entertainment and Hero Pictures, and also worked at the management company, Industry Entertainment. Vicki got her start in theatre, working at the Tony award –winning La Jolla Playhouse on several pre-Broadway productions, where she was able to glean wisdom from many top directors, such as Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Tommy, How to Suceed…) Michael Grief (Rent) and Julie Taymor (The Lion King).
Vicki earned several state-level awards as both a teacher and theatre director at San Dieguito Academy in San Diego, including The Crystal Apple Teacher of the Year Award, multiple Southern California Educational Theatre Association awards, and an Old Globe Theatre award. Vicki’s degree is in Theatre from University of California, San Diego, and also earned a California Teaching Credential. She is an alumna of Act One’s Writing and Executive programs, where she was named alumna of the year in 2007.