Tina Chapman DaCosta has been called a “renaissance woman.” As a filmmaker, community building educator, and former IT professional, Tina’s unique set of skills enables effective cross discipline and business unit collaborations to create and implement engaging experiences that bring people together.
Following a rewarding career as an IT professor, Tina attended the School of Film and Animation (SOFA) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to further develop her love of story, writing, directing, and acting. Tina’s student film Remembering The Pythodd, a documentary about Rochester’s legendary 1950’s - 60’s jazz club, was selected by RIT for its “Women of SOFA” showcase at the High Falls Film Festival 2013.
After graduating in 2015 with an MFA in film and animation, concentration in scriptwriting, Tina founded the Diversity Theater program at RIT and became its director. Diversity Theater is a college wide program for RIT’s, 23,000 faculty, staff and students from over 100 nations that uses film and theater to advance community building within the Division for Diversity and Inclusion. https://www.rit.edu/diversity/diversitytheater
Tina began producing short films based on her MFA thesis feature length script “Brick by Brick” in partnership with Diversity Theater. “Brick by Brick” is the story of Tina’s father, Elza “Buddy” Cannaday, Cleveland’s first African American licensed contractor, and his magnanimous life from homelessness during the 1930’s Great Depression era to building homes for others through the 1970’s.
Tina has written, directed, and produced two short films in the series:
• Brick by Brick - a young brick mason comes to Cleveland to reconnect with the father he thought he knew in 1941 Ohio. Brick by Brick won Best Short at the San Diego Black Film Festival 2020, selected for 14 film festivals before the COVID pandemic shutdown, and nominated for an Academy Award for Best USA Diaspora Short at the Africa Movie Academy Awards 2020. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/361673626
• Dear Eleanor – set in 1941, Buddy, an airplane mechanic from Ohio enrolls to serve his country as a Tuskegee Airman, but his beloved Eleanor must overcome her fears of racial violence in the South to take a chance on love. Eleanor’s cousin Toni, a true romantic who defies identity violence, shows her how. Dear Eleanor just finished postproduction in February 2023 and is being entered into film festivals.
The films and the Community Building Film and Workshop Tina developed with the films are experienced by all RIT new freshmen (3,100 annually) as part of their introduction to diversity and community building education. The workshops are also strategic offerings for advancing community building for all RIT students, faculty, staff, trustees, and community members.
Tina’s degrees include an MFA in Film & Animation, RIT College of Arts and Design; MS in Engineering, RIT College of Engineering; and BS in Mathematics, minor in Computer Science, The College at Brockport, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.
Tina is married to Jose DaCosta and deeply grateful for their blended family of eleven children and grandchildren.