Emerson College – Boston, MA                                                                          

M.F.A. Writing for Film & Television                                                                                   


Grand Valley State University – Allendale, MI                                                             

B.S. Film & Video Production   


Alpena Community College - Alpena, MI

A.A. w/journalism focus                                                                                                                 





Visiting Professor

Grand Valley State University – Dept. of Visual Media Arts                                                2018 – present


Professor of Practice                                                                         

Michigan State University – Dept. of Media & Information                                                2017 – 2018


Artist in Residence

Michigan State University – Dept. of Media & Information                                                Spring 2016         


Part-Time Faculty                                                                                        

Grand Valley State University – School of Communications                                               2015 – 2017






CAS 112           Story, Sound, and Motion

FLM 435           Creating the Fiction Film capstone

MI 490              Independent Study: Feature Film Pre-production

CAS 492           Special Topics: Independent Feature Filmmaking



FVP 261            Scriptwriting I

FVP 362            Scriptwriting II

FVP 225            Film Culture

FVP 321            Fiction Filmmaking I

FVP 421            Fiction Filmmaking II

FVP 429            Post-Production Practicum

FVP 498            Senior Thesis/Projects





2020      Retrospective - Texas Theatre, Dallas

              Retrospective - Lund Fantastic Film Festival

              GVSU Student Life “Outstanding Faculty Member," Nominee

              University of Pittsburgh George Romero Archive – invited contributor

2019      Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Permanent Collection, Relaxer screenplay

              Spotlight Series: Joel Potrykus – Metro Cinema, Alberta, Canada

              New York Times Critic’s Pick, Relaxer

              Kanopy Career Spotlight, sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Library

2018      Best Feature Film, Relaxer– Virginia Film Festival

              Cheval Noir Award, Relaxer –  Fantasia Film Festival

2017      Retrospective – Black Canvas Film Festival, Mexico City 

              Best Filmmaker, Revue Magazine’s “Best of the West”

2016      “U.S. in Progress” Post-Production Grant, American Film Festival (Poland), The Alchemist Cookbook

              Retrospective – Festival de Valdivia, Chile

              Best Feature Film, The Alchemist Cookbook – Made-in-Michigan Film Festival

              Best Actor, Ty Hickson, The Alchemist Cookbook – Middlecoast Film Festival

              Best Filmmaker, Revue Magazine’s “Best of the West” 

2015      Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Permanent Collection, Buzzardscreenplay

              New York Times Critic’s Pick, Buzzard

              Films en cours Post-Production Grant, The Alchemist Cookbook – Belfort Entrevues Film Festival, France

              Retrospective – Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

              La Casa del Cine Prize – Americana Film Festival, Spain, Buzzard

              NPR’s Filmspotting Golden Brick Award Nominee, Buzzard

              Rotten Tomatoes “Certified Fresh”, Buzzard         

              Best Feature Film, Buzzard – Made-in-Michigan Film Festival

2014      FIPRESCI Prize, Buzzard – Ljubljana Int’l Film Festival, Slovenia

              Special Mention Junior Jury Prize, Buzzard – Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland

              IndieMod Award, Buzzard

              Original Vision Award, Buzzard – Nashville Film Festival

              Best Feature Film, Buzzard – Lausanne Film Festival, Switzerland

2013      Best Director, Ape – Drugoe Kino Festival, Moscow

              New York Times Critic’s Pick, Ape

2012      Best Emerging Director, Ape – Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland

              Jury Prize, Ape – Locarno Film Festival

              Programmer’s Choice Award, Ape – Virginia Film Festival

2010      Audience Award, Coyote – Mitten Movie Project, Michigan





2020      Directing Workshop - Michigan State University

              Short Film Competition Juror - Black Canvas Contemporary Film Festival, Mexico City, Mexico

              Low Budget Filmmaking Seminar - The New School, New York, NY

              Grand Rapids Film Festival - Spotlight Guest

              Seminar and Film Screening, Buzzard, Wesleyan University, CT

              Directing Presentation – Flashpoint Chicago

2019      Keynote Panelist – Break it Down, Make it Better Conference, Grand Rapids, MI

              Eclipse Awards Jury Member, MI

              Seminar and Film Screening, The Alchemist Cookbook, Wesleyan University, CT

2018      Regional Filmmaking lecture, Univ. of Arkansas

              “10 Mistakes of the Student Film” presentation, Traverse City Film Festival, MI

              Masterclass – Black Canvas Film Festival, Directing, Mexico City

              Guerilla Filmmaking seminar, UICA, MI

              Spotlight Guest – Spooky Empire Convention, Orlando, FL

              Creative Writing Dept.’s Fall Featured Guest – Michigan State University

2017      Masterclass - Grad-level Screenwriting, Point Park University, PA

              Masterclass - Grad-level Directing, Point Park University, PA

              “Potrykus Midnight Series” Curator, Celebration Cinemas, MI

              Sarasota Film Festival Jury Member, FL    

              Seminar and Film Screening, Buzzard, Wesleyan University, CT

              Directing Actors Workshop, Northwestern University, IL

              Eclipse Awards Jury Member, MI

              Seminar and Film Screening, Buzzard, Alamo Drafthouse & Epic Center, MI

              Seminar and Film Screening, The Alchemist Cookbook, DePaul University, IL

              Featured guest, NPR’s “Filmspotting”, Chicago

2016      Seminar and Film Screening, Buzzard,Cinémathèque Française, Paris

              Eclipse Awards Jury Member, MI

              NxMW Film Festival Keynote Speaker, MI

              New York University Screening, NYU, curated by director Alex Ross Perry

              “Quit Whining and Start Writing” Screenwriting Seminar, MI

              Made-in-Michigan Film Festival Keynote Speaker & Panel Host, MI

              State of American Independent Film, Champs-Elysées Film Festival, Paris

              Independent Filmmaking Seminar, Wayne State University, MI

              “Fear & Loathing in Indie Filmmaking” Failure Lab Seminar w/Talib Kweli, SXSW

2015      Seminar, “75 Minutes with Joel Potrykus”, IFP Chicago

              Hell’s Half Mile Film Festival Jury Member, MI

              “Is Indie Dead?” Panel, Filmfest München, Germany

              “An Evening with Paul Schrader” discussion moderator, UICA MI

              Featured guest, NPR’s “Filmspotting”, Chicago

              “Fear & Loathing in Indie Filmmaking” Failure Lab Seminar, MI

2014      Directing Seminar, Cornell University, NY

              Directing Seminar, Columbia College, Chicago

              Independent Filmmaking Seminar, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Peru

              Screenwriting Seminar, West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, MI

              Masterclass - Directing, Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland

              “Acting while Directing” Panel w/Richard Brody of The New Yorker, Maryland Film Festival

              Public Discussion, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, NY

              Public Discussion, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY

2013      Masterclass – Guerilla Filmmaking, McGuffin Film School, Moscow

              Directors Panel, Cleveland Int’l Film Festival

              Seminar, Museum of the Moving Image, NY

              Thriller Chiller Film Festival Jury Member, MI

              Masterclass, Geneva University of Art & Design, Switzerland

              Berlinale Talents Invitee, Germany





2019 – present     GVSU Screenwriting Club, advisor

2016 – present     Grand Rapids Film Society,Founding Member

                              West Michigan Film Office, Board Member

2015 – present     Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), Film Event Host

2014 – 2016          Adobe Sponsorship




Relaxer   (2018)

writer, director, editor, producer

91 minutes

Theatrical release, distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories


Challenged by his bullying older brother, Abner is forced to sit on the couch until he beats an unbeatable record on Pac-Man with the impending doom of Y2K approaching. A survival story set in a living room, loosely based on Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel.


Selected Screenings:


SXSW Film Festival, Austin, TX                                                   Torino Film Festival, Italy                       

AFI Fest, Los Angeles                                                                  American Film Festival, Moscow

Traverse City Film Festival                                                           Sidewalk Film Festival, Alabama

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s                                                     Gijón Int’l Film Festival, Spain

BAMCinemaFest                                                                          Vancouver Int’l Film Festival, Canada

Fantasia Film Festival – Cheval Noir                                           Sidewalk Film Festival, Alabama

(main competition)                                                                       American Film Festival, Moscow

Melbourne Int’l Film Festival, Australia                                      Best of Fests, Dallas, TX

Music Box Theatre, Chicago                                                       CPH:PIX, Copenhagen

Cinetopia Int’l Film Festival, Ann Arbor, MI                               Transcinema Int’l Film Festival, Peru




The Alchemist Cookbook   (2016)

writer, director, editor, producer

82 minutes

Theatrical release, distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories


Suffering from delusions of fortune, a young hermit hides out in the forest hoping to crack an ancient mystery, but pays a price for his mania. Filmed in the forests of Michigan, Ty Hickson (Gimme the Loot), gives a one-man performance as loner afraid of himself.


Selected Screenings:

SXSW Film Festival, Austin, TX                                                 Valdivia Int’l Film Festival, Chile

Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal                                                Independent Film Festival of Boston

Brooklyn Academy of Music:                                                     Virginia Film Festival     

BAMCinemaFest                                                                         Oak Cliff Film Festival, Dallas

Champs-Elysees Film Festival, Paris                                         Nashville Film Festival

Torino Film Festival, Italy                                                           CPH:PIX, Copenhagen

Black Canvas Film Festival, Mexico                                          Montclair Film Festival

Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, Portugal                   Minneapolis-St. Paul Int’l Film Festival

Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland                                                      Filmfest München, Germany

ArtPrize on Screen, Grand Rapids, MI                                      American Film Festival, Poland



Buzzard   (2014)

writer, director, editor, producer

97 minutes

Theatrical release, distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories


Paranoia forces small-time scam artist, and full-time mortgage temp, Marty to flee to a dangerous Detroit with little more than a pocket full of bogus checks and a weaponized NES Power Glove. Acclaimed for effectively capturing the dull ugliness of office life, while successfully navigating a spectrum of comedy, drama, and horror.


Selected Screenings:

Lincoln Center: New Directors/New Films                               Filmfest München, Germany

Museum of Modern Art, NYC                                                    Indie Lisboa International Film Festival

SXSW Film Festival, Austin, TX                                                  Riviera Maya Film Festival, Mexico

Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland                                            Melbourne Int’l Film Festival

AFI Fest, Los Angeles                                                                 Chicago International Film Festival

American Cinematheque, Los Angeles                                     American Film Festival, Barcelona

Cinémathèque Française, Paris                                                  Istanbul Independent Film Festival

Vancouver Int’l Film Festival                                                       Belfort Entrevues Film Festival, France

Vienna Int’l Film Festival (Viennale)                                           International Film Festival Rotterdam

Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece                      Ljubljana Int’l Film Festival, Slovenia


Ape   (2012)

writer, director, editor, cinematographer, producer

86 minutes

Theatrical release, distributed by Factory 25


Struggling stand-up comic, and closet pyromaniac Trevor, finds a new outlet for his frustration after making a low-rent deal with a man in a Devil costume. Renowned for its guerilla tactics, filmed on weekends over the course of a summer for under $3000, mostly financed from bottle deposits.


Selected Screenings:

Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland                                               Nashville Film Festival

Museum of Moving Image, NYC                                                  Virginia Film Festival

AFI Fest, Los Angeles                                                                    Black Canvas Film Festival, Mexico

Vancouver Int’l Film Festival                                                          Phi Centre, Montreal

Northwest Film Forum, Seattle                                                     Unknown Pleasure Independent American Film

Filmfest München, Germany                                                                    Festival, Berlin      

Drugoe Kino Festival, Moscow                                                     Curitiba International Film Festival, Brazil

Belfort Entrevues Film Festival, France                                        Indie Lisboa International Film Festival, Portugal

Manosque Film Festival, S. France                                               CPH:PIX, Copenhagen

Cleveland Int’l Film Festival




Joel Calls Indie Film Type Dudes  (2020) 12 minutes, HD

writer, director

Calls to fellow filmmakers during the pandemic quarantine.

McD Test Market 447b (2019) 2 minutes, 16mm

writer, director, editor

Lost marketing footage of a 1980’s McDonald’s taste test.

The House that Yauch Built – Potrykus & MCA (2018) 6 minutes – director

Video essay on Adam Yauch, commissioned by the Beastie Boys as part of the official interactive “The House that Yauch Built” 3D media memorial tribute.

Follicle Gang (Green) (2011) 3 minutes, 8mm

writer, director, editor

Music video for Grand Rapids post-punk band, Heavier than Air Flying Machines.'


Coyote (2010) 22 minutes, 8mm

writer, director, cinematographer, editor  

A distraught squatter tries to cope with his werewolf nature through drugs and music.

30 Minutes with Crispin Glover (2009) 

Sit-down interview with actor and performance artist, Crispin Glover.


Gordon (2007) 15 minutes, 8mm

writer, director, cinematographer, editor  

Gordon suddenly drops dead, only to reanimate and travel around his city, lost and confused.


Peter Knows Kelly’s the Cool One (2000) 9 minutes, 16mm

writer, director, editor

Peter wakes with a feeling like someone’s walking on his grave. He’ll find out later that day if he’s right.


Fleas on Waters (1999) 3 minutes, 16mm

director, editor

Music video for I.A.P. recording artists, Mildseven.


Canvas (1999) 5 minutes, 16mm

writer, director, editor

An experimental adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s epic poem, The Raven.





“Underrated/Overlooked: Joel Potrykus on Dragged Across Concrete”

from The Talkhouse, ed. Nick Dawson, January 2020


“Filmmaking and Fatherhood: Year One”

from The Talkhouse, ed. Nick Dawson, March 2019


“Fear and Loathing in Grand Rapids”

Filmmaker Magazine, Issue 106, ed. Scott Macaulay, Spring 2019


The 2017 Talkies: Talkhouse Film Contributors’ Top Films of the Year (Good Time review)

from The Talkhouse, ed. Nick Dawson, Jan. 2018


Grand Rapids Grassroots, contributor - Life as an Indie Filmmaker

from the Rust Belt City Series, ed. Ashley Nickels and Dani Vilella

Belt Publishing, 2017


“Why I’m Releasing My New Movie as Pay-What-You-Want”

from Bundle.Media, September 2016


“I’m a Chump for Gump”

from Musing,ed. Daniel Berger, October 2015.


“Joel Potrykus Talks David Gelb’s The Lazarus Effect”

from The Talkhouse, ed. Nick Dawson, March 2015






Indiewire interview by Eric Kohn

“Joel Potrykus Passed on Directing a Sequel to ‘Project X’ to Make a Wacky Y2K Movie in a Garage”


Literary/Film Comparative piece

“A Year of Rest and Relaxation: Relaxerand the Cinema of Joel Potrykus”


AV Club interview by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

“Joel Potrykus on why his characters f--k their meals”


New York Time profile by Ben Kenigsberg
“Joel Potrykus’s Film ‘Buzzard’ Is Inspired by Dead-End Jobs”


Film Comment interview by Jordan Osterer

“geek rage, slacker rebellion, and the cathartic power of spaghetti.”


Interview with No Film School by Oakley Anderson-Moore

“Is High Production Value Just Hairspray? How BuzzardChampions Guerilla Filmmaking”


Film Society Lincoln Center profile by Rachel Del Giudice

“Buzzardperfectly captures the paradox of an entire generation.”


Grand Rapids Press profile by John Serba

“Grand Rapids-made indie-film sensation Apeto premiere in West Michigan”

Interview with Rapporto Confidenziale by Roberto Rippa

‘Give us $20,000 and we’ll make the best Fast & Furious movie ever’
 Interview withJoel Potrykus