Jeff Van Hanken, MFA - The University of Tulsa
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Jeff Van Hanken, MFA

Chair of Film Studies

Wellspring Associate Professor of Film Studies

Co-Director, Center for Health, Arts and Measurement Practices


A native of Tulsa, Professor Van Hanken first remembers editing stories while surveying the vast Western landscapes on weeks-long family car trips. As an undergraduate at Duke University, Van Hanken edited the student-lead news magazine, The Missing Link. His first job after college was deputy editorial page editor for The Shreveport Journal, where he and his colleagues covered the first U.S. Senate campaign of Ku Klax Klan-leader David Duke. After eight months traveling around the world, Van Hanken found himself pulled toward fiction filmmaking while studying at The University of Texas. In particular, he was intrigued by what Hitchcock refers to as “pure cinema,” using the imagery to advance the story in ways that are specific to cinema. As the son of a self-taught computer programmer, Van Hanken explores the ways that visual storytelling overlap with computational thinking. As a member of the Tulsa Saturns sandlot baseball team, Van Hanken platoons at the hot box. Several years ago, he took up banjo, and thus far has learned to play one White Stripes song and about half of “I’ll Fly Away.” He has just finished his first novel, “Project Kandinsky” and is at work on a short story collection. He was project coordinator for The Greenwood Art Project and co-directs the Center for Health, Arts and Measurement Practices. Van Hanken also serves on the board of the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation.

Awards and Honors

Invited to attend the second Algorithmic Arts workshop at The University of Maryland in May 2023. Sponsored by the NEA and the NSF, the workshop included arts educators and artists from music to film to sculpture who are exploring the intersection of coding and the arts.


  • MFA, Duke University
  • B.A., The University of Texas

Research interests and areas of expertise

  • Pure cinema
  • Computational thinking in cinema
  • Phenakistoscopes
  • Praxinoscopes
  • Banjo
  • Tomato farming
  • Gumbo
  • Speculative fiction
  • Hal Ashby, ‘The Collected Works of Billy the Kid’
  • Landlocked as a worldview
  • John coltrane
  • Bonnie prince billy
  • Agitpop
  • ‘Badlands’