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My name is Alexandra Petrus.

I'm a multimedia artist working across a variety of narrative disciplines, primarily working with film, games, animation, and experimental combinations of the three. 

I am currently working toward a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at USC School of Cinematic Arts.

I've got several projects in development — stay tuned!

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Full CV


August 2022 - present

PhD | University of Southern California

Cinema and Media Studies

Sept 2017 - Feb 2021

MA | Cologne Game Lab

 Game Development and Research

Aug 2013–May 2017

BA | California State University Long Beach

Film and Electronic Arts (Directing), German Studies

Feb–Aug 2016

Hamburg University of Applied Sciences

Semester abroad studying Media Technology

Additional Courses

American Film Institute  

            Cinematography Intensive for Women Workshop     |     Aug 2018

University of California, Los Angeles

            35mm Photography                                                    |     July 2013

            Theater Acting                                                            |     July 2011


University of Southern California

            16mm Filmmaking                                                       |    June–Aug 2012

Professional Experience

May 2020–present

Co-Founder, CEO

Achtung Autobahn Studios

  • Co-founded this games studio 

  • Art director on first project Maniacs, an action-adventure game about the 1968 student protest movement in West Berlin

  • Established the art style and crafted the game’s story

  • Conducted historical research

  • Maniacs was twice awarded funding from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW for concept (€20,000) and prototype (€80,000)

Jan – Dec 2021

Graduate Program Manager, Lecturer

Cologne Game Lab

  • Taught undergraduate Media Studies Close Reading, including:

    • G.W. Hegel Lectures on Aesthetics

    • Aristotle Poetics

    • Sigmund Freud The Uncanny and Creative Writers and Daydreaming

    • Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

    • Vannevar Bush As We May Think

    • J.C.R. Linklider Man-Computer Symbiosis

    • Alan Turing Computing Machinery and Intelligence

    • Sherry Turkle Video Games and Computer Holding Power.

  • Taught Academic Writing for first, third, and sixth-semester undergraduate students

  • Graded undergraduate papers and exams

  • Additionally was the lead organizer and administrator of the graduate program, advising students on their general studies and theses as well as scheduling and arranging contracts

  • MA Students Advised

  • Misra, Nitish, "How does Video Game Level Pacing Affect Player Experience?": 4/25/2022

  • Thai Binh Minh Do, “Learning Through Gaming: The Efficacy of Visuals and Storytelling and the Game Concept Creation for a Journey through Vietnamese Mythology”: 09/05/2021

  • Ke Zhang, “Analytics- and Data-driven Development of Mobile Games: A Critical Reflection”: 05/28/2021

  • BA Students Advised

  • Menzel Ruben, “Design of a Strategy Game Faction for the Modding Project Sins of the Prophets & an Analysis of How a Visual Identity can be Adapted into a Foreign Genre”: 07/14/2021

Oct 2017–Aug 2022

Motion Graphics Artist

Sneaky Little Sister

  • Created motion graphics content and animations for documentaries and social media campaigns

  • Clients included the ACLU, the Brady Campaign, and PBS

  • Worked on documentary features The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, The Unforgettable Augustus Post, Before You Were Born, among others

March–Dec 2019

Undergraduate Program Manager, Lecturer

Cologne Game Lab

  • Taught undergraduate Game Studies Close Reading, including: 

    • Roger Caillois Man, Play, and Games

    • Sherry Turkle Aspects of the Self

    • Jesper Juul Half Real: Videogames Between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds

  • Graded undergraduate papers and exams

  • Additionally provided organizational support for the undergraduate program

June–July 2017


Camp Reel Stories

  • Acted as mentor to a team of high-school girls in creating a short-form documentary, The Price of Pink, about gendered medical and household products

  • Taught the basics of production pipelines, from developing their ideas to editing

Aug – Dec 2015


Revelations Entertainment

●      Assisted producers of various Morgan Freeman-backed projects

●      Conducted research for the National Geographic documentary The Story of God

Aug 2014 – Dec 2015

Teaching Assistant, Film and Electronic Arts

California State University Long Beach

  • Provided organizational support and grading to two film courses:

    • Media Aesthetics with directing professor Tom Blomquist

    • Production Design with designer John Muto


Freelance Film Production

●      Primarily worked in camera, grip and electric, and art departments
●      Mainly worked on thesis films at AFI and USC, along with small commercials and independent productions
●      Additionally edited many short films and promotional content

Game Development



●      Art director, narrative writer
●      Action-adventure game about the 1968 student protest movement of West Berlin
●      Twice won funding from the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW for the development of a concept and prototype amounting to €100,000
●      First endeavor of the co-founded games studio Achtung Autobahn Studios


On and On: We Ran Away

●      Artist, narrative designer
●      Adventure game about a pregnant woman returning home to post-war Kosovo from Italy


Bad Girls

●      Artist, animator
●      Beat-em-up game created as an adaptation of William Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic


Apollo 18

●      Animator, narrative designer
●      Click-and-point adventure game commissioned by the Wallraf Richartz Museum in Cologne about lost characters in paintings trying to find their way back to their rightful place


Lost in Transmission

●      Artist, animator
●      Adventure game about the transmission of false information
●      Created within 48 hours at the Global Game Jam


Dark Circus

●      A jump-and-run platformer exploring the worlds of Paul Klee’s paintings
●      Created independently (animation and programming)


Armored Amish Mania

●      Retro-style shooter game about fighting homophobia
●      Created independently (art, animation, and programming)


Jump the Trump

●      Motion capture artist
●      Simple one-click comedy game created as an exercise in motion capture



Mourning Dove

●      Wrote and directed this senior film highlighting the emotional impact of the civil war in Syria on its child victims in an effort to energize against western apathy toward tragedies occurring in the Middle East 
●      Script won first-place selection for funding by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
●      Indiegogo campaign was featured on Women & Hollywood, as the crew was composed mainly of women from minority backgrounds 
●      Selected, nominated, and won many festival awards



●      Co-directed this experimental animation about Hamburg’s infamous red-light district


Sogni intorno alla Città Ideale

●      Co-directed this experimental documentary about the internal monologues of early-morning train passengers—those going to work and returning from parties—in Hamburg, Germany



●      Wrote and directed this short film at a 24-hour filmmaking workshop at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences


Rosemary with Ginger

●      Directed this dramatic One-Act written by Edward Allen Baker about the strife of two young mothers with strong ideological differences, performed live for a directing class at CSULB


Victim of Ambition

●      Wrote and directed this experimental short about lack of fulfillment and burnout


Comme le Poulet

●      Wrote, directed, and acted in this satirical short film parodying French existentialism


Unsaid Things

●      Wrote and directed this short dramatic film about the awkwardness of two old friends reuniting


On the Dark

●      Wrote and directed this dramatic short film with 16mm film.

Awards, Scholarships & Funding


Ubisoft Newcomer Award

Deutscher Entwicklerpreis (German Developer Award)
Game Maniacs was nominated


Prototype Funding

Film- und Medienstiftung NRW 
(Film and Media Fund North Rhein Westphalia)
Game Maniacs awarded €80,000 to develop a prototype over six months


Concept Funding

Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
Game Maniacs awarded €20,000 to develop a game concept over four months


Best Student Film

Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival
For short film Mourning Dove


Best Film

California State University System-Wide Media Arts Festival
Short film Mourning Dove won second place


President's Honor List

California State University, Long Beach
Highest GPA-based honor awarded all eight semesters of my undergraduate career


College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Baccalaureate Award

California State University, Long Beach College of Liberal Arts
Granted by both Film and Electronic Arts and Department of Romance, German and Russian for this award granted to only one undergraduate student


Senior Film Funding Selection

Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Short film script Mourning Dove won first-place selection for funding


Richard and Johanna Baker Endowed Scholarship

California State University, Long Beach College of the Arts
Highest College of the Arts scholarship awarded only to one student per year


Outstanding Achievement Certificate

The German Summer School of New Mexico
Certificate awarded to the top 10% of students at this intensive immersion language program


French Program Award

California State University, Long Beach
French language award presented to one student per class


German Program Award

California State University, Long Beach
German language award presented to one student per class

In Press


Womenize! Games and Tech

Featured in the “Inspiring Stories” blog of this organization for advancing women in the games and tech industries.


The American Society of Cinematographers

Included in an article about the first AFI Cinematography Intensive for Women, “Stephen Lighthill, ASC Helps AFI Launch Cinematography Introductory Intensive for Women.”


Women in Hollywood

Crowdfunding campaign for Mourning Dove was featured in the article “Know no Boundaries: Crowdfunding Picks.”

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