News from 2016

2016 Winteractive Festival
December 16, 2016

On December 7th the School of Cinematic Arts hosted the 2016 the Winteractive Festival presented by USC Games. This year’s Festival showcase a variety of work from across a broader spectrum of platforms, classes and levels of experimentation including SCA’s Interactive Media and Games Division, the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering as well as a handful of students from the USC Thornton School of Music and students from outside the University participating.

Remembering Jonathan Bernbaum
SCA alum among those who died in Oakland Fire
December 8, 2016

We learned on Monday that SCA alumnus Jonathan Bernbaum, 34, a talented video and music artist who graduated from the Production MFA program in 2008, was among those who died in the horrific fire at an Oakland warehouse last Friday December 2.
 

Faculty Profile: Bonnie Ruberg
November 21, 2016

Faculty Profile: Bonnie Ruberg

SCA Alumni Stories: Fawaz Al-Matrouk
November 18, 2016

SCA Alumni Stories: Fawaz Al-Matrouk

SCA Alumni Stories: Sean Jarrett
November 10, 2016

With an MFA in Production, Sean Jarrett ’14 has immensely expanded his storytelling strengths and creative sensibility as a documentary editor. Jarrett recently discussed his beginnings as a filmmaker, the valuable emotional impact both documentary and fiction films have on audiences, and his experience in every editing job of learning “something technical, artistic, and something about life.”

Cheryl Boone Isaacs Visits SCA
President of the Academy is First Visitor in Diversity Council Speaker Series
October 27, 2016

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the USC School of CInematic Arts (SCA) are united in a mission to improve the diversity of the entertainment industry. On October 24th, Boone Isaacs was the keynote speaker at “Our Voices - An Evening with Cheryl Boone Isaacs” hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at SCA.

Everybody Loves Raymond Creator Phil Rosenthal Visiting Foundations of Comedy
October 20, 2016

Everybody Loves Raymond Creator Visiting Foundations of Comedy USC Comedy is proud to announce that Phil Rosenthal, Emmy winning Writer/Producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond”, will be visiting SCA on the evening of Monday, October 24 to talk about the art of Sitcom Writing with students in CTWR 404, Foundations of Comedy.

Jack Oakie Comedy Student Short Film Festival
October 20, 2016

Comedian Pauly Shore emcees a screening of original short films created by SCA students. Be part of the jury and help award the People's Choice "It's All In Fun" Award. Esteemed members of the USC Comedy Faculty will also judge 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards & scholarships. All films are no longer than four minutes in lengths.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: MEENAKSHI RAMAMURTHY AND KHALED RIDGEWAY
October 20, 2016

Meenakshi Ramamurthy is the comedy writer/director behind the webseries The Fob and I and recent alum of USC School of Cinematic Arts M.F.A Production program. Meena hails from South Texas—that means she’s one of the few Indian people who can tell you where to get a good taco. She is a recipient of the James Bridges Directing Scholarship and the Jack Oakie Scholarship in Honor of Lisa Kudrow.

Dean Daley Honored for 25 Years
October 18, 2016

This year marks Dean Elizabeth M. Daley’s twenty-fifth as Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts, making her easily the longest tenured dean in the School’s history. In honor of the School’s tremendous growth under her leadership, and to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni community over the past year, the Alumni Development Council held a special celebration on Sunday, October 16, with many of the School’s most notable alumni gathering at the Meldman Family Cinematic Arts Park for what some dubbed “a meeting of the SCA mafia.”

Faculty Profile: Amanda Pope
October 12, 2016

Faculty Profile: Amanda Pope

Faculty Profile: Pablo Frasconi
October 12, 2016

Pablo Frasconi has been making films since 1969, when, at age 17 won an award a the National Newsweek-Bloex Documentary Film Contest for his film Redevelopment - a critique of the conditions in his hometown. Raised in a family of artists, Pablo gives a brief account to his journey to filmmaking and what it means to him. 

Faculty Profile: David Maquiling
October 7, 2016

Faculty Profile: David Maquiling

Faculty Profile: Gabe Peters-Lazaro
October 7, 2016

Gabriel Peters-Lazaro is not only a Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts but also a filmmaker, researcher, and media innovator. By asking questions about our culture, society, and identity, his passion for media education has shaped a great deal of his work. He is a member of the MacArthur Foundation's Media Activism and Participatory Politics (MAPP) project and is currently working to develop participatory media resources and curricula to support new forms of civic education and engagement for young people.
 

SCA Alumni Stories: Cheryl Rodes
October 5, 2016

Ready to “set the world on fire,” Cheryl Rodes ’12 tells honest stories that champion the complex everyday lives of women. Acting since age six and raising herself from age fourteen, Rodes has been a storyteller all her life. With an MFA in Writing under her belt, she hopes to utilize the power of storytelling “to embrace, explore and showcase the complexity of women, who they are, and what they have to deal with.”

Legendary Producer Ray Stark Honored at SCA
September 29, 2016

On September 27th, the USC School of Cinematic Arts opened a three-day tribute  to legendary film producer, Ray Stark. Stark and his wife Frances were the benefactors of the School’s Peter Stark Producing Program, which they named for their late son. The opening evening featured a panel discussion about Stark’s work, followed by a screening of Funny Girl, held, appropriately, in the Ray Stark Family Theatre on campus.  The retrospective continued on the 28th and 29th with screenings of The Goodbye Girl and Steel Magnolias.
 

Documentarian/Cinematographer Haskell Wexler Honored at SCA
Wexler remembered as pioneer, inventor, and humanitarian
September 26, 2016

On Sunday, September 25th, friends, alumni and supporters of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) gathered to honor the late, legendary Academy Award-winning cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Haskell Wexler, and to dedicate the Haskell Wexler Endowed Chair in Documentary. Michael Renov, Professor and Vice Dean of Academics at SCA, was installed as the first chair holder. The Wexler Chair in Documentary was graciously funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
 

Hench DADA’s Alicja Jasina Wins at the Student Academy Awards
Her film Once Upon A Line voted best of the year
September 26, 2016

Alicja Jasina of the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital won the gold medal, for her film Once Upon A Line, at this year’s Student Academy Awards. Jasina was awarded the top prize in the Animation category at a ceremony held in Los Angeles on Thursday September 22nd.

SCA Family Stories: Ted Braun
The Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics Speaks about his Journey
September 26, 2016

Ted Braun has worn many hats during his acclaimed career. As a documentarian, he brought the conflict in Sudan to life with the NAACP Image award winning film Darfur Now. As a screenwriter/director he has covered topics as diverse as the golden age of aviation to the rights of the developmentally disabled for outlets including HBO, PBS, and A&E. As a teacher, he has spearheaded the efforts to bring the development of imagination and personal material to the forefront of the Writing Division.

NIH Awards Grant to USC Researchers
SCA's Marientina Gotsis Among Groundbreaking Team
September 22, 2016

USC researchers awarded $450K NIH grant to develop virtual reality-based system for walking rehabilitation. The interdisciplinary study aims to develop safe, effective game-based treatment for individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
 

Bridging Sciences and the Arts
September 21, 2016

A new organization works to connect the disciplines 
 

Movie Business Book Marks Fourth Edition
Professor Jason E. Squire Hosted at Barnes and Noble
September 20, 2016

On September 12th, Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles hosted the launch of The Movie Business Book Fourth Edition, published by Routledge/Focal Press and edited by USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire, who moderated the panel of his book participants.

Women of Cinematic Arts Launches Feminist Media Festival
September 13, 2016

Events will take place throughout the academic year.

SCA Alumni Stories: Meera Menon
September 7, 2016

SCA alumnus Meera Menon ’12 gained much attention for her unique storytelling with a film winning the Nora Ephron Award at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and the other debuting at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Menon recently discussed her storytelling perspective as a first generation immigrant, the beginnings of her academic career at SCA, and her experience directing widely praised Farah Goes Bang and recent sensation Equity.

Building the Bridge from Conceptual Games to Game Design Company
August 31, 2016

The USC Games Bridge Program was launched in summer 2015 to aid students in the process of developing their games into full-fledged companies. The companies are then pitched to venture capitalists and game publishers with the hopes of investment or acquisition. The Bridge offers legal and business mentorship from top video games industry professionals and is offers its students full ownership of their company without taking any personal interest. The only exception is if a game makes at least $500,000, in which case one percent goes back to USC Games to re-fund the Bridge program for future cohorts.

Tim Story Visiting Foundations of Comedy Class
August 30, 2016

USC Comedy is excited to announce that distinguished SCA alumnus Tim Story, Director of the hit comedies Barbershop, Ride Along and Think Like a Man will be visiting on the evening of Monday, September 12 to talk comedy filmmaking with students in CTWR 404, Foundations of Comedy. The class is the gateway experience for students interested in exploring their comic voice through USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts extensive comedic curriculum.

In Memoriam: Kenneth Hall
August 26, 2016

"Ken was beloved by all of us – students, faculty and staff. He will be deeply missed as an artist, a teacher, and a friend," said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. "Ken brought an incredible passion and sense of fun to the classroom and his love of teaching touched the lives of countless graduates. Our thoughts are with his family."

 

USC Ranked Number One
The Hollywood Reporter Ranks SCA #1 for Fourth Year
August 22, 2016

For the fourth year in a row, the USC School of Cinematic Arts was ranked the number one film school in America by The Hollywood Reporter. This year, the trade magazine polled industry insiders to rank undergraduate and graduate programs and, citing developments in virtual reality and major pushes in diversity, USC retained the top position.

Two Trojans Bring Home Student Oscar Noms
Animation and Live Action Represented
August 19, 2016

The USC School of Cinematic Arts has a long history of success at the Student Academy Awards and 2016 is no exception with two nominations. Halima Lucas from the Production Division was nominated for, “Amelia’s Closet,” and Alicja Jasina from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts was nominated for, “Once Upon a Line.”
 

SCA Family Stories: Cameron Burnett
August 15, 2016

The Summer Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts takes students from all walks of life. From industry professionals sharpening their skills to high school students picking up a camera for the first time, the student body is diverse, dedicated, and there to learn how to tell stories with the moving image. Cameron Burnett attended the Summer Program in high school and later transitioned into the Film & Television Production Division as a degree program student. He recently sat down with SCA Family Stories to talk about his experience in the Summer Program, his transition to the degree program side of SCA, and the importance of being harsh in the editing room.

SCA Alumni Stories: Katie Walsh
August 4, 2016

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies at Wesleyan University and working in the film industry for several years, Katie Walsh ’13 launched her academic career at USC, finishing her MA in Cinema and Media Studies. She now works as a nationally syndicated film critic, while on leave of absence from her PhD work in Communications at Annenberg. Walsh recently discussed her beginnings in PR, her academic accomplishments, and her current role as a writer and film critic for the Tribune News Service and LA Times.

Meera Menon Debuts Equity
The recent SCA grad returns to campus with her second feature
July 7, 2016

The recent SCA grad returns to campus with her second feature

SCA Alumni Stories: Michael Effenberger
July 6, 2016

Recent graduate and multi-talented storyteller, Michael Effenberger ’15 shared his experience, as a double major, of discovering and pursuing a long-time yet unfulfilled passion for games. Effenberger discussed the evolution of his skill set as a creative, his journey as co-founder of Syndicate Atomic, and his ambitions for future projects.

SCA Alumni Stories: Veena Hariharan
June 8, 2016

Having earned an M.A. and a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at SCA, Veena Hariharan ’11 displays passion in both her academic and creative works as a tenured professor at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In a recent interview, Hariharan discusses the great value of the critical analyses and academic pursuits of media and cinema in the context of Indian culture and society.

SCA Family Stories: Alan Starbuck
June 8, 2016

Alan Starbuck, facility manger for the Robert Zemeckis Center for the Digital Arts, was an early adopter of the digital technology that now permeates every aspect of life at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. After graduating from the Division of Film & Television Production, Starbuck joined the staff of SCA and led the Zemeckis Center through its many roles and phases as the go-to building for film, television, animation, and video game production at the School. This summer, Starbuck is retiring and SCA Family Stories caught up with him to talk about his memories of the history of the School, why the transition to digital was a fight worth having, and the people that helped him in his amazing career.
 

MAP Ph.D Candidate Creates Project for Largest Screen in World
May 26, 2016

iMAP PhD student Clea T. Waite recently presented “Big Moon Hong Kong,” a new site-specific video featured on the ICC Tower, which is the tallest building in Hong Kong and boasts the largest LED screen in the world. Clea’s project is part of the prestigious International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2016. The building’s facade is comprised of 77,000 square meters of LED’s, making Clea’s video - of the moon rise - quite spectacular. Clea’s summer will be spent in Greenland, where she is conducting arts-based research on ice and its relationship to time, with funding from the Art, Design and SEM Frontier Collaborations, through the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.

MAP Ph.D Candidate Studies Wearable Technologies
May 26, 2016

Behnaz Farahi, an iMAP PhD candidate, recently presented a talk at an event titled “This Happened #25” at the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and another talk at Technarte 2016 in Bilbao, May 19, 2016. Behnaz presented her recent research on wearable technologies, cyborg identities and post-humanism. She will return to Autodesk’s Pier 9 this summer as an artist-in-residence.

MAP Student Wins Undergraduate Symposium
Jonathan Fudem Honored for Thesis
May 26, 2016

MA+P undergraduate students continue to excel! MA+P senior Jonathan Fudem won first prize for his thesis project, “Privacy Lost: Owning Our Data in Digital Culture,” in the Digital Media category of the 2016 Undergraduate Symposium.

Alumni Paul Feig and Susan Downey Honored at USC School of Cinematic Arts 2016 Commencement Ceremony
PLUS: Feig's Eight Rules to Succeed
May 17, 2016

The USC School of Cinematic Arts 2016 Commencement Ceremony honored alumni Susan Downey, the School's 2016 Mary Pickford Award recipient, and keynote speaker Paul Feig, who offered graduates eight tips for success.

SCA Alumni Stories: Sheldon Candis
May 10, 2016

With experience working in a plethora of storytelling mediums, Sheldon Candis ’03 possesses a distinct and focused voice as a filmmaker. Candis shared pearls of wisdom about the endurance needed to achieve any artistic dream. He also reflected on his own experience after graduating from SCA, and discussed the ever-evolving nature of his creative voice.

SCA Student Stories: Allison Begalman
May 10, 2016

Looking to graduation, Allison Begalman ’16 reminisced on the past four years she has spent at SCA as a maturing writer, and an active member and President of the Women of Cinematic Arts.

In Memoriam: Ian Sander
USC Alumnus and Television Professor Passes Away at Sixty Eight
May 5, 2016

Longtime television development, directing and production professor and USC alumnus Ian Sander passed away on May 3rd. He is remembered by faculty, staff, alumni, and students of the School of Cinematic Arts as a true role model and educator who cared deeply for students, and who always had an open door for both current students and alumni of his classes. Sander co-taught a course on television with his wife Kim Moses.
 

Beijing International Film Festival attracts USC faculty
May 4, 2016

Jason E. Squire delivers keynote on the history of English-language comedy and visits the China National Film Museum

Mark Burnett Endows Chair to Support the SCA Summer Production Program
David Weitzner installed as first Mark Burnett Endowed Chair
April 28, 2016

Mark Burnett, Emmy–winning producer and President of MGM Television and Digital Group, was honored on April 27th at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for the establishing The Mark Burnett Endowed Chair at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). The endowment will support the School’s Summer Production Program and it’s first chair holder is the program’s Director, SCA Professor David Weitzner.

Filmmaker Paul Feig to Deliver Commencement Speech
April 26, 2016

Filmmaker Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) will deliver the commencement address, and producer Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes, The Judge) will receive the prestigious Mary Pickford Alumni Award at the 2016 USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) graduation ceremony Friday, May 13 at the Shrine Auditorium.

Directing the Funny
April 19, 2016

Tim Story gives the Oakie Masters of Comedy lecture at SCA

Alumnus Brings Timeless Orwell Essay to the Screen
April 12, 2016

Director Juan Pablo Rothie’s adaptation of Shooting An Elephant will play Tribeca this weekend.

Back-to-Back BAFTA Awards for USC Games
April 11, 2016

For the second consecutive year, a team of USC Games students won the BAFTA Ones To Watch Award.

Jason Reitman Screens Up in the Air
April 8, 2016

Alum Jason Reitman spoke to students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts after a screening of his 2009 film Up in the Air on April 5th in the Ray Stark Family Theatre. The talk was sponsored by USC Comedy at the School of Cinematic Ars, the Writing for Screen & Television’s Writing Presents Speaker Series, and Movies We Love. The Q & A was hosted by USC alum and screenwriter Tim Dowling.

SCA Alumni Stories: Kate Powers
April 8, 2016

Kate Powers ’07 recently discussed her beginnings as a writer, her thoughts on the evolving relationship between TV and its audience, and her journey as a staff writer on the highly acclaimed television drama series Rectify.
 

USC Brings Student Films to Major Agencies
First Look Film Festival Changes Format
April 8, 2016

Film Festivals are the chance for new Trojan graduates to take their student films into the real world and show agents, managers, producers, and distributors what they’ve got. This year, the School of Cinematic Arts’ Industry Relations has made it even easier for agents to see student work.They won’t even have to leave their buildings.

SCA Student Stories: Jonathan Fudem
April 7, 2016

With graduation quickly approaching, Jonathan Fudem ‘16 reflected on his experiences as a MAP student, his time spent working at Trojan Vision and his role as a research assistant.

Tim Story to be Honored with Oakie Award
April 6, 2016

Alumnus Tim Story to be honored with the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Master of Comedy Lecture Series

USC Comedy Faculty
April 6, 2016

See the faculty for the USC Comedy Initiative at the School of Cinematic Arts

USC Comedy Report
April 6, 2016

Back in 2010, three long time comedy professionals, SCA professors Jack Epps, Barnet Kellman and David Isaacs, had a dream.  To launch an initiative to create an SCA Academy of Comedy. In 2016 the dream has become a full functioning reality.

Around the World with Alex Ago
March 22, 2016

SCA’s Director of Programming and Special Projects brings the world of cinema to campus screens.

VRSC
A new club, focused on the possibilities of Virtual Reality introduces whole new worlds
March 16, 2016

Virtual Reality (VR) is a burgeoning industry and the big media companies - Google, Facebook, and Microsoft among them—already have money and experts engaged in figuring out how VR will impact our lives. Last spring, School of Cinematic Arts students launched their own expedition through a new club, VRSC (Virtual Reality SC), to explore virtual reality together with their peers from Viterbi, Marshall, and Annenberg, who are also passionate about this groundbreaking new medium for storytelling.

Recap: 'Queering Our Traditions'
March 7, 2016

LGBT Film Showcase Explores The Nexus of Religion and LGBT Identity.

SCA Alums Bring Cutting-Edge Animation to SXSW
March 7, 2016

Yo-yo Lin and Will Cherry’s Ricerca is featured in South by Southwest's Digital Domain program.

SCA Alumni Stories: Philip Hodges
March 3, 2016

Beginning with his creative journey as an undergraduate at Harvard University, Philip Hodges ’11 has evolved into a multi-talented filmmaker, directing story-driven music videos and utilizing puppetry for effective storytelling. Hodges discussed the details of his filmmaking path, including how his acclaimed SCA thesis project landed in film development at Disney.
 

SCA Student Stories: Felicia Hilario
March 3, 2016

Influenced by the many strong women in her life, Felicia Hilario ’16 is pushing the boundaries of the male-dominant world of crime thrillers. Hilario writes with conviction and a clear vision to empower women of all ethnicities by challenging the gender norms of the thriller film genre. She recently shared her “flavored” storytelling journey and her hopes for the future.

The Man Who Killed Mufasa
February 26, 2016

Legendary Disney animator Andreas Deja visits the School of Cinematic Arts with new book.

Robert Towne Honored at USC Cinema
February 24, 2016

“Before there was IMDB, or any way to find out who did anything,” said SCA alum Matthew Weiner (MFA ’90), “We all knew the name of one movie writer: and it was Robert Towne.”

An SCA Power-Couple Takes The Indie Film Scene by Storm
February 23, 2016

Producers Sev Ohanian and Natalie Qasabian’s romance first sparked at the School of Cinematic Arts. Both are now considered industry up-and-comers, and have been making their alma mater proud with highly regarded projects that have won numerous awards at festivals nationwide.
 

From the First to the Fiftieth Draft
School of Cinematic Arts Professor Jack Epps Jr. publishes a guide to screenwriting rewrites.
February 17, 2016

Every screenwriter knows that the first draft is just the beginning; that there will be edits and maybe even complete rewrites. This knowledge, however, doesn’t make rewriting any easier. Especially hard is answering that first, most important question: Where to start.

Tracy Fullerton Wins GDC Ambassador Award
February 17, 2016

The 16th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the peer-awarded highest honors in video game development, has named Director of USC Games and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division this year's recipient of the GDC Ambassador award on February 16th in San Francisco.

Professor Jeremy Kagan on Filming SHOT
February 4, 2016

Film & Television Production Professor Jeremy Kagan is exploring that subject in his new dramatic feature film, SHOT, now in postproduction. He recently sat down with SCA to talk about the filmmaker’s role in covering social issues.

SCA Alumni Stories: Ashley York
February 4, 2016

With a deep understanding of the power of visual storytelling, Ashley York ’06 has helmed documentaries that reflect her passion to shed light on social issues confronting us today.

SCA Student Stories: Grazyna Kolondra
February 4, 2016

A true example of compassion and perseverance, Grazyna Kolondra ’16 has dedicated her work to raising awareness of global violations of human rights.

SCA Alumni Stories: Heather Blodget
January 7, 2016

With the inspiration of Walt Disney propelling her forward, Heather Blodget ’07 is living her dream, working at Walt Disney Animation Studios and creating positive, uplifting films. Blodget recently shared her creative growth since graduation, discussed finding her dream job, and offered advice to SCA students to be open to all opportunities.

SCA Student Stories: Ayana Baraka
January 7, 2016

As a newly minted Fall graduate, Ayana Baraka ’15 reflected on her time as an SCA student and on lessons learned about creativity, life, and the elusive nature of “success.” Baraka also shared her experience as a cinematographer on The Hunting Ground in which she was able to help young women tell their stories of rape culture on college campuses.