May 13, 2013

Alumni with a “Cannes-do” Attitude

Two alumni films to compete at Cannes

School of Cinematic Arts alumni have two films in competition at this year’s Cannes. Fruitvale (renamed Fruitvale Station) and The Immigrant will be competing in the 66thFestival de Cannes, running from May 15-26. Longtime SCA ally Steven Spielberg will serve as this year’s President of the Jury.

“It's a huge honor to be representing USC in the festival world,” said Sev Ohanian, co-producer of Fruitvale Station and SCA alum ’12. “Most from the core team Ryan [Coogler, Fruitvale Station’s director and SCA alum ’11] chose to help bring his vision to life were people he got to know at USC. While making the film, we were always drawing upon our experiences from other projects we'd worked on at school, and I still regularly call upon my former professors for advice. When I'm talking to people at festivals and tell them I just graduated from USC, people always have great things to say about the program.”

Fruitvale Station has had a breakout year, winning both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The film will compete in the Un Certain Regard category and will run for the Caméra d’Or. The Immigrant, by Writer/Director James Gray’s ’91,will compete in the Official Selection against such directors as Steven Soderbergh and the Coen Brothers.

When asked about his advice for aspiring filmmakers, Ohanian said, “Always put your best work into any project you're involved in, no matter what your position is. USC is a laboratory for the real world in a lot of ways, and the people around you are the ones you'll be working with and getting recommendations from after graduation. Everyone's paying attention to each other in the community, and you want to earn a reputation for being a person that adds value to a project.”

To see the full list of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival lineup, please visit