The Stark Program provides funds for selected Stark students to initiate and produce up to three 20-minute films. Second-year Stark students, alone or in teams, originate and make these projects.
Tony Bill (far right) accepts his
Academy Award for The Sting
Special Productions are selected on a competitive basis. Decisions are made by the Program Director along with industry professionals who then serve as advisors on the productions. The Stark producers then "hire" a director and crew from the Stark Program or other SCA programs. An individual Stark student may assume only one major role - Writer, Director or Producer. Completed films can be screened at the School of Cinematic Arts First Look series. They have been selected to show at outside film festivals from Sundance to Deauville.
Special Productions Advisors
Tony Bill is an Academy Award-winning director/producer. Among his directorial credits are My Bodyguard, Untamed Heart, Five Corners, and Flyboys. His feature production credits include The Sting, Hearts of the West, Taxi Driver, and Going in Style.
Noted for his discovery and support of new talent, he acted in the first films of directors Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick and Francis Ford Coppola. He commissioned and produced the first screenplays of David Ward, John Patrick Shanley, Terrence Malick, and many others.
Additionally, he has directed or produced numerous movies, television films, commercials, and episodes for television. He lives with his wife, producer Helen Bartlett, in Venice, California, where they maintain a film production company, Barnstorm Films.
He is the author of Movie Speak (Workman Press, 2008), the definitive compendium and history of the language and lore of film sets, and is a commercially-rated pilot and an experienced long-distance ocean-racing sailor.
Recent (2016) projects include Going in Style for New Line/Warner Bros and, with Helen Bartlett, Pitch: a pilot for a new series for Fox Television.
Starting in the mailroom at The William Morris Agency, Robert Shapiro rose through the ranks to Senior Vice-President, Managing Director and head of their International Motion Picture Department, where he represented some of the industry's most prominent stars and filmmakers. Shapiro served as President of Warner Bros. Worldwide Theatrical Production Division for over six years. Among the 50 Plus films produced during his tenure include the Superman films, Hooper, Private Benjamin, Going in Style, The In-Laws, Altered States, National Lampoon's Vacation, Time After Time, Every Which Way But Loose, The Shining and Chariots of Fire. Additionally, Shapiro produced many critically acclaimed and successful films including Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Black Beauty, Arthur 2 On The Rocks, There Goes My Baby, Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde, My Favorite Martian, Disney Channel’s Cadet Kelly, NBC's Movie Of The Week The Summer My Father Grew Up and Walt Disney’s Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. He executive produced Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun. He directed the second unit on several films including Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, as well as directed two episodes of The Dick Clark Show and the FOX TV series Beyond Belief.
Films Shapiro has been associated with have garnered several Academy Awards and nominations. He has also been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and received the prestigious Christopher Award as well as the Genesis Award for Best Picture (Black Beauty). Shapiro is currently developing and preparing several films that will be released in 2016-17. Shapiro is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, where he serves on the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship selection committee, The Animated Feature Film Nominating Committee and The Foreign Language sub-committee. He is also a mentor to graduate school filmmakers at the Peter Stark Program at USC. He has taught classes and has been a guest lecturer at USC, UCLA, NYU, Emerson College, University of Nebraska, University of Utah and the Los Angeles Film School.
Ruth Vitale is the Chief Executive Officer of CreativeFuture, a broad-based creative community coalition that includes film and television companies, independent production and financing companies, unions, guilds, talent agencies, and other members and supporters of the creative community. CreativeFuture promotes the value of creativity in today's digital age and embraces expanded audience access to content in ways that reward creativity. Vitale has been at the forefront of independent film production and distribution for more than three decades, including as Founder and Co-President of Paramount Classics and as President of Fine Line Features. During her tenure at these companies, she launched the careers of many successful filmmakers such as Paul Greengrass, Sofia Coppola, Scott Hicks, John Hillcoat, and Craig Brewer. She has also worked with established talent such as Sam Raimi, Roger Michell, Jonathan Demme, Paul W.S. Anderson, Patrice Leconte, and Barbet Schroeder. Her films have won three Oscars and received 16 nominations as well as 18 Golden Globe nominations and two wins. At Paramount Classics, she released such award-winning films as The Virgin Suicides, Sunshine, You Can Count on Me, Sidewalks of New York, Bloody Sunday, Mostly Martha, The Singing Detective, Enduring Love, The Machinist, Mad Hot Ballroom, and Hustle & Flow. Fine Line produced and distributed such highlights of independent film as the Academy Award-winning Shine; The Sweet Hereafter; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Twelfth Night; Gummo; and The Winter Guest. Vitale also served as President of UBU Productions' feature film division from 1988 to 1991. Among other positions, she was Senior Vice President of Production for United Artists, where she oversaw production on Child's Play, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and Roadhouse. As President of Production for Vestron Pictures, she broke ground with the highest-grossing independent film of the time, Dirty Dancing. She was also Director of Acquisitions for The Movie Channel. Most recently, Vitale was President of First Look Pictures and the owner of The Film Collective, a consultancy business that helps financiers and companies with the strategic planning for their films in the worldwide marketplace from development and production through distribution. Vitale is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Larry Albucher (Physical Production Mentor)
Larry Albucher has had a long career in all aspects of physical production, serving as former Vice President of Feature Production at Paramount Pictures, Vice President of Production at Columbia Pictures Television and as a unit production manager/assistant director for over 30 years.