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School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

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Theodore Braun, M.F.A.

Professor of Cinematic Arts
Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics

Affiliated Divisions:

John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television

Work Phone: 213.740.3309
Office: SCA 335

Writer-director Ted Braun’s critically acclaimed first feature film, Darfur Now won the NAACP Image Award for best documentary of 2007 and was named one of 2007’s top five documentaries by the National Board of Review.and the Broadcast Critics Association.  The film was produced by the Academy Award™ winning producer of Crash, Cathy Schulman, Academy Award™ nominee Don Cheadle, and three-time Academy Award™ winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris. Warner Brothers distributed Darfur Now worldwide and financed along with Participant Media, which spearheaded a global social action campaign.

For his work writing and directing the film, the International Documentary Association awarded Braun their 2007 Emerging Filmmaker of the Year.  In addition, the Winter 2008 issue of Movie Maker Magazine named him, along with Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, and Robert Redford one of 25 filmmakers whose work has changed the world.

Since then he’s continued to work in non-fiction across documentary and scripted forms with a focus on global conflict.  His most recent feature documentary Betting On Zero, explores the high stakes battle between hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman and Herbalife and was produced by Glen Zipper, producer of the Academy Award™ winning feature documentary, Undefeated.  Betting On Zero premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival in the World Doc Competition where it received a special jury mention for investigative work.  The film was the number four documentary on iTunes for 2017,  is 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and was nominated for a WGA award for best feature documentary screenplay of 2017.

Prior to Darfur Now, Braun wrote and directed award winning short form fictional films and documentaries for HBO, PBS, A&E and The Discovery Channel on topics ranging from test pilots of aviation’s golden age to the battle for the rights of the developmentally disabled.

Braun taught screenwriting at Amherst College (the first to do so) before joining the faculty at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts where he teaches screenwriting and is the Joseph Campbell Endowed Chair in Cinematic Ethics. He’s a recipient of the University’s Phi Kappa Phi faculty recognition award.  He regularly lectures, conducts seminars, and serves as a consultant internationally and in the US. His students have won or been nominated for some of the most prestigious cinema and television prizes: Academy Awards, the Palme d’Or, Emmys, Sundance Festival Awards, and European Media Prizes.   In their April 2018 Report on the Best Film Schools, Variety Magazine named him one of world’s ten Top Teachers in Film and TV.