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An Evening with AMPAS Presidents Sid Ganis and Thomas Sherak

May 6, 2010, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The School of Cinematic Arts invites you and a guest to attend

An Evening with AMPAS Presidents
Sid Ganis and Thomas Sherak

Moderated by SCA Summer Programs Director David Weitzner

Former AMPAS president Sid Ganis and current AMPAS president Thomas Sherak will discuss the work of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including the behind-the-scenes of the annual Academy Awards, the Academy's outreach and restoration projects and the resources available to SCA students.

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, May 6th

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
School of Cinematic Arts Complex

Open to all USC Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni


About Sid Ganis

Sid Ganis founded Out of the Blue… Entertainment in 1996 following a distinguished career as an executive at several major studios. Based at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, Out of the Blue… most recently produced the Lionsgate/2929 feature film Akeelah and the Bee, in association with Reactor Films. Written and directed by Doug Atchison and starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, and Keke Palmer, Akeelah and the Bee tells the heartwarming story of a young girl's journey to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, uniting her family and community along the way.

In 2005, Mr. Ganis was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and completed the maximum of four, year-long terms. He now serves as Immediate Past President.

Out of the Blue Entertainment found box office success with its first two productions: Columbia Pictures' Big Daddy, starring Adam Sandler, and Touchstone Pictures' Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Out of the Blue enjoyed continued success with Columbia Pictures' Mr. Deeds, starring Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder, and The Master of Disguise, starring Dana Carvey.

Prior to founding Out of the Blue…, Mr. Ganis held various positions at Sony Pictures, including Vice Chairman of Columbia Pictures and President of Worldwide Marketing for Columbia/Tristar Motion Picture Companies.

Before joining Sony Pictures Mr. Ganis served for five years at Paramount Pictures. As President of the Motion Picture Group he green-lit the box-office hit Ghost and purchased the rights to Winston Groom's novel Forrest Gump, which would go on to win six Academy Awards including Best Picture. Previously, Mr. Ganis served as Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm, Ltd., working closely with George Lucas on the production and marketing of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and other films. Mr. Ganis won an Emmy for producing the behind-the-scenes documentary The Making Of Raiders….

Mr. Ganis serves on the boards of FIND (Film Independent), the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, and the San Francisco Film Society. In addition Mr. Ganis served on the board of trustees of the American Film Institute (AFI) and, up until its sale to Disney on Dec. 31, '09, served on the board of Marvel Entertainment for 10 years.

About Thomas Sherak

Thomas Sherak, whose remarkable career has seen him at the pinnacle of motion picture marketing, distribution and production, is now serving as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is also consulting for Marvel Studios and Relativity Media.

Previously, Sherak was a partner at Revolution Studios. In its seven years of operation, Revolution Studios released more than thirty films, including America's Sweethearts, Black Hawk Down, XXX, Anger Management, Daddy Day Care, Hellboy, 13 Going On 30, White Chicks, The Forgotten, Christmas with the Kranks, Are We There Yet?, Rent, The Benchwarmers, Click, Rocky Balboa and Across the Universe.

Prior to joining Revolution Studios, Sherak was Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Domestic Film Group. In addition, Sherak served as Senior Executive Vice President of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Previously, he was Senior Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox.

At Twentieth Century Fox, Sherak oversaw the distribution and post-production of such films as Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition, Mrs. Doubtfire, True Lies, Speed, Independence Day, Broken Arrow, Dr. Dolittle, The X-Files, and Star Wars: Episode 1–The Phantom Menace.

In 1990 Sherak was named Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox. Previously, he was President of Domestic Distribution and Marketing for Twentieth Century Fox from May 1983 to September 1984, and again from June 1986 to July 1990. In that position, he supervised the company's domestic distribution, advertising/publicity/promotion operations and the non-theatrical film division. He has overseen the marketing and distribution of such films as Romancing the Stone, Commando, Aliens, The Fly, Broadcast News, Predator, Wall Street, Die Hard, Working Girl, The War of the Roses, Die Hard 2, Home Alone, Edward Scissorhands and Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Sherak joined Fox from General Cinema, where he was Vice President and head film buyer.

Sherak began his career in the film industry at Paramount Pictures in 1970 where he worked in the New York, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis distribution offices.  

He is an active board member of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society, Fulfillment Fund of Southern California, Southern California Variety – the Children's Charity, a former Chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation and formerly on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Sherak has also previously served as Treasurer of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Sherak holds a degree in Marketing from New York City Community College and is on the faculty of the UCLA Producers Program.

About David Weitzner

Overseeing over 30 classes covering all aspects of filmmaking, writing, producing, and the business of film and the most cutting edge digital technologies, Summer Program Director David Weitzner brings with him a wealth of experience as a leading entertainment marketer, and as an adjunct instructor teaching in the Business of Entertainment program to the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

From the marketing campaigns of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the original Star Wars and Alien, to overseeing Warner Bros. and ABC Pictures entertainment business as vice president and general manager of the Entertainment and Leisure Division of Grey Advertising in New York, Weitzner’s illustrious 40-year plus career includes roles as a consultant, strategist, and lecturer. He has been consistently recognized by the City of Los Angeles for his work and civic contributions, and is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Prior to establishing his own global marketing company where his clients ranged from PepsiCo to the WB Network, Weitzner served as president, Worldwide Marketing for 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Embassy Pictures and Palomar Pictures. In the same position at MCA/Universal Studios Recreation Services Group, his team was responsible for the company's theme parks and Universal CityWalk and coined the term "ride the movies" to describe King Kong and the other film-inspired attractions that grew to become the most popular in the park.

Check & Reservations

This event is free of charge and open to USC students, faculty, staff and alumni ONLY. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Phone: 213.740.2330