January 22, 2012, 2:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


The SCA Alumni Screening Series and Universal Pictures invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of

Big Miracle

Directed by SCA Alumnus Ken Kwapis
Screenplay by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler
Based on the book “Freeing the Whales”
by journalist Thomas Rose
Followed by a Q&A with Ken Kwapis
2:00 P.M. on Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The Ray Stark Family Theatre

George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

In Theaters February 3rd

About Big Miracle

Inspired by the incredible true story that touched the world, the rescue adventure Big Miracle tells the amazing tale of an animal-loving volunteer (Golden Globe winner DREW BARRYMORE of 50 First Dates, He’s Just Not That Into You) and a small-town news reporter (JOHN KRASINSKI of The Office, It’s Complicated) who are joined by a native Alaskan boy (newcomer AHMAOGAK SWEENEY) to rally an entire community—and eventually rival world superpowers—to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Barrow newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski) can’t wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska for a bigger market. But just when the story of his career breaks, the world comes chasing it too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists descending upon the frigid outpost to get their moment in the midnight sun, the one person who occupies Adam the most is Rachel Kramer (Barrymore). Not only is she an outspoken environmentalist, she also happens to be his ex-girlfriend.

With time running out, Rachel, Adam and Nathan (Sweeney), an 11-year-old native Alaskan boy who learns to connect with his people and his culture, must rally an unlikely coalition of locals, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and unite for a purpose they all believe in: freeing the whales in record time. As the Alaskans frantically try to dig miles of holes on one side of the ice and a Soviet icebreaker pushes inland on the other, they must perform the virtually impossible to bridge a four-mile gap. And if they miraculously succeed, the trapped whales will be freed to the safety of open sea to begin their 5,000-mile annual migration. 

As the world’s attention turns to the top of the globe for two weeks, saving these endangered animals becomes a shared cause for nations entrenched against one another and leads to an unexpected, momentary thaw in the Cold War.

Provided courtesy of Universal Pictures. Rated PG. Running time: 101 minutes.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.


About the Guest

KEN KWAPIS (Director)

Ken Kwapis is an award-winning director who has moved easily between the worlds of feature filmmaking and television directing. Big Miracle is Kwapis’ 10th feature film. His most recent film was He’s Just Not That Into You, adapted from Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s nonfiction best seller. The movie’s all-star ensemble included Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson and Justin Long.

Kwapis’ other features include the critically acclaimed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, based on Ann Brashares’ best-selling young adult novel and starring Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera and Blake Lively; License to Wed, starring Robin Williams, John Krasinski and Mandy Moore; The Beautician and the Beast, starring Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton; Dunston Checks In, starring Faye Dunaway and Jason Alexander; He Said, She Said, co-directed by Marisa Silver and starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins; and Vibes, starring Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Goldblum and Peter Falk. He made his feature directing debut in 1985 with Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, starring Jim Henson’s Muppets. Kwapis wrote and directed Sexual Life, loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s play La Ronde and starring Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington and Anne Heche. Sexual Life premiered at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.

For television, Kwapis helped launch seven series, including NBC’s Emmy Award-winning The Office. Kwapis received an Emmy nomination for the show’s third season premiere, “Gay Witch Hunt.” He also directed the 100th episode of the series, “Company Picnic.” Most recently, Kwapis was executive producer/director of the NBC comedy Outsourced, adapted from the 2006 feature film. Outsourced was developed through Kwapis’ production company In Cahoots. He also directed the pilots for such critically acclaimed series as HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show and FOX’s The Bernie Mac Show. He received an Emmy nomination in 2001 for his work as a producer/director on FOX’s Malcolm in the Middle.

Kwapis studied filmmaking at Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. He won the Student Academy Award® in Dramatic Achievement in 1982 for his USC thesis film For Heaven’s Sake, a contemporary adaptation of Mozart’s one-act opera “Der Schauspieldirektor” (“The Impresario”).

About the SCA Alumni Screening Series

The School of Cinematic Arts invites you to an exciting free screening series featuring a dynamic selection of new feature films by SCA alumni and faculty throughout the Spring 2012 semester. All screenings and events will be free of charge and open to the public, although we do ask for an electronic reservation for each screening, which can be made through the website for each individual screening. Many screenings will be overbooked to ensure that capacity is met in the theater. Some screenings will be run from digital sources.

To view the calendar for the SCA Alumni Screening Series, click here.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid 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 1:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


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