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A Tribute to Dino De Laurentiis Panel Discussion and Dedication Ceremony for the Dino & Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professorship

April 1, 2012, 5:00 P.M.

Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall, 3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The School of Cinematic Arts and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative invites you and a guest to attend

A Tribute to Dino De Laurentiis

Panel Discussion and Dedication of the Dino & Martha De Laurentiis
Endowed Professorship


Must attend the panel discussion in order to attend the reception. Wristbands will be given out at the check-in desk at the start of the panel.


5:00 PM: Welcome Remarks by School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, USC Trustee Frank Price and Martha De Laurentiis, President of the Dino De Laurentiis Company

5:10 PM: Dedication of the Dino & Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professorship and Installation Ceremony for Professor Mary J. Sweeney

5:20 PM: Panel Discussion with Martha De Laurentiis, Raffaella De Laurentiis, Michael Mann, Jonathan Mostow and Arnold Schwarzenegger, moderated by SCA Director of Progamming, Alessandro Ago

6:15 PM: Catered Reception in Queen's Courtyard

About Dino De Laurentiis

Dino De Laurentiis was born in Torre Annunziata, a province of Naples, in 1919. As a teenager he worked as a sales representative for his father, who owned a small pasta factory. But while food would be one of his great loves, his first grand passion was for the cinema.

With the fearlessness and the indefatigable energy that he would be known for his entire life and career, De Laurentiis produced his first movie at the age of 21, L’ultimo Combattimento (1940) and later his first success, Bitter Rice (1949). He would go on to produce countless of films in his homeland in the next three decades, and alongside such figures as Carlo Ponti, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini, he revitalized Italian cinema, winning accolades and Oscars for films such as La Strada (1956) and Nights of Cabiria (1957).

In 1973, at the age of 54 and with a string of successes that would have satisfied any lesser man, Dino instead chose to begin again in America. It was during this time that he made his mark in Hollywood, with acclaimed films such as The Valachi Papers (1971), Serpico (1973), Death Wish (1974), Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Shootist (1976), Ragtime (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982), and Blue Velvet (1986). Beside these famous films Dino also became known for such commercial successes and cult favorites as: Barbarella (1968), King Kong (1976), Dune (1984), Flash Gordon (1980) and Manhunter (1986), and worked with such directors as Ridley Scott, David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, the Wachowski Brothers, Jonathan Mostow and David Lynch. His later films include U-571 (2000), Hannibal (2001), Red Dragon (2002), Hannibal Rising (2007), The Last Legion (2007), and Virgin Territory (2007).

Dino’s career spanned more than seven decades and over 600 movies. He also built film studios: the Dinocitta (Dino’s city) just outside of Rome; Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast of Australia; North Carolina Film Studios (AKA Screen Gem Studios) in Wilmington, North Carolina; and the CLA De Laurentiis Studios in Ouarzazate Morocco. And throughout it all was his indomitable spirit, the same verve and dynamism that would constantly push him “faster, faster; higher, higher.”

Dino died on November 10, 2010 at the age of 91 in his home in Beverly Hills. And earlier on that very day he had a full day of meetings: one for rebooting his favorite character Barbarella, and the other to open Italian restaurants in China.

“I am a man of three ‘Cs:’ Cervello, Cuore, Coglioni.” – Dino De Laurentiis

About Martha De Laurentiis, President of the Dino De Laurentiis Company

Martha De Laurentiis joined the Dino De Laurentiis Company (DDLC) in 1980 after five years as an auditor on films and television in New York City. Over the past 31 years working side by side with her now deceased husband, Dino De Laurentiis, Martha is globally recognized as producing over 40 films and miniseries. DDLC has overseen the construction and management of three major international film studios - the Screen Gem Studios in Wilmington, NC; the Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast in Australia and the CLA-De Laurentiis studios located in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

DDLC is based on the Universal lot where it has a first-look deal and is developing numerous projects in varied genres including a remake of BARBARELLA, the feature film based on the popular television series MACGYVER, Richard Kadrey’s SANDMAN SLIM, Stephen King’s FIRESTARTER, and the futuristic thriller THE 7TH DAY from the writer of SOURCE CODE.

In the television area it has recently announced an arrangement with Gaumont International to produce a TV series based on the iconic Hannibal Lecter.

About Mary J. Sweeney, Dino & Martha De Laurentiis Endowed Professor

Director/Writer/Producer/Editor, Professor Sweeney is a long time collaborator of David Lynch. Beginning with BLUE VELVET (1986,) she edited TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME (1990,) LOST HIGHWAY (1997,) THE STRAIGHT STORY (2000,) and MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001,) for which she won the British Academy Award for Best Editing. Sweeney’s producing credits date to 1994 with NADJA, directed by Michael Almereyda, and include LOST HIGHWAY, THE STRAIGHT STORY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE and INLAND EMPIRE, directed by Lynch. In addition to producing and editing, she wrote the screenplay for THE STRAIGHT STORY, which earned Richard Farnsworth an Academy Award nomination.

Her directorial debut, Baraboo, which she also edited, is based on her original screenplay. Baraboo has been awarded a prize for Best First Feature at the Galway Film Festival, and a jury prize for Best Director and Best Feature at the Wisconsin Film Festival. Sweeney is an Associate Professor of Screenwriting at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is a Trustee of the Board of Film Independent, sponsor of the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

About the Panelists


The daughter of legendary filmmaker Dino De Laurentiis and the highly acclaimed Italian actress Silvana Mangano, Raffaella grew up surrounded by the film business. Knowing early on that she wanted to be a producer, her father hired her at fifteen as an assistant in props and set dressing on one of his films. He knew that if she was serious about her career aspirations, she must understand the function of each position on a film set. From there she rose rapidly, working on Luchino Visconti’s Ludwig, a period tale of a mad Bavarian king that starred her mother, Helmut Bergher, and Romy Schneider, as well as Hurricane, her father’s epic film that involved building massive sets and accommodations in Tahiti. The intensive production experience led to her next film Beyond the Reef, filmed also in Tahiti utilizing the same sets and new hotel and marked her first credit as a producer.

In 1981, De Laurentiis produced the highly successful Conan The Barbarian for Universal, which launched the acting career of Arnold Schwarzenegger and four years later, made the sequel, Conan The Destroyer. Other credits for the talented producer include David Lynch’s Dune, shot in Mexico City, and Tai-Pan, the first American film to be made in China. Following Tai-Pan, she spent 18 months as head of production at the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. During that period, De Laurentiis supervised numerous films for D.E.G., such as Weeds, Crimes Of The Heart, Hiding Out, Earth Girls Are Easy and Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Eager to get back to “hands-on” production work, De Laurentiis formed Raffaella Productions in 1987,
producing Prancer, Time Bomb and Trading Mom with Sissy Spacek and Anna Chlumsky. When she made Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story in 1993, it marked the beginning of her association with director Rob Cohen and has led to their continued collaboration on Dragonheart with Dennis Quaid and Daylight with Sylvester Stallone for which she served as executive producer. Among her other executive producer credits are Ron Howard’s Backdraft and several movies for television, including the action-packed Vanishing Son series.

In 1997, De Laurentiis produced Kull the Conqueror, which marked the feature film debut of director John Nicolella and star Kevin Sorbo. Filmed in Slovakia and Croatia, this marked De Laurentiis’ second production in Eastern Europe. She then remained in the United States for her next two projects, first The Guardian, a television pilot directed by Rob Cohen for Universal/NBC, on which she was executive producer, followed by the action film, Black Dog, directed by Kevin Hooks and starring Patrick Swayze.

De Laurentiis returned to Slovakia in 1999, producing Dragonheart: A New Beginning, a direct-to-video sequel to Dragonheart, directed by Doug Lefler, and again in 2001 to executive produce the NBC miniseries, Uprising, with Jon Avnet. Uprising stars LeeLee Sobieski, Hank Azaria, David Schwimmer, Jon Voight and Donald Sutherland. Also in 2001, she returned to her love of family fare and executive produced Prancer Returns, a direct-to-video sequel to her holiday film, Prancer, directed by Joshua Butler and starring John Corbett, Stacy Edwards and Jack Palance.

In 2004, De Laurentiis continued her association with Jon Avnet on the visual effects laden feature film, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, as Executive Producer. Helmed by first-time director, Kerry Conran, this retro sci-fi adventure stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Angelina Jolie. Following Sky Captain, De Laurentiis produced the Roman epic, The Last Legion, on which she reunited with director Doug Lefler. The film was shot in Tunisia and Slovakia and stars Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley, and the queen of Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai.  

Most recently, De Laurentiis returned to China as Executive Producer of The Forbidden Kingdom, a motion picture that teams martial arts stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li together for the first time. The Forbidden Kingdom, directed by Rob Minkoff, was released in April 2008. Currently, she is in active development on the feature films, MacGyver, based on the popular television series of the same name, What Happened To Monday?, with Vendome Pictures, Four Seasons, based on the life of the composer, Antonio Vivaldi, Killer Pizza, which she is producing with the Korean company, CJ Entertainment, and 1492 Productions and the musical, coming-of-age fantasy, The Girl Who Became The Beatles.

De Laurentiis, who is a citizen of Monaco, was born in Rome and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, film producer Buzz Feitshans. When she is not required to be away from Los Angeles filming, De Laurentiis is a recurring guest on her niece Giada De Laurentiis’ cooking programs, Everyday Italian and Giada At Home, as well as a guest instructor for film production classes at USC’s Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing Masters Program.


Michael Mann is an acclaimed filmmaker recognized for innovative and successful motion pictures and television.  Mann directed the pilot for and is executive producing HBO's new series "Luck," a provocative drama set in the world of horse racing.  Mann's first work in television was to direct and co-write 1979's "The Jericho Mile," which won four Emmys(r) and a Directors Guild Award.  Mann's other work in television includes executive producing "Miami Vice" and "Crime Story."  Mann made his feature directorial debut with "Thief," following it with acclaimed films such as "The Last of the Mohicans," "Heat" and "The Insider," which received seven Academy Award(r) nominations, "Ali," "Collateral" and "Public Enemies."  Films he has produced include "Hancock" and "The Aviator" with 11 Academy Award(r) nominations and five wins.


Jonathan Mostow made his theatrical motion picture debut as writer and director of the critically-acclaimed thriller Breakdown, starring Kurt Russell, which debuted atop the U.S. box office its opening weekend. He followed with another #1 box office success -- the WWII submarine adventure U-571, starring Matthew McConaughey and Harvey Keitel, which garnered two Academy Award nominations. Next, Mostow directed the international blockbuster Terminator 3:  Rise Of The Machines, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the science fiction thriller Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis.  

For television, Mostow directed Tom Hanks in La Voyage Dans La Lune, the finale episode of HBO’s Emmy Award winning mini-series From The Earth To The Moon. His first feature-length production, the Showtime thriller Flight of Black Angel, earned a CableACE nomination for Best International Movie or Special.

As a producer, Mr. Mostow’s credits include the Michael Douglas - Sean Penn thriller The Game, the Will Smith smash Hancock and the upcoming romantic comedy Playing the Field, starring Gerard Butler, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Mr. Mostow’s next film in theaters will be the Jennifer Lawrence thriller House at the End of the Street, for which he wrote the story.


Alessandro Ago is the Director of Programming and Special Projects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he programs film screenings, festivals, guest speakers and special events. In addition to programming the popular undergraduate courses Theatrical Film Symposium, taught by Leonard Maltin, and Television Symposium, taught by Howard Rosenberg, Ago curates Outside the Box [Office], a screening series dedicated to bringing new international, documentary and independent cinema to USC. He oversees Visions and Voices programming for the School of Cinematic Arts and has produced festivals celebrating the work of John Wayne, Roger Corman, Costa Gavras, Maurice Jarre, Albert Broccoli and the James Bond franchise, as well as world cinema showcases focusing on Japan, Italy, Bollywood and the Middle East.

Ago has taught two undergraduate courses for the SCA Summer Program: Transnational Nightmares and Filmmaking, Italian Style. He co-produced the 2006 & 2007 editions of Los Angeles - Italia: The Film, Fashion and Art Fest at Mann's Chinese 6-plex, as well as the 2006 Capri - Hollywood Film Festival in Capri, Italy. He also works for the Sundance Institute in the International Narrative department, helping to evaluate films for competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

Both an Italian and American citizen, he grew up in Washington D.C. and Rome, Italy. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts' Critical Studies division.

About A Tribute to Dino De Laurentiis

Hollywood icon and international legend Dino De Laurentiis was one of the most prolific and respected producers in film history when he passed away in 2010 at the age of 91. From his early neorealist masterpieces, Bitter Rice and Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria and La Strada, for which he received an Academy Award, to big-budget spectaculars like Barbarella, King Kong, Dune and Conan the Barbarian, to his recent reinvention of the Hannibal Lecter franchise, De Laurentiis’s career spanned 73 years in the film industry. With the support and guidance of the De Laurentiis family, the School of Cinematic Arts will pay homage to the exceptional variety and longevity that marked his career with screenings of his films and a panel discussion featuring his friends, family and colleagues.

To view the calendar of screenings, visit

About the Endowed Professorship

The academic tradition of endowed positions dates back to 1502, when Margaret of Richmond, mother of Henry VII, established the Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity at Oxford University. More than 200 years later, the first endowed position was established in America: the Hollis Professorship of Divinity created in 1721 at Harvard College. Both positions remain endowed today, supporting the work of new generations of distinguished professors.

There is perhaps no more prestigious or permanent investment in any university than an endowed position. Endowed positions constitute a powerful means of attracting and retaining superior faculty members by providing a permanent source of financial support for salaries and academic activities. For students, these endowed positions provide an opportunity to study under the guidance of a world-class scholar. And of course, they help to immortalize the individual or company whose name is permanently linked to the position, providing a highly visible form of recognition that lives on from generation to generation. The School of Cinematic Arts holds the record for any U.S. school specializing in the cinematic arts, with 18 endowed faculty positions.

Check-In & Reservations

FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. RSVPS REQUIRED. Must attend the panel discussion in order to attend the reception. Wristbands will be given out at the check-in desk at the start of the panel.

Please bring a valid ID or print out of your reservation confirmations, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making RSVPs through this website.

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.

Expect Traffic Delays

Due to the filming of the Kids Choice Awards on Saturday March 31, expect traffic delays on Jefferson Blvd., Figueroa St., and Flower St. between Exposition Blvd. and Jefferson Blvd. on Friday, March 30 - Sunday, April 1st. Please allow extra time to get to screenings.

Important Closures: ALL northbound lanes of Figueroa St. from Exposition Blvd. to Jefferson Blvd. will be closed for the weekend. ALL eastbound lanes of Jefferson Blvd. from Figueroa St. to Flower St. will be closed Saturday and Sunday.

About Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative

Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC's strategic plan, to communicate USC's core values to students, and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university's commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC's core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one's community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.

For more information, visit

With the generous support and collaboration of the
Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles
A Tribute to Dino De Laurentiis is produced by Alessandro Ago,
Director of Programming, USC School of Cinematic Arts
Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago