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TERROR: On the Screen / On the Ground

February 6, 2014, 7:00 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

CREATE (National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events)
and The USC School of Cinematic Arts invite you to attend a special panel discussion

Terror: On the Screen / On the Ground

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM on Thursday, February 6th, 2014

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

CREATE (National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events), in partnership with the USC School of Cinematic Arts, presents a dynamic, moderated discussion on the state of Terrorism; how it’s portrayed in film and television and what’s current in the real world.

Panelists will include writers of film and television, including Homeland Writer/Executive Producer ALEX CARY, 24: Live Another Day Executive Producer/Showrunner EVAN KATZ, and Author/Screenwriter/Playright LAWRENCE WRIGHT, along with two former seasoned FBI agents: RANDY PARSONS (20 year FBI veteran/current Director of Security, Port of Long Beach) and DR. ERROLL G. SOUTHERS (FBI Counterterrorism & SWAT/current USC professor, author). This discussion will take a look at how terrorism is depicted in media and give insights into the real world of combatting terrorism, radicalization, torture and other tactics. The discussion will be moderated by BONNIE REISS, Global Director, USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

Scenes from a variety of films that illustrate topics such as radicalization, torture and suicide bombings will be screened and discussed by a panel of experts from the film industry and the counter-terrorism field. This event will be both educational and entertaining while examining the effect of dramatization on the realistic portrayal of the serious and chilling subject of terrorism. This process affords participants insight into the real world of combatting terrorism as well as how film research and story-telling is conducted in these topic areas.


About the Panelists

ALEX CARY (Writer/Executive Producer, Homeland)

Alex Cary was raised in London, spent seven years in the military, and came to Los Angeles fresh from the Gulf War in search of a career in TV & Film. In 2007, he was staffed on FX’s The Riches, then went on to USA’s In Plain Sight, before being hired on Fox’s Lie To Me, where he started as a story editor, quickly graduated to executive producer and finally showrunner - all in one season. Alex is now in his third season as an Executive Producer of Homeland.

EVAN KATZ (Executive Producer/Showrunner, 24: Live Another Day)

Evan Katz is an Executive Producer and showrunner on 24: Live Another Day. As one of the series’ longest-tenured writers and producers, Evan previously received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as a Writers Guild of America Award for the first episode he wrote for the series, "Day 2:  7:00 pm - 8:00 pm."

Recently, Evan worked on the critically acclaimed FOX series Awake, and was the Showrunner and Executive Producer of the NBC series The Event, as well as ABC’s Body Of Proof.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Evan received a bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California.

RANDY D. PARSONS (Director of Security, Port of Long Beach, California)

Randy D. Parsons is the Director of Security for the Port of Long Beach, California. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) executive and FBI veteran was named to the post October 15, 2012, by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, the Port's five-member governing body. The Port's executive staff conducted an extensive nationwide search to identify the top candidate to fill the position that had been vacant since the retirement of Cosmo Perrone in May 2011.
As head of the Security Division for the nation's second-busiest seaport, Mr. Parsons oversees more than 80 security personnel, including Harbor Patrol officers, and he directs the Homeland Security Program for the 3,000-acre Port complex, including 24-hour patrols, anti-terrorism programs and security coverage. The Port has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade security in the last decade with a combination of high-tech "domain-awareness" systems and highly trained personnel. The Division also fosters cooperation among the law enforcement and security agencies in the Port complex, including the Long Beach Police Department, the Port of Los Angeles, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Marine Exchange and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Mr. Parsons has had a distinguished and varied career in counterterrorism, transportation security, education and law enforcement. He joined TSA as the Federal Security Director at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in March 2009. In August 2010, he moved into the same position at Los Angeles International Airport where he served until coming to the Port.
After retiring from the FBI in 2005 after 20 years of service, Mr. Parsons worked in the private sector before joining TSA. He was Vice President and in-house consultant for the AECOM global consortium of companies providing architectural, design and engineering services to diverse critical infrastructure clients. He also founded Global Strategic Solutions, LLC, providing consultation for strategic policy, planning and development within a variety of risk environments to governmental and private sector clientele.
His last assignment with the FBI was as the Special Agent in Charge for the Counterterrorism Program in the Los Angeles office. He led four Joint Terrorism Task Forces and directed the operational readiness of personnel and systems for crisis response.
He began his career in Topeka, Kansas, as a police officer, then as an Associate Professor in the Criminal Justice Department of Washburn University and finally as an attorney in private practice before joining the FBI in 1985. He remains an active member of the Kansas Bar.
Randy Parsons earned his Juris Doctorate degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He is currently a member of the adjunct facility at the USC Sol Price School of Planning and a member of the Government Advisory Committee for USC's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events.
He has also been a guest lecturer/presenter at Cornell School of Law, Pepperdine University, USC and the Center for Asymmetric Warfare and has published a number of articles on emergency preparedness, response, recovery and transportation security.
No stranger to the Port of Long Beach, he was a charter member and first co-chair of the Area Maritime Security Committee for the Port Complex at Long Beach/Los Angeles. He serves as an executive board member for the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles Area Maritime Security Committee, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the LAX Security Advisory Council and was appointed in 2011 to the Los Angeles Mayor's Blue Ribbon Panel on Aviation Security.
Mr. Parsons is originally from Winfield, Kansas. He is married, with one child, and now makes his home in Lomita. Entering its second century of service, The Port of Long Beach is the second-busiest seaport in the United States, a primary gateway for transpacific trade and a trailblazer in innovative goods movement, safety and environmental stewardship. The Port is served by 140 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports around the world. Customer and community service is at the core of the Port's operations, and, year after year, industry leaders name Long Beach the best seaport in North America. A major economic engine for the region, the Port handles trade valued at more than $150 billion each year and supports hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs. A $4.5 billion capital improvement  program in underway to support Port growth and strengthen its ability to eclipse new competition, serve the goods-movement industry, Port clients and the community.

DR. ERROLL G. SOUTHERS (Associate Director of Research Transition at CREATE)

Dr. Erroll G. Southers is the Associate Director of Research Transition at the Department of Homeland Security National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). He was President Barack Obama’s first nominee for Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary, and he was also California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure of the California Office of Homeland Security. Dr. Southers also previously enjoyed the distinction of FBI Special Agent and SWAT team member, Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for LAX police department, as well as a Santa Monica Police Officer.

Professor Southers holds roles throughout the international counterterrorism and national security arena. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, where he developed the Executive Program in Counterterrorism. He is also: a Visiting Fellow and member of the Professional Advisory Board of the International Institute of Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel; a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Homeland Security Project; a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs; and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) at Rutgers University. He is also the Managing Director of the Counter-Terrorism and Infrastructure Protection Division for TAL Global Corporation, an international security consulting firm. Dr. Southers received his bachelor's degree from Brown University, and he holds masters and doctoral degrees in public policy from USC.

LAWRENCE WRIGHT (Author, Screenwriter, Playwright, Staff Writer for The New Yorker magazine)

Lawrence Wright is a graduate of Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the American University in Cairo, where he taught English and received an M.A. in Applied Linguistics in 1969. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1971, Wright began his writing career at the Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tennessee. Two years later, he went to work for Southern Voices, a publication of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, Georgia, and began to freelance for various national magazines. In 1980, Wright returned to Texas to work for Texas Monthly. He also became a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In December 1992, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, where he has published a number of notable articles, which have won the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, Overseas Press Club's Ed Cunningham Award for best magazine reporting, and two National Magazine Awards.

Wright is the co-writer (with Ed Zwick and Menno Meyjes) of The Siege, starring Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis and Annette Bening, which appeared in November 1998. He also wrote the script of the Showtime movie, Noriega: God's Favorite, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Bob Hoskins, which aired in April 2000.

His history of al-Qaeda, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006) was published to immediate and widespread acclaim, spending eight weeks on The New York Times best seller list and being translated into twenty-five languages. It was nominated for the National Book Award and won the Lionel Gelber Award for nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Award for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism, and the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Time Magazine pronounced it one of the 100 best nonfiction books ever written.

In 2006, he premiered his one-man play, "My Trip to al-Qaeda," at The New Yorker Festival, and then enjoyed a sold-out six-week run at the Culture Project in Soho. It was made into a documentary film, directed by Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney, which appeared on HBO in the fall of 2010. Wright also performed another one-man show, "The Human Scale," concerning the standoff between Israel and Hamas over the abduction of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The Public Theater produced the play, which ran for a month off-Broadway in 2010 and for a week at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Wright has published six previous books. City Children, Country Summer (Scribner's, 1979), In the New World: Growing Up with America, 1960-1984 (Knopf, 1988), Saints & Sinners (Knopf, 1993), Remembering Satan (Knopf, 1994), Twins: Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997; Wiley & Sons, 1998), and God's Favorite (Simon & Schuster, 2000).

Wright’s latest book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, was published by Knopf on Jan. 17, 2013. It is based on a profile he wrote of the writer-director Paul Haggis in The New Yorker, which won the National Magazine Award in 2012.

In the spring of 2013, the Berkeley Repertory Theater produced Wright's play about Oriana Fallaci, "Fallaci," directed by Oskar Eustis. In 2014, the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, will premiere his play "Camp David," about the 1978 Carter-Begin-Sadat summit.

Wright is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, Who Do.

About the Moderator

BONNIE REISS (Global Director, USC Schwarzenegger Institute)

Bonnie Reiss, a dynamic and accomplished attorney, advocate and strategist was named the Global Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute in 2012. She has a remarkable career having worked in the public sector for U.S. Senators and Presidents and founded and served as CEO for three national nonprofit organizations. She was a highly respected entertainment attorney and utilized her legal and accounting background to the benefit of many corporate boards she served on or advised.

She served as Senior Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger from 2003-2007, advising on all major policy initiatives, budget and political strategy and served on the California State Board of Education from 2003-2005. In 2009 she stepped in to serve as California Secretary of Education for the final year of Governor Schwarzenegger's term of office. She currently serves on the University of California Board of Regents, and the University of Miami President's Council.


Established in 2004, CREATE is an interdisciplinary national research center based at the University of Southern California in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Viterbi School of Engineering and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Center is focused on risk and economic analysis of the U.S. and comprises a team of experts from across the country, including partnerships with numerous universities and research institutions.

CREATE's mission is to improve our Nation's security through the development of advanced models and tools for the evaluation of the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism and to guide economically viable investments in homeland security.

Visit their website at:

Check-In & Reservations

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC or State 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.

All SCA events 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 $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in Lot M at 34th & Watt Way, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago