News from 2009

In Memoriam: Dan O'Bannon
Influential Horror/Sci-Fi Filmmaker
December 18, 2009

Alien screenwriter and USC alumnus Dan O’Bannon passed away on December 17 in Los Angeles. He was 63.

A Typical Semester...
SCA Welcomes Luminaries to Campus
December 15, 2009

In a typical semester, the School of Cinematic Arts welcomes a host of industry leaders and talented artists to campus. The 2009 fall semester has featured visits from influential figures such as Mel Brooks, Ed Catmull, Brad Grey, Hugh Hefner, Sumner Redstone, Steven Spielberg, and Matthew Weiner.

Mystified by Success
Ed Catmull, Pixar Co-Founder Speaks With Students
December 9, 2009

Dr. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and current president of both Pixar Animation and Walt Disney Animation Studios, spoke to a packed house in the Ray Stark Theatre on Monday, December 7.

In Memoriam: Herb Farmer
A Trojan For Over 70 Years
November 24, 2009

Dr. Herbert Farmer, archivist, professor emeritus and SCA alumnus, passed away Sunday, November 22.

Broccolis Endow Chair
Bond Producers Invest in the Future of Cinematic Arts
November 23, 2009

On the centennial of Cubby Broccoli's birth, family, friends and fans gathered to memorialize his legacy through the installment of Professor John Watson to the School of Cinematic Arts' 14th endowed chair.

2009 SCA Alphie Winners Announced
Two-minute stories based on the first weeks as a USC student
November 23, 2009

The winners of this year’s Alphie competition were announced today after a brief presentation and screening of all submissions. Open to all SCA freshmen, the Alphies is SCA’s new creative competition in which competitors create a two-minute visual story based on their first six weeks as a USC student.

CU: Michael Fimognari
Truth or Dare
November 15, 2009

Two-time Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Michael Fimognari ’02, has already made a name for himself as a versatile collaborator on a host of wildly different projects, shot all around the world. Joined by director Adam Salky, Fimognari recently screened one of his latest films, Dare, a charming and sexually frank story of three teenagers in their last semester of school, for students at USC.

Spielberg on Spielberg
Drew Casper's CTCS: 469
November 9, 2009

Steven Spielberg visited Dr. Drew Casper’s "Steven Spielberg" class on Wednesday, November 4.

CU: Christopher Baffa, ASC
Finding Glee in Cinematography
November 6, 2009

Christopher Baffa '90 has earned the ASC that now comes with his name. A credited director of photography since 1994, Baffa has been dubbed a "Cinematographer to Watch" by Daily Variety for his myriad accomplishments in television and film. Baffa spoke with us on a recent visit to campus.

Journaling from the Rome International Film Festival
November 4, 2009

Two weeks ago I got the chance to represent USC's School of Cinematic Arts, the John C. Hench Division of Animation, at the Rome International Film Festival. It was really quite the experience. Everywhere I looked there were food stands, red carpets, theaters and plenty of people speaking Italian, a language of which I understand very little.

SCA Presents: An Evening with Matthew Weiner
Part of the Fall '09 semester of CTCS-467: Television Symposium
November 4, 2009

SCA events presented An Evening with Matthew Weiner and AMC’s MAD MEN as part of the Fall '09 semester of CTCS-467: Television Symposium.

It’s All in Fun
Mel Brooks Speaks at Jack Oakie Masters Lecture Series
October 20, 2009

USC School of Cinematic Arts students were treated to an afternoon with Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning writer/producer/director/actor and master cat-screech expert Mel Brooks, as part of the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Masters Lecture Series.

Next Generation
Akira Mizuta Lippit Is New Critical Studies Chair
October 17, 2009

Thirty years ago, it was a different Lippit teaching at USC. Noriko Mizuta Lippit taught East Asian languages and culture and comparative literature, while her son, Akira Mizuta Lippit, a self-described "SC kid," got the lay of the land. He’d be back before long and now has the chance to further cement his family’s USC legacy as he continues his first semester as chair of the critical studies division.

Trojan Teamwork
First Team Brings SCA Alums Together
October 16, 2009

In an industry where countless opportunities come down to who-you-know, a new program has been introduced that will help Trojan alumni cultivate connections - First Team.

In Memoriam: Anne Friedberg
Internationally Renowned Visual Studies Scholar
October 12, 2009

Anne Friedberg, historian, theorist of modern media culture and School of Cinematic Arts professor, whose work pioneered the field of visual studies, passed away Friday, October 9, following a long struggle with colorectal cancer. She was 57.

Gold Standard
Six More Emmy Wins for SCA Alums
September 21, 2009

It was another banner year for SCA alumni at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards as five Trojans walked away with six of the coveted statuettes in honor of their hard work in television. To date, USC alumni have amassed 125 victories and 2009 marked the 34th consecutive year of Emmy wins by members of the SCA family.

Alumnus Elected WGAW President
John Wells Wins Second Term, David N. Weiss Elected Secretary-Treasurer
September 17, 2009

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) announced today that John Wells, Stark '82, has been elected president. Earning 52.8 percent of the vote, Wells ran against the Writers United slate, headed by presidential candidate Elias Davis.

In Memoriam: Richard Moore
Cinematographer and Co-Creator of Panavision
September 16, 2009

Richard Moore, USC alum, cinematographer and one of the pioneers of the widescreen 35mm Panavision film processes developed about fifty years ago, passed away in August. He was 83.

Star Treatment
Hollywood Honors SCA’s 80th
September 15, 2009

On September 10, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce gave the legendary Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame a special detour along 37th Street to honor the School of Cinematic Arts with a coveted star for its 80 years of contributions to film, television and interactive media.

In Memoriam: Pierre Cossette
Legendary Producer, Father of the Grammy Awards
September 11, 2009

Innovative producer, philanthropist and USC alumnus Pierre Cossette, whose career included successes across the entertainment spectrum, died Friday, September 11 at the age of 85.

Reality Ends for Old Instructional Building
First George Lucas Structure Gives Way to a Park
August 14, 2009

The George Lucas Instructional Building, cinematic home to thousands of students from 1984 until 2008, did not go quietly into that good night.

Animation Alumnus & Single Dad
Jose Olmos ’09 Makes Most of SCA
August 3, 2009

Jose Olmos ('09) is and isn't your typical Trojan. He is 41 and a single parent.

SCA Alumnus Wins Student Oscar
Film Addressing Slavery Takes Home Gold Medal
July 7, 2009

Writer/director Gregg Helvey, M.F.A. '09, has turned bricks into gold with his film Kavi, which won the gold medal for narrative short film at the 36th annual Student Academy Awards on June 13.

Different Strokes
Sofian Succeeds Smith As DADA Chair
June 29, 2009

Over the past 14 years the animation program at USC has gone from a handful of courses to becoming the first named division in the School of Cinematic Arts, offering both graduate and undergraduate degrees as well as a minor. This fall, that progression continues apace as Associate Professor Sheila Sofian takes over the chair of the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts (Hench DADA).

East Meets West
Celebrating the Japanese Publication of Squire's Book
June 18, 2009

East met West in terms of education, entertainment, global technology and a shared interest in their future when SCA Instructor of Cinema Practice Jason E. Squire traveled to Tokyo for two days of lectures and events celebrating the Japanese publication of his work "The Movie Business Book."

Interactive Showcase
M.F.A. Thesis Works Forge New Boundaries
May 28, 2009

When the Interactive Media Division presented its first master of fine arts thesis showcase in 2005, student projects set the precedent for challenging and propelling the bounds of game, immersive and mobile content. Taking place from May 9 to 15 on the Carson Sound Stage, ten titles in this year’s Look and Feel exhibit pushed those bounds to new creative frontiers.

Simply Mar-velous
Elepano Wins USC President's Award
May 21, 2009

In honor of over a quarter century of outstanding service to the school and the university, USC has bestowed one its highest honors upon Mar Elepaño,production supervisor in the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts.

Pomp and Circumstance
SCA Students Receive Hard-Earned Degrees
May 19, 2009

The energy couldn't have been much higher at the Shrine Auditorium on May 15, as the School of Cinematic Arts, with the help of industry greats Frank Price, Shonda Rhimes and Laura Ziskin, lauded its most recent graduating class and celebrated the next generation of entertainment artists and professionals.

Games Go Global
Susana Ruiz To Attend 2009 APRU Conference
May 18, 2009

Susana Ruiz, a Ph.D. candidate in the interdivisional Media Arts and Practice (iMAP) program, will take her unique expertise in designing games that address pressing social issues to Japan this summer, when she represents USC at the 2009 Doctoral Students Conference of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).

A Lasting Impression
Mary Beth Fielder wins 2008-2009 Mellon Mentoring Award
May 13, 2009

According to Greek mythology, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War, he entrusted the safety and upbringing of his son Telemachus to his wise friend Mentor. Though thousands of years have passed, the spirit of nurturing and inspiring others to succeed lives on in the USC Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring, which the university has conferred upon SCA Senior Lecturer Mary Beth Fielder.

Fast Talk
Students Make Most of First Pitch ’09
May 12, 2009

Representatives from 41 of the industry’s leading agencies, management firms and production companies got first crack at the latest scripts from SCA writing students on May 4, as 52 writers showcased tales from every genre during the eighth annual First Pitch event.

CU: Rian Johnson
A Filmmaker in Bloom
May 11, 2009

Rian Johnson, who seared his way into noir fans’ hearts with his award-winning debut film Brick, has sought inspiration in a new kind of criminal in his sophomore film, The Brothers Bloom starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Weisz.

In Memoriam: John Furia, Jr.
Founding Chair of the Writing Division, Union Activist
May 11, 2009

Venerated television and film writer John Furia, Jr., who founded the school's division of Writing for Screen & Television and was an ardent activist for writers across the industry, died Friday, May 9 at the age of 79.

Alex Richanbach
Summer Program Alumnus Finds Festival Success
May 4, 2009

Many people think of summer as the season to kick back and chill out. But aspiring filmmaker Alex Richanbach used his time at the School of Cinematic Arts 2008 Summer Program to shoot "Stealing Second," a comedy which has landed in three major film festivals and opened doors to a career in cinema.

Shattering the Celluloid Ceiling
First Look Films See Surge of Women In Top Slots
April 29, 2009

A longtime criticism of Hollywood is that there are relatively few females in top creative positions, but as the entries in the recently concluded First Look festival demonstrated, women are smashing the celluloid ceiling in a big way.

Reality Ends Here Special Offer
Limited Edition Book
April 27, 2009

Don’t miss your chance to grab a piece of history. The School of Cinematic Arts has published Reality Ends Here: 80 Years of USC Cinematic Arts, an exquisite, limited edition coffee table-sized book celebrating SCA’s 80th anniversary.

Fest Bests
Top Animation & Digital Arts Projects Unspool at Adobe First Frame
April 20, 2009

A young girl wanders into a forest and meets a satyr, who becomes her best friend for life. Salome seduces an ancient king into beheading John the Baptist. A woman discovers the secret of her Aunt Nell when she finds an old, mechanical peep box. These stories and others were among the short animated films screened at Adobe First Frame 2009, engaging the audience that packed the Directors Guild of America Theater on March 5 with bold narratives and imaginative visuals.

Transcending Text
Students Use Sound and Image to Shape New Meaning
April 20, 2009

Creating good cinema has always required extensive teamwork, but students enrolled in a new course at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy [IML] are taking collaboration to higher levels as they use sound, images and database materials to construct new endings (and new meanings) for a partially shot documentary about doctors in wartime Iraq.

Doe Mayer Honored
Veteran Professor Accepts USC Award for Excellence in Teaching
April 15, 2009

For the past 22 years Professor Doe Mayer has been at the forefront of using the cinematic arts to educate, inform and entertain. She's taught film, been a pioneer in employing media as a tool for social change, and worked in various philanthropic fields. On April 14, that legacy of dedication landed her one of USC's most prestigious forms of recognition, the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.

World Premiere
Cinematic Arts Celebrates 80th Anniversary With All New Campus
March 31, 2009

With 80 years of history-making experience behind it, the School of Cinematic Arts celebrated the past and launched itself into the future with the unveiling of its new campus at a March 29 gala attended by university leaders, students, faculty, alumni, supporters, including filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and USC President Steven B. Sample.

Outside the Box [Office]
New SCA Screening Series Exposes Unexposed Films
March 11, 2009

It’s one thing to tell people “think outside the box,” but it’s another to actually show them how to do it. Thanks to the creation this semester of the Outside the Box [Office] screening series, students, alumni, faculty and other guests have that chance as they take in a unique roster of first-run films from around the globe that they might otherwise never see.

In And Out
Students Compete in the 2009 Ed Wood Film Festival
February 12, 2009

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long over 40 teams of students had to complete five-minute short films for the 2009 Ed Wood Film Festival. Ed Wood, the infamous B-movie director, best known as the titular subject played by actor Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s 1994 film, earned his legend in part as a relentlessly optimistic filmmaker undeterred by low budgets, limited time, staff or a questionable, at best, degree of talent.

Steel Reels
Art Transcends the Ages at Rolling Stones Film Fest
February 8, 2009

In the 1960s, young people lamented the "generation gap," but four decades later the distance between the artists of that generation and the one currently learning the cinematic arts was clearly bridged during the school’s two-day film festival, The Rolling Stones On Film, held February sixth and seventh at Norris Theatre.

Digital Cribs
SCA Teams Get Real-World Experience In Cisco Contest
February 1, 2009

If you think delivering a term paper on time is a challenge, try creating a mini-documentary that goes from concept to creation to global distribution in four months.

Charlene Sun '06
Artist, Cinematographer, M.F.A. Alumna
January 31, 2009

2006 M.F.A. Production Alumna Charlene Sun, 34, who approached cinematography from the unique perspective of an artist painting images with a camera lens, died in tragic automobile accident in Los Angeles on January 27.

And Action!
New Cinematic Arts Complex Opens
January 16, 2009

The past, present, and future of Hollywood converged on January 10, 2009 as faculty, staff, and students got their first look at the brand-new School of Cinematic Arts complex. Over 400 guests attended the beginning of the semester open house and took the opportunity to comb through the George Lucas and Steven Spielberg buildings, which comprise the main components of the new complex.

CU: Josh Comen
VFX Magic On An Indie Budget
January 12, 2009

Is the economic downturn getting in the way of nailing that perfect traveling matte shot in the film that’s going to catapult you to fame, fortune and a three-picture deal? Meet your new best friend, Josh Comen.