News from 2010

Pluff in the Middle East
Interactive Media Used to Help Children with Autism
December 15, 2010

On November 27, eight SCA faculty and staff traveled to Doha, Qatar to conduct a weeklong workshop in digital storytelling and assistive technology at the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs.

In Memoriam: Gene Polito, ASC
Respected Cinematographer, Professor and USC Alumnus
December 2, 2010

Cinematographer and USC professor/alumnus Eugene "Gene" Emmanuel Polito passed away on November 28 after a three-year battle with esophageal cancer. “Gene’s reputation for excellence still lives on at the School,” said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “Though I did not have the pleasure of working with him, I have heard from numerous alumni, along with past and present faculty members, who had nothing but respect and admiration for him and for his work. He will be greatly missed.”

In Memoriam: Irvin Kershner
Director of The Empire Strikes Back
November 30, 2010

SCA alumnus and faculty member Irvin Kershner, who directed the Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back and the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, died at his Los Angeles home following a three and a half year battle with lung cancer. He was 87.

Students walk across America for gay rights
November 24, 2010

A group of six graduate students from the School of Cinematic Arts will embark on a seven-month walk across the country in hopes of cultivating an open dialogue about same-sex marriage while documenting their journey on film.

Jack Epps Honored with Comedy Chair
SCA Endows Chair for Legendary Actor and Philanthropist Jack Oakie
November 17, 2010

As most comedy performers and writers would agree, getting laughs isn’t an exact science. But Jack Oakie, who excelled at eliciting chuckles from film, television, radio and vaudeville audiences will now have his name permanently linked to the academic study of comedy through the establishment of the Jack Oakie Endowed Chair in Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts.

‘One Lucky Elephant’ Picked up by OWN
Will Screen in Monthly Documentary Club
November 16, 2010

SCA faculty member Lisa Leeman’s documentary, One Lucky Elephant, has been picked up by OWN, the Oprah Winfrey network, and will run as part of OWN’s monthly documentary film club, debuting in spring 2011.

Not Your Mama's Film Industry
Women of Cinematic Arts Hold Forum
November 15, 2010

October 9 marked a celebration of the myriad contributions of women to the entertainment industry and a look toward the future, with the Women of Cinematic Arts’ 2010 Industry Forum, entitled Not Your Mama’s Film Industry: 21st Century Entertainment.

Harris to Receive Documentary Award
Two Time Oscar Winner Honored by IDA
November 10, 2010

School of Cinematic Arts Distinguished Professor Mark Jonathan Harris will receive the IDA Preservation and Scholarship Award at the 2010 IDA Documentary Awards.

Student Wins Princess Grace Award
Animated Short Honored in New York City
November 4, 2010

SCA Graduate Student Willie Williams is the recipient of a prestigious Princess Grace Award undergraduate film scholarship. The 28th annual awards gala will be held in New York City on November 10, and will include the presentation of 21 awards to emerging artists in theater, dance and film as well as the Prince Rainier III Award to be presented to Denzel and Pauletta Washington, and the Princess Grace Statue Award to be presented to Anna D. Shapiro.

CU: Michael Fink
"Learn to trust your sense of taste."
October 29, 2010

Many students choose to attend film school because of the amazing worlds they experienced in the movie theater growing up. Chances are, visual effects artist and new SCA faculty member Michael Fink had a hand in creating them. Fink has visual effects credit on over thirty films including Tropic Thunder, X-Men, Braveheart, and Blade Runner. In 2008, Fink won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for The Golden Compass, and was nominated for the Oscar in 1993 for Batman Returns.

Next Generation Entertainment
Microsoft Endows IMD's Latest Initiative
October 19, 2010

With a substantial gift, The Microsoft Corporation has established the Microsoft Next Generation Entertainment Initiative at the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media Division (IMD), as announced by Dean Elizabeth M. Daley and Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Games Studios.

USC Team Wins
First Lady Michelle Obama's Apps for Healthy Kids Competition
October 5, 2010

Trainer, a game developed by a team of USC students, has won the Grand Prize as well as the GE Healthymagination Student Award, and a total of $20,000 at the Apps for Healthy Kids Challenge, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

Out of the Archives
USC Warner Bros Archives and Warner Bros Photo Lab exhibit 85 Years of Treasures
September 9, 2010

For over a year, curators at the USC Warner Bros Archives have been working with the Warner Bros Photo Lab to uncover and gather rare photos for an upcoming exhibition at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Grand Lobby Gallery on Wilshire Blvd.

USC Alumns Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy take home Emmys
September 2, 2010

Mad Men" writer Erin Levy shared her writing win with boss Matt Weiner on Sunday. But that's not all she owes him.

Lee Unkrich Q&A
Leonard Maltin Goes In-Depth With Toy Story 3 Director
August 16, 2010

On June 13, the USC School of Cinematic Arts was treated to a special screening of Toy Story 3, along with an in-depth Q&A with the film’s director, SCA alum Lee Unkrich, conducted by Leonard Maltin.

CU: Christophe Nassif
"Don’t try to tell a story you do not connect with."
August 12, 2010

Chances are that as you read this, Christophe Nassif, 3rd-year M.F.A. Production, is hard at work. In addition to recently completing an eight-week sound internship at Larson Studios through the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation, Nassif has been in pre-production since April for a 546 production he’ll be directing in the fall, and finds time to work with QueerCut, the LBGT cinematic arts group he helped found.

In Memoriam: David L. Wolper
Legendary Producer, "Mr. Documentary"
August 11, 2010

David L. Wolper, producer of the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries Roots, along with over 300 other films, died Tuesday, August 10. He was 82.

In Memoriam: Robert F. Boyle
Acclaimed Art Director/Production Designer
August 4, 2010

Robert F. Boyle ‘33, acclaimed production designer, with credits including North By Northwest, In Cold Blood, and The Birds, died in Los Angeles on Sunday. He was 100.

CU: Ryan Piers Williams
USC Alums Collaborate on "The Dry Land"
July 30, 2010

We speak to Piers Williams via email about the film "The Dry Land", the challenge of getting it made and how SCA has influenced him.

CU: Alice Brooks
‘A Passion for Light’
July 28, 2010

Being a dancing superhero is hard. Filming a dancing superhero? Just as hard, but it’s also a lot of fun, according to Alice Brooks, SCA alumna, and director of photography for the groundbreaking new webseries, The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD).

Wins for ‘Wild About Harry’
Collaboration of SCA Alums and Faculty
July 14, 2010

Wild About Harry, an independent feature written, directed, produced and lensed by SCA alumni and faculty members, took home two awards at the 14th Annual CineGear Expo. Director and co-writer Gwen Wynne ’94, accepted the award for Best Feature, and SCA senior lecturer Chris Chomyn won the award for Best Cinematography.

Medal for Multiply
SCA Student Wins Academy Award
June 22, 2010

SCA Division of Animation and Digital Arts (DADA) student Emily Henricks took home the Silver Medal in the Alternative category at the 2010 Student Academy Awards on June 12. Henricks’ film, Multiply, utilizes a minimal amount of cycling frames to create a dizzying array of motion.

Red Sea Institute Graduates First Class
Only Cinematic Arts School in Middle East
June 11, 2010

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) celebrated the graduation of its inaugural Masters of Fine Arts class in a ceremony held at the Movenpick Tala Bay Resort in Aqaba, Jordan, on May 21, 2010.

In Memoriam: William Fraker
Renowned Cinematographer and SCA Alumnus/Instructor
June 3, 2010

William A. “Bill” Fraker, ASC, BSC, legendary cinematographer/director, and SCA alumnus and instructor, passed away Monday at the age of 86.

First Impressions
Student Work Wows
June 2, 2010

Sociologists, career advice experts and speed daters agree: you only have one chance to make a first impression. Fortunately, SCA students are making exceptional first impressions through an eclectic array of projects put on display as part of the School’s end-of-year programs.

2010 School of Cinematic Arts Commencement Day
Class of 2010 is go for launch
May 19, 2010

“Launch control, this is Houston. We are go for launch.” These words from 1995’s “Apollo 13” boomed over the sound system of the Shrine Auditorium on Commencement Day 2010 as the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), along with industry friends Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jon Landau, celebrated the new graduates on the eve of their coming journey.

CU: Jacqueline Schaeffer and Rikki Jarrett
Indie Filmmakers Ask If True Love Comes With a Guarantee
May 6, 2010

What if a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate? The new film, TiMER, by writer/director Jacqueline Schaeffer ‘04 and producer Rikki Jarrett ’06, examines this question and finds that the answer, as with most matters of the heart, is far from simple.

First Look Struts Indie Style
SCA Students Amp up the Indie Factor at First Look 2010
May 3, 2010

USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) students amped up the indie factor at this year’s First Look festival with entries including an animated foreign-language documentary and an official 2009 Sundance selection.

Presidential Medallion Goes to George Lucas
SCA Animation student Juan Camilo Gonzalez honored for his film Mecanismo Olvidador
April 28, 2010

USC alumnus, filmmaker and benefactor George Lucas ’66 was awarded the USC Presidential Medallion, the university's highest honor, by President Steven B. Sample on April 26 at the annual Academic Honors Convocation.

Meet Kelly And Cal
Offbeat Tale Takes Wing With First Team
April 27, 2010

Over the past year, SCA’s First Team program has had much success bringing together alumni writers, directors and producers in its inaugural run. Setting out this month under the First Team banner is Kelly & Cal, an offbeat dramedy about an unlikely friendship between a new mother struggling with her identity and a 17-year old in a wheelchair who’s been spying on her.

To Protect and To Serve
Ann Biderman Returns to SCA with her Southland Cast and Crew
April 2, 2010

Members of the cast and creative team of the acclaimed TNT series Southland joined SCA students for an in-depth discussion and Q&A session, as part of Howard Rosenberg’s 467 Television Symposium, on February 22.

Katzenberg Named Commencement Speaker
Landau To Receive Mary Pickford Alumni Award
March 23, 2010

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg will deliver the commencement address at the 2010 USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) graduation ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium on Friday May 14, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley announced today. Jon Landau, producer of Avatar and Titanic and USC alumnus, will receive SCA’s prestigious Mary Pickford Foundation Award.

The Power of Yes
Ron Howard Speaks with SCA Students
March 2, 2010

A standing room only crowd packed the Ray Stark Family Theatre for an evening with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and SCA alumnus Ron Howard on February 25. The acclaimed director/producer spoke for over two hours, relating anecdotes from his lengthy career and emphasizing the importance of creative collaboration.

We're # 1
IMD Listed as Top Game Design Program
March 2, 2010

SCA’s Interactive Media Division ranks as the #1 game design program at U.S. and Canadian universities, according to The Princeton Review and GamePro Media.

Summer Program Student Testimonials
Former students weigh in on their experiences
March 1, 2010

Former students weigh in on their experiences at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program.

Summer Program Student Stories: Janey
USC/Warner Brothers Producing & Directing; Directing Intensive
February 25, 2010

“It gave me confidence as a filmmaker,” says Janey. She originally followed her brother to the USC SCA Summer Program as both were interested in filmmaking.

Summer Program Student Stories: Gordon
USC/Universal Producing & Directing; Advanced Screenwriting; The Insider
February 25, 2010

“It’s not a summer camp, it’s a summer program,” says Gordon, a two-year veteran of the USC SCA Summer Program. Gordon first attended the program when he was 16, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first. “I’d learned about the program while looking at film schools,” he continues. “I had done the New York Film Academy, but felt like this was really the next level of production – I was really able to dig deep.”

Summer Program Student Stories: Tin
USC/Universal Producing & Directing ; Internship in Film & Television
February 25, 2010

Tin Pang, unlike the majority of the USC SCA Summer Program students, is not from the United States. Tin hails from Australia and came to USC based upon the SCA’s reputation as a film school. In his first summer at USC, he undertook the USC/Universal Producing and Directing course.

Tribute to Re-Invention
USC Professors Honored by WIFTS
February 22, 2010

USC School of Cinematic Arts tenured professors Judy Irola and Georgia Jeffries have been honored by the Women’s International Film & Television Showcase (WIFTS) Foundation with International Visionary Awards for their respective bodies of work.

A Conversation with The Odd Gentlemen
SCA Gamers Launch Thesis Project
February 19, 2010

On February 18, USC School of Cinematic Arts celebrated the launch of The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. The brainchild of two recent SCA graduates Matt Korba ’08 and Paul Bellezza ’08, Winterbottom originated as Korba’s thesis project – and with an assist from Bellezza, it is one of several games born at SCA to find success in the gaming industry in the last few years.

Hedgehogs and Herons
Legendary Russian Animator Visits SCA
February 9, 2010

A rainy week in Los Angeles did not dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of USC students and animation devotees who were treated to a rare visit by world-renowned Russian animator Yuri Norstein.

Shuffle Up and Deal
First Team Trio’s Poker Pic Ready for Hollywood
February 8, 2010

Last semester, First Team kicked off with dozens of SCA alums meeting and mixing toward collaborations that might someday hit the big screen. Fast-forward to 2010 and a number of those teams already find themselves in prime positions thanks to the new program and their own hard work.

In Memoriam: D'Marco Ray Smith
Sound Expert, Class of '98
February 5, 2010

D’Marco Ray Smith, who graduated from SCA in 1998, and quickly forged a successful career as a sound supervisor and recordist, passed away Monday, February 1, following a long battle with cancer.

Q&A with Jason Reitman
Award Winning Alum Returns to Campus
February 1, 2010

Reitman returns to campus to drop in on Leonard Maltin's class CTCS 466: Theatrical Film Symposium.

Remarkable Documentary Premieres This Week
"The Desert of Forbidden Art" Written, Produced, and Directed by Cinematic Arts Professor and Grad
February 1, 2010

"The Desert of Forbidden Art", written, produced, and directed by associate professor Amanda Pope and cinematic arts grad Tchavdar Georgiev ’00 premieres on Feb. 6 and 12 at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

A Stellar Start
Semester Kicks Off With Guest Speakers
January 22, 2010

The School of Cinematic Arts’ spring semester has begun with a bang: the month of January has already featured three remarkable evenings with industry leaders and innovators, who have provided valuable insight for capacity crowds of students, faculty and staff.

Osher Heads Alumni Council
Veteran Exec Presides Over First Council Meeting of 2010
January 13, 2010

Bob Osher, president of the Digital Production division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, chief operating officer of Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group, SCA adjunct faculty member, and newly installed chair of the SCA Alumni Council, conducted his first AC meeting on Tuesday, January 12.

In Memoriam: Mel Sloan
SCA Faculty Member for over 50 Years
January 13, 2010

Longtime School of Cinematic Arts faculty member Professor Emeritus Mel Sloan passed away, January 12, from pneumonia, at his home in Van Nuys, CA, at the age of 86. Sloan served on the SCA faculty from 1946 until his retirement in 1997.