News from 2015
CREED Comes Home to SCA
SCA welcomes Ryan Coogler & collaborating alumni
December 8, 2015
Ryan Coogler and a team of five other fellow Trojans returned to the School last week for an unforgettable screening and Q&A of the new critically acclaimed Rocky spin-off with special appearance from Rocky himself!
December 8, 2015
Continuing to learn the ins and outs of the television business, David Freedman ’10 has made great strides as a producer and writer since graduating from SCA and has successfully headed Just Seen It, a movie and TV review show screened on the nationwide network PBS. Freedman recently shared about his start in the television industry, his experience as the show runner of Just Seen It, and his plans for the coming year.
December 8, 2015
Pursuing her passion of photography and storytelling, Angelique Molina ’16 is currently earning her Masters Degree in Production at SCA. Molina shared about her continued growth as a filmmaker through her experiences as an SCA student, her time with the Diatribe Art Collective in San Francisco, and as a member of the SCA Graduate Student Government.
SCA Goes “Back to the Future”
School Hosts Marathon of Films with Q & A
December 7, 2015
Assuming that our timeline hasn’t been altered by time travelers Marty McFly and Doc Brown, USC School of Cinematic Arts alum Robert Zemeckis’ iconic sci-fi comedy Back to the Future hit the big screen thirty years ago this year. To celebrate the anniversary of the film, SCA hosted a marathon of the Back to the Future trilogy in Frank Sinatra Hall in the Eileen Norris Cinema Complex on December 6th followed by a Q and A with alum/screenwriter Bob Gale, Production Designer (Part II, III) Rick Carter, and actor Christopher Lloyd.
December 4, 2015
Professor Alex McDowell's The Leviathan Project and Professor Tracy Fullerton's Walden, a Game will premiere at Sundance's 10th annual New Frontier program.
December 2, 2015
CTWR-431 — Loners, Stoners, Mean Girls, and Jocks: Writing the High School Story — now open to all USC students!
December 1, 2015
On Monday, November 30th, the popular Television Symposium class invited a very special guest, Conan O’Brien, for a Q&A following screenings of his work. O’ Brien’s work includes writing for HBO’s Not Necessarily the News, Late Night, and Saturday Night Live. He also hosted The Tonight Show and the Annual Primetime Emmy Awards twice. He now produces, writes, and hosts his own talk show, CONAN, which premiered in 2010. Earning himself a high-esteemed reputation as a comedian by audiences worldwide and praise from Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, Conan O’Brien is a true icon of the comedy world.
House on Pine Street Returns
Indie Horror Film by USC Alumni Screens in LA
November 17, 2015
After an international festival tour that earned rave reviews and racked in multiple awards, the notable indie horror flick THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET is returning to Los Angeles for a special one-night-only screening, Thursday, November 19th at 7:30 PM at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater by Laemmle.
Frank Sinatra Honored at SCA
Artist, Icon, and Humanitarian Recognized on Centennial
November 9, 2015
Frank Sinatra’s artistic career is completely unique and practically unrivaled. Sinatra reached the top of the music industry, Hollywood, Broadway, Vegas and just about everything else he undertook. He has been honored as an actor, singer, arranger, and humanitarian with awards including the Golden Globe, the Oscar, countless Grammys, and a Kennedy Center Honors. As Frank Sinatra reaches the centennial mark (Sinatra was born in 1915), his daughters Tina and Nancy and the Frank Sinatra Family Foundation are honoring his memory by creating the Frank Sinatra Endowed Fund for Student Support at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
MISC & Saks Talk Mental Health
SCA hosts first Mental Health Awareness Festival
November 6, 2015
On October 30, the School of Cinematic Arts' Media Institute for Social Change and the Gould School of Law's Saks Institute joined forces to host USC's first ever Mental Health Awareness Festival.
November 5, 2015
Shortly after graduating from the Peter Stark Producing Program, Lindsay Kerns ’12 has taken great strides toward her goal to become a filmmaker who not only “surprises people,” but also provides her audience with opportunities to engage with the world around them through comedy. Kerns shared about her time as a writer and creative producer at Funny Or Die and her thoughts on the growing presence of women in the industry.
Teaching the New Model
Professor Jason E. Squire hosts DIY Panel
October 30, 2015
Everyone has noticed that the entertainment industry is changing. Gallons of ink have been spilled about the tech revolution in film in television with regards to Virtual Reality, online networks, the smallest pocket-sized cameras, and the largest IMAX films.
October 28, 2015
On Friday, October 23rd, the Ray Stark Theater hosted an eventful evening recognizing the world-renowned director, Hou Hsaio-hsien, with the SCA Eisenstein Award. Named after the early Russian director and film theorist Sergei Eisenstein—a man who traversed the boundaries of theory and practice and took film into other forms of language, narrative and musicality—the award has been presented only three times before, in 2003 to French filmmaker Agnès Varda, in 2007 to Costa-Gavras, and in 2011 to Pedro Almodóvar. The award was presented following the sneak-peak screening of Hou Hsaio-hsien’s upcoming film, The Assassin, which recently earned him the title of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival.
George Lucas and Mellody Hobson Give to Diversity
George Lucas Family Foundation Endows Scholarship Fund
October 27, 2015
With an endowment of ten million dollars, the George Lucas Family Foundation has given a tremendous boost to the The School of Cinematic Arts’ mission to recruit talented students from communities that are underrepresented in the entertainment industry. The gift will establish the The George Lucas Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity at the School.
James Franco Enters The Labyrinth
SCA Anthology Plays on Campus
October 26, 2015
The Labyrinth, a feature film produced in the SCA class co-taught by Academy Award nominated actor James Franco had its premiere SCA screening Friday and was followed by an open-floor Q&A with the directors. This is the second premiere of the film, which had it’s international debut at Screamfest on October 18.
October 20, 2015
A group of talented young women come together to share their artistic visions, collaborate, hone their craft, and leave a mark on the world. They overcome financial pressures, inner-group fighting, and creative differences, finally becoming stronger as artists and closer as friends in the process. Is it the incoming class of the USC School of Cinematic Arts? No, it’s the new film Jem and the Holograms directed by SCA alumnus Jon Chu, written by alumnus Ryan Landels, photographed by alumnus Alice Brooks, camera operated by alumnus Andy Waruszewski, and gaffed by alumnus Jay Murankana. The film was screened pre-release on October 18th in Frank Sinatra Hall in the Norris Cinema Complex and was followed by a Q & A moderated by alum Tim Dowling and attended by Chu, Landels, Brooks, Muranaka, and executive producer/head of Blumhouse Productions Couper Samuelson.
October 16, 2015
GoPro and SCA announce partnership.
October 15, 2015
Former Chair of the Writing for Screen & Television Division and USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor Howard A. Rodman has been elected President of the Writer’s Guild of America West. This marks the first presidential term for Rodman after a long career in leadership in the WGA including his most recent role as Vice President. The term is for two years. as
October 6, 2015
The director of the American classic and top-grossing movie musical Grease, Randal Kleiser ’74 has crossed narrative boundaries and has stepped into the world of virtual reality with his sci-fi series Defrost. Since his graduation, Kleiser has had a lasting impact on the industry, beginning with his master’s thesis film Peege, which was the second student production ever to be added to the National Film Registry. Kleiser shared about his time at USC and his recent endeavors with virtual reality.
October 6, 2015
SCA alum, Sam Regnier, is one of five people across the globe to win the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Regnier graduated from SCA in 2006 with a B.F.A. in Screenwriting, and has gone on to dedicate his time to writing. Regnier won the Nicholl Fellowship for his sports drama, Free Agent, which follows a female NBA executive for the Golden State Warriors who pursues the biggest free agent of her career while also managing a messy divorce and a complicated relationship with a younger colleague and his teenage sister. The rights to the script were pursued and acquired by CBS Films shortly after Regnier was announced as a finalist.
October 6, 2015
With roots in Alabama and Mississippi, Xavier Neal-Burgin ’16 hopes to utilize his work as an avenue of positive social impact. During his time at SCA, Neal-Burgin was selected out of 40 students to direct a film fully funded by SCA (Olde E). He recently discussed his experience directing Olde E, his creative and technical growth as a filmmaker, and also offered advice to fellow SCA students.
Movies We Love Presents: Tommy Boy
Pete Segal, David Spade and Fred Wolf Visit SCA
September 21, 2015
In the Spring of 1995, man-child Tommy Callahan III got off a plane in Sandusky, Ohio, to take over the loading dock of his father’s company and was greeted by uptight executive Richard Hayden. One of the greatest comedy duos in film history was born. Twenty years later, at a sold out screening of Tommy Boy in the Frank Sinatra Hall at USC, alum/director Pete Segal, star David Spade, and writer Fred Wolf shared with students the stories of how the unlikely classic made its way to the screen through nervous breakdowns, unfinished scripts, and a deer that simply wouldn’t be trained.
September 8, 2015
A native of Beijing, China, Guan Xi ’15 brought her award-winning photography skills and passion for filmmaking to SCA as a MFA Production student. She was the co-Director of Photography for the documentary Looking at the Stars directed by Alexandre Peralta ’14, which won this year’s Student Academy Award for Best Documentary. In addition, Xi’s thesis project Mandala has been accepted and awarded by several film festivals. Xi recently reflected on her time at SCA and shared her creative and technical growth as a filmmaker.
September 8, 2015
Embarking on her last year as an undergraduate, Jen Enfield-Kane ’16 discovered the power of storytelling as an avenue to reach the world during her time at SCA. Enfield-Kane served as an integral part of several successful miniseries and web series, including CON and The Supernatural Enthusiasts Club. She recently shared her transformation as a screenwriter, her experiences writing and directing miniseries, and her thoughts on the future of web-based creative platforms.
John Cacavas Honored at SCA
Man known for sweeping television scores remembered
August 31, 2015
The halls of the USC School of Cinematic Arts are filled with the names of multi-hyphenates and renaissance women and men who changed film, games, and all other media in America and beyond. On August 30th, John Cacavas, who passed away in 2014, joined the names Hitchcock, Pickford, Lloyd, Lucas, Spielberg
Introducing CTWR 432 -- Shonda Rhimes: The Reinvention of Network Television
Open to all USC students, open registration, and counts towards the Minor in Screenwriting
August 17, 2015
"Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation"
SCA Network Event Recap
August 5, 2015
Last Wednesday, members of the SCA Network once again congregated at The Grove Pacific Theater for the second sneak preview screening and Q&A in as many weeks, this time for a glimpse of the critically acclaimed fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise: Rogue Nation. Producers David Ellison and Don Granger stuck around for the post-screening Q&A.
August 5, 2015
Born in the Philippines in 1954, Mar Elepano '80 arrived at SCA in 1975 as a Film Production major. He has played a significant role in his many years at SCA, teaching in the MFA in Animation Program since 1993 and serving as the production supervisor of the program. Elepano recently discussed his time as an SCA student and professor, and shared his take on the widely known motto of SCA: “Reality Ends Here.”
August 5, 2015
It’s rare that a college class becomes iconic. Even at the School of Cinematic Arts, the list is probably less than five classes long. Any list of iconic classes from the USC School of Cinematic Arts would be incomplete without Professor Leonard Maltin’s CTCS 466: Film Symposium. Leonard Maltin recently sat down with cinema.usc.edu to discuss his course, what students can expect when they enroll, and how sometimes Film Symposium becomes bigger than even the medium of film.
July 30, 2015
For the third consecutive year, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has been named the number one film school by the Hollywood Reporter.
July 24, 2015
Wednesday night at The Grove, SCA Network members enjoyed a preview screening of this weekend's upcoming Pixels followed by a Q&A and beer & wine reception with the film's writer, Tim Dowling.
SCA Family Stories: Michael Starr
Trojan Recipient of Silver Telly Award Chats about his Process
July 17, 2015
Increasingly, the moving image is being used to forward missions beyond entertainment at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. From the Media Institute for Social Change, the new Minor is Social Change, and the new Major in Games for Health from the Interactive Media
July 15, 2015
The art and industry of animation is changing. What used to be thought of as entertainment for children, has now moved into serious dramatic storytelling, visual art, serious games, a blend with live action, a demonstration tool for scientists and architects and much more.
July 8, 2015
Inspired by the power of film to impact social and cultural perceptions, Mahin Ibrahim ’14 hopes to tell stories about race, religion, and identity in her films. In a recent interview, Ibrahim shared with us her experience as one of the student directors of Don Quixote, her growth as a filmmaker during her time at SCA, and also offered her advice to current SCA students.
June 29, 2015
Watch a video of USC Games' Demo Day
SCA Family Stories: Producers of the Land
An interview with recent grads on producing their first film
June 17, 2015
Blake Pickens and Stephen Love Jr. (both Stark ‘14) are two young alumni who are in the trenches of the film world, both indie and studio. Their first feature film, The Land, begins filming in Cleveland this summer and, to give back to the University, the two sat down with SCA Family Stories to discuss their roles as producers, why they chose to work on the Land, and to give advice to students considering becoming film producers.
Commencement Speaker Jay Roach Welcomes New Graduates
June 4, 2015
On May 15th, the 2015 graduating class from the USC School of Cinematic Arts came together with parents, friends, family, faculty, and staff to celebrate the milestone at the Shrine Auditorium across the street from USC
June 2, 2015
With his vibrant passion for honest and genuine storytelling evident in his work, Aneesh Chaganty ’13 is the director of the Google Glass short film Seeds and currently a member of the Google Creative Lab Five team. Chaganty recently shared his experience as an SCA student and a Google Fiver, and also discussed the power of a good story.
May 27, 2015
Linda Brown's documentary, You See Me, which is about the scars that family secrets can leave, premieres at the festival.
May 8, 2015
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, commemorated The Simpsons’ 25 years on the air by creating a statue of Bart’s masked alter-ego, Bartman, who first appears in the show’s second season in the episode, “Three Men and a Comic Book.” The statue is now a permanent installation in the Harold Lloyd Lobby in the Steven Spielberg Building.
May 8, 2015
Starting in the 1980s speculative-fiction writers created a subgenre—cyberpunk—that not only predicted but also helped shape the future. On April 24th the School of Cinematic Arts hosted the USC Visions and Voices event Cyberpunk: Past and Future that feature some of the genre’s most interesting voices including Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, Nalo Hopkinson and Mark Pauline.
May 7, 2015
The Game Innovation Lab at the School of Cinematic Arts has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for projects directed by Interactive Media & Games Division (IMGD) chair, Tracy Fullerton.
May 6, 2015
With her own game design studio, Flying Mollusk, and an award-winning game to her name, Erin Reynolds ’12 has made great strides in the gaming industry shortly after graduating from SCA. Reynolds recently discussed her time as a student at SCA, her thoughts on the future of game design, and her blossoming career and accomplishments as a game designer.
May 4, 2015
Kevin Feige, known as the Mastermind of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), has achieved incredible success with the comic book franchises he oversees. As President of Marvel Studios, he has produced every film in the MCU, including Iron Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opened at midnight on April 30th and quickly became the No. 2 biggest US box office opening of all time at $191.3M, second only to its predecessor, The Avengers. With hit after hit, Marvel’s impressive streak of blockbuster successes are due in no small part to Feige’s unflagging dedication to making great films, and his clear creative vision for MCU’s eclectic army of superheroes.
April 28, 2015
2014 is a huge year for SCA student, Jean Canellas. Not only is the IMGD senior graduating in May from the #1 ranked games program in the country, he’s also founded his own production company and signed a development and distribution deal with Adult Swim for his 2D action-RPG, Death’s Gambit. We caught up with Jean during his whirlwind year to talk about his breakthrough in the games industry, his creative and artistic vision for games, and what he’s learned along the way.
April 22, 2015
On February 13, 2015, SCA hosted an exclusive presentation of Return to Oz (1985) as part of the "Movies We Love" screening series. The showing was followed by a Q&A moderated by Alex Ago with Academy Award-winning director Walter Murch and Producer Paul Maslansky.
In Memoriam: Richard L. Bare
Alum, Professor, and Iconic Director
April 21, 2015
The School of Cinematic Arts reflects on the life of Richard Bare, part of SCA's first generation of students and perhaps the School's first true success story, with over 120 directorial credits through his prolific career. He died at the age of 101.
April 21, 2015
Alumni, Hollywood studios, technology companies, parents and friends have given more than $175 million for endowed faculty chairs, student scholarships and state-of-the-art facilities as part of the Campaign for USC.
April 20, 2015
Luis Iga, an M.F.A. candidate in Film & Television Production slated to graduate in May, wrapped principle photography in early March for a micro-budget horror film for the Latino market. With the working title, Murder in the Woods, the feature was written by Latina USC alum, Yelyna de Leon, and is fully casted with Latino and minority talent. The film is Iga’s debut directing and producing a feature.
April 17, 2015
The Mellon Mentoring Awards, given annually at the University of Southern California, honors faculty members who have shown exceptional commitment to mentorship. The distinguished professors who receive it have helped to create a culture of academic and professional support throughout the University, whether that is offering one-on-one guidance to students or to other faculty. This year, two such professors from the School of Cinematic Arts were recognized for their dedication to mentorship: Mary Pickford Endowed Chair Doe Mayer and Broccoli Endowed Chair for Producing, John Watson.
Master Class: SPIKE JONZE
A Recap of Writer/Director Spike Jonze's Visit to SCA
April 14, 2015
The "Master Class" series looks back on great visits to SCA classrooms. Today, we examine Spike Jonze' visit to Jason Squire's case study class "Art and Industry of the Theatrical Film" (CTPR 386).
April 14, 2015
On February 6th, 2015, Academy Award-winning director of such acclaimed films as The Exorcist and The French Connection, William Friedkin, gave a fascinating talk about his varied and exceptional career in Hollywood, following a screening of his 1977 classic, Sorcerer.
April 13, 2015
Graduating from SCA in 2014 with an M.F.A. in Film & Television Production, Jordan Ledy has since been premiering his documentary thesis film, It’s Better in Italian, at film festivals across the country. Ledy is a New York native who has performed in all aspects of filmmaking. He graduated in 2008 from Columbia University with a B.A. in English Literature and Jazz Studies and went on to shoot and edit several international documentary films during his time at USC.
SCA Family Stories: Paisley Smith and Genie Deez
Two Trojan Scholarship Winners Chat with SCA
April 10, 2015
Paisley Smith and Genie Deez are two students in the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Production Division who, in addition to their school work, found time to make their own web series for children Hangin’ with Genie.
April 10, 2015
Otherworld Interactive, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality content studio co-founded by 3 SCA alums, is breaking down boundaries while building brand new worlds. Andrew Goldstein, Robyn Gray, and Michael Murdock, the visionaries behind Otherworld's impressive slate of virtual reality experiences, met as students in the master's program in SCA's Interactive Media & Games Division.
April 9, 2015
On February 8th, 2015, SCA hosted an exclusive screening of The Duff at the Ray Stark Family Theatre as part of the SCA Alumni Screening Series. A Q&A session with the film's director, SCA alum Ari Sandel, followed the screening.
April 8, 2015
With her beginnings as a performer in her back pocket, Tracy Oliver ’10 has found her greatest passion in writing. Already boasting the success of her wildly popular web series, Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl, Oliver recently completed her first studio feature, Barbershop III, and continues to write for the Starz show, Survivor’s Remorse. Oliver recently discussed her transition from a performer to a writer and producer and also shared the lessons she has learned while maturing as a writer herself.
April 8, 2015
What Makes a Monster, an expansive exhibit that spans 5 libraries across USC’s campus, from its primary location in Doheny Memorial Library to its satellite exhibitions in the Helen Topping Architecture & Fine Arts Library, the Norris Medical Library, the Science and Engineering Library, and the VKC Library for International and Public Affairs, explores the historical, anthropological, and cultural aspects of monsters in society. The project represents an unprecedented collaboration between the University’s divisions, including SCA.
SCA Gets “Fresh Off the Boat”
Television Symposium Welcomes Hit Show
April 7, 2015
In 2015, television has undergone a renaissance in diversity. With hit shows Empire and alum Shonda Rhimes’ personal television empire of Scandal, Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, andHow to Get Away with Murder, diversity is on the rise in television and Trojans are at the forefront. Fresh Off the Boat, a show run by alum Nahnatchka Khan is the first comedy on a broadcast network to feature a predominantly Asian cast in two decades. On April 6th, Howard Rosenberg’s Television Symposium course hosted Khan, writer Melvin Mar, and writer Sanjay Shah. The Q&A was moderated by Howard Rosenberg and was preceded by a screening of Margaret Cho’s All American Girl, Black-ish, and two episodes of Fresh Off the Boat.
SCA Family Stories: Nina Sadowsky
Writer, Producer, and Professor talks with SCA
April 6, 2015
In a diverse career that has included work as an entertainment lawyer, executive, producer, director, writer, author, and beloved USC professor, Nina Sadowsky recently added one more title to her resume: Mentor for the Humanitas New Voices program. SCA sat down with Nina recently to discuss her new role with Humanitas, her new novel, and her ongoing love of writing and teaching.
Visions and Voices Presents: Measures & Frames
An Immersive Visual Music Event
April 2, 2015
Innovative, immersive, visionary. These are not terms ordinarily associated with contemporary classical music and string quartets. Then again, Visions & Voices’ Measures & Frames, performed for a packed house at Newman Hall this past Saturday, was far from an ordinary concert.
Fritz the Cat
SCA Welcomes Revolutionary Animator Ralph Bakshi
March 27, 2015
The history of animation has many luminaries in art, technology, business, and innovation. None of them are as beloved or bizarre as writer/director and animator Ralph Bakshi, who visited the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) after a screening of his X-rated cartoon feature Fritz the Cat. The screening was followed by a Q & A moderated by SCA Director of Programming Alessandro Ago and was presented by Visions and Voices. Fritz the Cat tells the story of a cat who studies at New York University trying to find truth in the subcultures of the revolutionary 60s.
Ron Meyer Visits SCA
Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal fields questions from students
March 26, 2015
Ron Meyer’s unique blend of wisdom, wit, and raw honesty is always welcome at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. On March 25th, Meyer, the Vice Chairman of NBCUniversal, spoke to a capacity crowd in the Ray Stark theatre in a Q&A led by Associate Dean and Head of Student Industry Relations Larry Auerbach. Meyer covered topics ranging from the theme park business, being a good agent, finishing Furious 7 after star Paul Walker’s death, and the gamble of making a Fifty Shades of Grey film. He also fielded questions from the capacity crowd of students.
March 25, 2015
The Princeton Review ranked USC Games the number one video game program in 2015 for its undergraduate programs. Either the graduate or the undergraduate program has been ranked the number one program for six years straight. USC Games represents an exciting collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts' and the Viterbi School of Engineering's.
March 16, 2015
USC School of Cinematic Arts held the IMAX Filmmaker Screening Series on March 8 2015, presented by the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA). It was the first major screening for cinema students in our new Michelle & Kevin Douglas IMAX Theater and Immersive Lab in the Robert Zemeckis Center.The Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) screened three films followed by conversations with filmmakers and industry leaders. The screenings were a great opportunity for cinema students to learn more about telling stories for the giant screen.
March 13, 2015
As career week comes to a close here at SCA, students will be walking away from the events with a firmer understanding of the highs and lows of breaking into the film industry, covering everything from how to make a great pitch to crowdfunding a new film project.
March 13, 2015
Team Overly Kinetic of SCA’s Interactive Media and Games program took home the “Ones to Watch” Award at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) video game awards ceremony on March 12, 2015. The core of Team OK is made of up 4 SCA students: Kevin Wong, Alec Faulkner, Catherine Fox, and Esteban Fajardo.
March 11, 2015
iMAP PhD candidate, Laila Shareen Sakr has been featured in the Chronicle for her insightful research into how social media has been used to effect change in the Middle East.
March 11, 2015
It may sound corny and it might sound trite, but any successful filmmaker will tell you that friendships are crucial in the movie business. On March 10th, Oscar-winning filmmaker Norman Jewison and Head of Student Industry Relations Larry Auerbach put their friendship of over three decades on display at An Evening with Norman Jewison at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Jewison and Auerbach’s friendship started when Auerbach was his agent at the William Morris Agency in New York.
March 9, 2015
Starting Fall 2015, students will be able to minor in Media and Social Change at the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). The curriculum for this new major will be geared toward studying how different types of media have propagated social change, the successes and failures of these methods, and how students can create impactful media themselves.
March 5, 2015
Global issues of climate change and resource depletion are hot topics that are coming increasingly under media scrutiny as we move deeper into the 21st century. Hoping to “inform, educate, and document violations to the life and resources of our planet,” Gavin Garrison ’12 produces documentaries highlighting eco-disasters around the globe, including the Costa Concordia crash in the Italian Archipelago in 2012 and the ever-worsening pollution problems in Beijing. Now a producer for Animal Planet’s longest running show Whale Wars, Garrison shared with us his firsthand look at filming in Antarctica on the front lines of one of the world’s longest-running eco-battles.
March 5, 2015
USC Games students and alumni won the Best Design and the Seumus McNally Grand Prize at the the Independent Game Festival on March 4th, 2015.
Movies We Love: The Princess Bride
Cary Elwes Speaks after Beloved Film
March 2, 2015
One of the biggest perks of graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts SCA is being exposed to great films, television shows and video games and the minds behind them. To further this mission, Movies We Love is a screening series at SCA where alumni and friends of the School bring in films to discuss with the filmmakers. On February 25th, alum Tim Dowling hosted actor and author Cary Elwes for a screening of The Princess Bride, the cult film which was rated one of the top 100 screenplays ever written by the Writer’s Guild of America. The Q and A was moderated by Director of Programming Alex Ago.
SCA Family Stories: Jon Noble
The Sloan recipient discusses his film
March 2, 2015
Jon Noble, a recent grad from the USC School of Cinematic Arts was awarded a 2014 Sloan Grant for his story about a group of Polish scientists who fake a typhus outbreak during World War II – ultimately saving thousands of lives. Jon sat down with SCA Family stories to discuss his process, his time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and how students can take advantage of the Sloan program.
February 27, 2015
Tracy Fullerton, division chair of IMGD and director of USC Games, is being honored as Game Changer of the year at the 12th annual Games for Change Awards.
February 26, 2015
On January 27th, 2015 a special screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant's Graveyard took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session with Director B. Harrison Smith, Actors Billy Zane, Felissa Rose, Dee Wallace, Executive Producer Jeff Trainer, and Director of Photography Charlie Anderson.
SCA Family Stories: Youngmin Kim
The Director of Room 731 Sits with SCA
February 25, 2015
When Youngmin Kim received his M.F.A. in Film Production in 2014, he took his thesis film, Room 731, to festivals around the world. The film, inspired by true events of the Japanese concentration camp known as Unit 731 during World War II, follows an amnesiac girl as she travels through an abandoned prison filled with tortured spirits who mean her harm. In this interview, Youngmin talks about the rigors of taking a film from conception to the screen, how he approached melding historical fact with an artistic vision, and what it was like presenting his film at festivals around the world.
February 24, 2015
When it comes to making films, sometimes it’s essential to check your ego at the door. From scrapping together the funds to put together a production, to working collaboratively with a team to breath life to a shared vision, there’s no room for anyone giving less than their full effort. It’s a lesson that a team of USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) grads learned in spades while working on their first feature, The House on Pine Street – a largely self-funded venture, initially backed by a successful, but modest Kickstarter campaign.
February 23, 2015
It’s an exciting time for mobile game development. Firefly Games, co-founded by SCA alum Justin “KJ” Lin, has raised $8 million to distribute popular Asian mobile games to the US market. It’s a significant achievement for any organization, and remarkable for a company that was only founded one month ago in January 2015.
Harvey Weinstein Visits SCA
Head of Weinstein Company Discusses his Career with Students
February 23, 2015
There are certain people who, undoubtedly, changed the trajectory of filmmaking, not only in the United States but around the globe. Although writers, directors and actors are often the focus of media and critical attention, executives such as Warner, Eisner, Katzenberg and Tartikoff also fall into this category. In the 90s, independent film rose to the forefront of the media culture and Harvey Weinstein was the architect behind the scenes. With films such as The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Silver Linings Playbook, Pulp Fiction, Clerks and The Artist, Weinstein has cemented his reputation as a singular talent, driving indie filmmaking. On Thursday, February 19th, Weinstein visited the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) for a Q&A with SCA Director of Programming Alex Ago, and SCA students.
Legendary Writer/Director screens Return to Oz
February 19, 2015
An evil queen who removes her head and keeps it in a cupboard. Minions with wheels for feet. An evil gnome king attempting to assume a physical form. A sassy talking rooster. These are the things that cult movies are made of. Return to Oz, the 1985 film depicting Dorothy Gale’s return to the land over the rainbow is one of the most beloved and bizarre film sequels in cinematic history and the USC School of Cinematic Arts hosted co-writer/director Walter Murch and producer Walter Maslansky on February 13th as part of the Movies We Love series.
February 18, 2015
On February 6, 2015, Academy Award-winning director, William Friedkin lit up the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre with a fantastic talk about his legendary career.
Trojan Vision Can't Stop
After seventeen years, SCA's student operated network is better than ever
February 11, 2015
Just two minutes after you enter the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, the home of Trojan Vision, it’s clear that this is not a typical classroom environment. Though working at Trojan Vision is a fundamental part of CTPR 409: Practicum in Television Production, the work demands dedication and time that extends far beyond the on-paper requirements.
February 10, 2015
Alum Doug Blush checks in from Park City
February 10, 2015
Numerous USC SCA Interactive Media and Game Design graduates were nominated for their work at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) and the Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) in 2015. The IGF Awards honor the best designers in independent gaming and strive to encourage innovation in game development, while the GDCA are the premier accolades for peer recognition in the digital games industry.
February 5, 2015
Discovering her passion for TV and film in SCA’s Division of Writing, Heather V. Regnier ’08 found supportive communities among her fellow SCA alumni as she embarked on her screenwriting career after graduation. Now writing for not one, but two big hit series, Falling Skies and Sleepy Hollow, Regnier recently discussed her journey as a screenwriter and her definition of success.
SCA Has Banner Year in Park City
February 4, 2015
Careers are made at the Sundance Film Festival. Across generations, filmmakers from Bryan Singer to Ryan Coogler have started their storied careers at the Park City Festival. This year, 33 films with Trojans in key positions were shown at Sundance/Slamdance and 5 films were sold.
February 2, 2015
A team of SCA Alums has taken home the $1,000,000 grand prize in Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” Commercial Contest.
January 30, 2015
In a generous show of support for film education and academia, acclaimed director Ridley Scott has donated his extensive collection of film memorabilia to the School of Cinematic Arts. The collection, which includes scripts, photography, storyboards, production-design boards, and other items, commemorates Scott’s remarkable, 40-year career as a feature-film director.
January 29, 2015
As filmmakers we often hear the saying that documentaries are “stranger than fiction” and that if you wrote this as a narrative script no one would ever believe you. FINDERS KEEPERS that I had the privilege of editing together with directors Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel, takes the term “stranger than fiction” to a new high. It is by far the funniest and most bizarre tale that has ever come my way involving a pitched legal battle over the ownership of a severed leg.
[SUNDANCE BLOG} Ross Putman
Alum Discusses his history at Sundance
January 28, 2015
Sundance is a weird place. It’s a confluence of so many things at one time, it’s often difficult to gain your bearings. And in some ways, it’s as though the festival prefers it that way; your senses off-kilter and unaccustomed, struggling to make sense of the winter wonderland in which you find yourself. There are the massive mansions overlooking the city, designed like one might imagine a mountain-chalet-Vegas-themed casino to look, complete with massive screening rooms, picture windows, and color schemes evincing a particular attachment to shades of brown. There are the theaters, strewn throughout the valley and not easily connected between (or certainly, not with swiftness), holding such varied numbers of people between them that it does not seem inappropriate to read, in the subtext, some prejudice against a particular film built-in to the assignation of a smaller screening venue. Then there are the restaurants, clearly designed almost entirely for the yearly-visiting visiting Angelenos, every guest grumbling at the cost, quietly suspecting that there might, in fact, be a “regular” menu that costs significantly less, distributed literally every day that isn’t during the festival.
[SUNDANCE BLOG] Doug Blush
Documentarian Checks in from Park City
January 27, 2015
Hello to all at SCA and beyond…I’m Doug Blush, currently at Sundance 2015 with the new documentaries THE HUNTING GROUND (as co-editor and associate producer) as well as SEMBENE! in the International Documentary Competition (as consulting editor). This is just a quick first greeting before a big ramble to come about our films, what Sundance is about this year, and what it means to have a premiere (or two!) here. These are my eighth and ninth films in the festival over the last decade, and the first year I also come to Park City as a faculty member…I’m teaching 535 Intermediate Editing at USC this semester!
January 26, 2015
On December 3rd, 2014, a special screening of Print the Legend took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. A Q&A Session with Director Luis Lopez and Co-Producer Andrew Kortschak followed the presentation, in a panel moderated by Alex Ago.
January 26, 2015
SCA swept the winnings for the Humanitas Prize in 2014, with two alumni being honored for their pilot scripts. Both winners are 2014 graduates of the M.F.A. Writing for Screen & Television program.
January 23, 2015
On December 2, 2014, a screening of The Guide took place at the School of Cinematic Arts. A Q&A session with Writer-Director Oles Sanin and Writer Paul Wolansk followed the presentation in a panel moderated by Distinguished Professor, Mark Jonathan Harris.
Sundance Blog 2015
Over 30 Films with Trojans in Key Positions to Debut in Park City
January 22, 2015
The 2015 Sundance Blog is coming just around the corner. This year, over 30 films will be screened at Sundance and Slamdance. See below for the list of names.
To follow the blog, please visit: sundance.usc.edu
Trojans Crash the Superbowl – Again
SCA Grads are finalists for Doritos Contest
January 22, 2015
Every year, the Doritos’ "Crash the Super Bowl" Contest, a commercial competition judged by popular vote, awards a $1,000,000 prize to the winners. This year, two teams of SCA alums made it to the final 10. Middle Seat, a commercial by SCA graduates, Scott Zabielski, Genevieve Younce Zabielski, Chris McKinley, Andrew Huebscher, Jason Cochard, and Shelley LaRue, follows one man’s quest to keep the middle seat in his airplane aisle empty. In the other finalist, Lemonade Stand -- created by SCA duo, Dave Horowitz and Nick Sivakumaran -- a little girl finds a creative new way to maximize her lemonade stand profits.
Don Quixote - A Palm Springs Recap
Massive Student Feature Film Debuts in Class Taught by James Franco
January 21, 2015
Making the student feature film, Don Quixote, was a monumental task. The film took ten directors, a full writers room, a cohort of producers, and Academy Award-nominated actor, James Franco, as an instructor. Don Quixote clocks in as the longest student production in the last two decades at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and was not only a massive accomplishment in storytelling, but also a lesson in the ego-checking art of collaboration. The film debuted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival to a capacity crowd.
Sloan Science Seminar: World Building - The Art & Science of Storytelling
SCA Hosts Exhibition of World Building Technology
January 21, 2015
One of the most compelling developments in modern filmmaking is how evolving technologies influence how artists express themselves. The USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has long been on the forefront of debating the importance of technological developments to creators and, on January 16th, the School hosted a panel discussion on one of cinema’s current cutting-edge applications of technologies: World Building. The panel covered world building as a function of pre-production in films, world building in the modern city and how transmedia is being increasingly controlled by fans.
January 20, 2015
On November 17th, 2014, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, spoke at length to an audience at the School of Cinematic Arts, in a discussion moderated by Dr. Richard B. Jewell.
January 15, 2015
MAP Ph.D. Candidate Nonny de la Peña’s Use of Force – an immersive, virtual reality experience that places users in the eyes of a bystander on the night an undocumented immigrant, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, was beaten to death by U.S. Border Patrol officers – was featured in a new BuzzFeed video. Their coverage highlights the project’s effective use of virtual reality for journalistic purposes, despite the medium’s more entertainment-based focus.
January 14, 2015
White Bird in a Blizzard, written and directed by SCA Alumnus, Gregg Araki, screened at the School of Cinematic Arts on October 19th, 2014. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Araki, moderated by Katie Walsh.
January 14, 2015
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000), the Academy Award-winning documentary by Distinguished Professor, Mark Jonathan Harris, was selected for addition to the National Film Registry for 2014.
January 8, 2015
Associate Professor of Practice Jason E. Squire was inducted into the DeTao Masters Academy as “Master of Entertainment Industry Studies,” spending Thanksgiving in Shanghai presenting a workshop at the Academy and lecturing at the Shanghai Library.
Publishing that takes the E-Book to New Dimensions
January 8, 2015
All digital writing is not created alike. A student writing for the SCA website might be happy that the illustration of her blog post is just one embedded movie or game trailer. But when working on her thesis project she needs to reference so many different kinds of media that linking, embedding and referencing becomes a new-media nightmare.
January 6, 2015
Gary Rydstrom ’81 is a seven-time Academy Award winner for his pioneering work in sound on such films as Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Jurassic Park and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Rydstrom makes his feature debut as a writer-director on the Lucasfilm animated musical Strange Magic, which releases in theaters on January 23. Juggling a full slate of work in the sound room with his “new” career, Rydstrom recently discussed his unique journey as a storyteller.