December 5, 2012

The Posters of the USC School of Cinematic Arts

Cinematic History Decks the Halls of the SCA Complex

Poster of Sunset Boulevard leading to the Dean's

If you’re heading to Dean Daley’s office, be sure to turn left on Sunset Boulevard; if you’re Out of Africa, you’ve gone the wrong way. Anyone trying to navigate the labyrinth of the School of Cinematic Arts knows that a helpful way to get around is to follow the posters. SCA’s new complex is the home of an impressive poster collection which spans continents, genres and time periods. More than just decoration or road signs, these posters help to keep film history alive and as an everyday reminder of the art form’s roots.

Director of the Cinematic Arts’ Archives Sandy Garcia-Myers discussed the thought process behind putting cinematic posters as a part of the SCA Complex and the Cinematic Arts Library. “We wanted all these different things represented and all these different films,” said Garcia-Myers. “What ended up happening is that the faculty got involved; it became such an interesting dynamic of putting the posters on the wall and just how involved people got into that. It began to evolve, and the truth of the matter is that it’s still evolving.”

Garcia-Myers and Steve Hanson, Associate Professor and Head of the Cinematic Arts Library, worked jointly to create a collection of posters that put film history on display. The collection consists of four main collections: the Library’s collection of posters ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s, approximately 1000 posters donated annually from non-alumni filmmakers from around the world, posters donated from alumni and a personal collection from George Lucas, which is largely featured in the SCA lobby and in the Dean’s Suite. With Lucas’s contribution, Garcia-Myers pointed out, “You can see from a miniscule part of his [George Lucas’s] collection the value that is placed not only on the posters but on the Cinematic Arts. Those are some of the most gorgeous posters you’ll ever see.”

Apart from being something interesting to look at in the halls, these posters serve to keep movie

The SCA Complex not only displays film posters,
but all media studied at the School, including

magicat the forefront of the SCA Complex and the Cinematic Arts Library. “[The new building] is the best thing that has ever happened to our poster collection,” said Hanson. “[The posters are] under museum-quality glass; the framing, the mounting and everything is the highest standards that you’d find in a museum, and I think this is handling posters the way they should be. When they are out for the public to see, they bring history to life.”

Garcia-Myers added, “I went through an appraisal to understand how this went around, and it was really at that point that I understood the value and what these posters really represent in the history of film, especially the 30s and 40s. Some of these are just gems; some of the ones that we have are a one-of-a-kind. It begins to open up about film history itself.”

Check out SCA’s extensive poster collection just by walking around the SCA Complex, or visit the Cinematic Arts Library.

SCA Poster Collection View the SCA Poster Collection Photo Gallery »