February 7, 2013

Bryan Singer Shakes Up Critical Studies

SCA’s Most Populated Division Renamed After Alum

From George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to Sumner Redstone to Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ray Stark, the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) foundation has literally been built through the names of its friends and alumni. Now filmmaker Bryan Singer ’89 joins the ranks of these entertainment industry powerhouses with a major donation to the School, a $5 million gift to name the Critical Studies division, from which Singer received his BA.  The Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies will be the first USC School of Cinematic Arts division named for one of its alumni.

Bryan Singer

“We are thrilled and extremely grateful for Bryan’s generosity and vision in naming SCA’s Division of Critical Studies,” said SCA Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “His gift is not only a fitting recognition of the division’s importance for the next generation of scholars and media makers, but validation of Critical Studies as a unique path to understanding and mastering the art and practice of cinema.”

Offering B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degree programs, the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies offers courses on the study of media ranging from big-budget blockbusters to YouTube clips to cutting-edge, immersive experiences. In addition, the division offers courses in the business, analysis and the cultural impact of the moving image in the United States and the rest of the world. Students from all six divisions at SCA, as well as the greater University population, take courses in the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies to enhance their understanding of media’s impact on the world, and in doing so, become uniquely prepared to follow a variety of paths after graduation.

“In a way, I began my career in the Division of Critical Studies at USC,” said Singer.  “Watching great films and learning how to think about film from the faculty transformed me as an artist and as a person.  I am honored to give back to the division, and the school which gave me so much.”

Singer’s gift will provide a lasting source of funding to enable the division to grow in excellence and stature, and to provide meaningful support for students, faculty and staff.

Since graduating from SCA in 1989, Singer has become one of the most successful filmmakers of his generation, with projects that have grossed more than $2 billion in worldwide box office. His debut film Public Access was a Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, and he gained widespread attention in 1995 with the mystery/thriller The Usual Suspects. Singer then tackled the enormously popular X-Men series, leading to a franchise that has continued for over a decade. Singer has also dabbled in television, directing the pilot and executive producing the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning series House, as well as the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated series Dirty Sexy Money.

Singer’s most recent film is Jack the Giant Slayer for Warner Brothers. He is currently in pre-production for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which he will produce and direct.