April 8, 2013

2013 Commencement Speakers Announced

Alumni Stacey Sher and Matthew Weiner to Address Student Body

Long-time ally of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and legendary producer of Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Erin Brockovich Stacey Sher will be the 2013 commencement speaker. In addition, alum Matthew Weiner, the executive producer of Mad Men will receive the 2013 Mary Pickford Alumni Award for distinguished alumni.

Stacey Sher

“It is particularly gratifying this year to have two SCA alumni the caliber of Stacey Sher and Matt Weiner returning for Commencement,” says Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “Stacey is a stellar example to our students of how to make empowering, entertaining and socially conscious films and television   and as a multi-hyphenate writer, director and producer Matt is an inspiration to our students of how an individual voice can redefine the boundaries within the entertainment industry.”

Sher is a two-time Academy Award nominee, having recently produced the new Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington. Sher and her producing partner Michael Shamberg are in post production on Runner Runner with Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, as well as on the film Get a Job, starring Bryan Cranston, Miles Teller and Anna Kendrick. They are in pre-production on a feature adaptation of A Walk Among Tombstones with Liam Neeson, written and directed by Scott Frank, based on the novel by Lawrence Block.

Their 2011 film Contagion was the third project Sher and Shamberg have done with Steven Soderbergh, including Academy Award nominated films Erin Brockovich and Out of Sight.

Sher and Shamberg’s other credits include the Academy Award® Best Picture nominee Pulp Fiction and the 2005 Independent Spirit Award-winning Garden State, as well as the films Reality Bites, Along Came Polly, Get Shorty and its sequel,Be Cool, Gattaca, Extraordinary Measures, LOL, Camp, Man on the Moon, Living Out Loud, Skeleton Key, Matilda, Drowning Mona, How High, Feeling Minnesota and the Comedy Central television seriesReno 911, for which Sher and Shamberg served as executive producers for all six seasons.

Matthew Weiner

In 2007, they produced Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank, written and produced by Richard LaGravenese. Freedom Writers was chosen as the 2007 recipient of the Humanitas Prize. Their film World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, directed by Oliver Stone, was chosen for the 2006 Christopher Award, which is presented to those who create films that affirm the highest values of the human spirit.

Sher and Shamberg were honored by the ACLU for their commitment to films and television that are empowering, inspirational and thought-provoking, dealing with issues from public safety to education, social justice to censorship. Sher is also the recipient of the 2002 Mary Pickford Award from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the 2000 Women in Film Independent Vision Award.

Matthew Weiner is the series creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed award-winning drama Mad Men, which launches its sixth season in April.  In addition to winning three Emmys and five WGA Awards for writing on the series, Weiner has received Directors Guild nominations for his efforts behind the camera on Meditations in an Emergency in Season Two and the Season Three finale, “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.”

Weiner is currently in post-production on the feature filmYou Are Here, which he wrote and directed. The film stars Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler.

Weiner’s additional credits include serving as an executive producer and writer on The Sopranos, and writer on various television comedy series including The Naked Truth, Becker, and Andy Richter Controls the Universe. He made his feature film debut writing and directing the independent film,What Do You Do All Day?.

Born in Los Angeles, Weiner studied Philosophy, Literature, and History at Wesleyan University.  He also earned his MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television.  Weiner currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, architect Linda Brettler, and their four sons