October 14, 2013

Bryan Singer Honored at SCA

Alumni Gather at Dedication of the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies

This year filmmaker Bryan Singer added his name to the list of Hollywood icons who, over the years, have helped build the programs and facilities of the School of Cinematic Arts. In February, Singer named The Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies with a $5 million gift to the division from which in graduated in 1989. On October 13th the School dedicated the new division with an event that included a Q and A with Singer, a reception and a screening of The Usual Suspects, his 1995 mystery/thriller that is considered a landmark American film.

Bryan Singer and Dean Elizabeth M. Daley

Singer told the audience that while he had enrolled in Critical Studies after being turned down by the Production division, his studies within the division provided the foundation he needed. “If I hadn’t seen the great films I experienced as a Critical Studies major or attended the lectures or the discussions, the films I made, I think, would be missing some depth or they might not have been made,” said Singer “To be an agent, a producer a game designer or even something in fringe media which seems so detached from feature films or television, you need to have a working knowledge of the way the moving image functions. To understand that benefits every vocation in the entertainment industry. ”

School of Cinematic Arts Dean Elizabeth M. Daley hosted the event. “I’m very grateful for this wonderful gift that Bryan Singer has made to the School and I look forward to the next generation of graduates leaving their mark on the entertainment industry and the world,” she said. In attendance were filmmakers Randal Kleiser, Lee Daniels, and many of the Critical Studies faculty including Professor Drew Casper, who regaled the audience with memories of Singer as a student. The Q and A was moderated by Akira Mizuta Lippit, Chair of the division.  Also in attendance was film editor and composer John Ottman, whom Singer met while on a film crew while he was still at student at SCA. They have been collaborating for more than twenty years.

Singer with filmmaker Lee Daniels

"Because of Bryan's great taste in film and his desier to expose those who haven't seen the classics that have shaped great filmmaking, I’m glad to see the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies unveiled,” joked Ottman. On a more serious note, Ottman told the crowd, Singer’s success is due to a passion for filmmaking that is genuine and palpable. “Bryan is the ultimate audience member. Many times when I’m sitting in the editing room, I look in the corner of my eye to see how he’s reacting. Many times, it’s like a baby’s face when you dangle a toy, sort of like a sense of wonder.”

Following The Usual Suspects, which won two Academy Awards, Singer went on to become one of the industry’s most successful writer/producer/directors. His many credits include the critically acclaimed Apt Pupil, which was adapted from a Stephen King novella, Valkyrie, the X-Men franchise films and Superman Returns. He is the executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning medical drama House.

For more information on the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies, please visit: http://cinema.usc.edu/criticalstudies/index.cfm