February 13, 2007

Charles S. Swartz

Entertainment Industry Leader Passes Away

By John Zollinger

Charles S. Swartz, respected throughout the entertainment industry and academia for his role in shepherding innovations that broke new ground in cinematic content, distribution, and display, passed away on February 10 from pneumonia, his family announced today.

Swartz, 67, was an important catalyst in the industry’s current transition to digital cinema; edited the definitive book on the subject, Understanding Digital Cinema; and brought together key organizations and thinkers worldwide to help move forward feature film and the technologies that make it possible. An educator and communicator known for his vision, patience, and boundless energy, Swartz is survived by 
Contributions honoring Swartz can be sent to the Save The Redwoods Leagueand the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
his wife, writer/director Stephanie Rothman.

  “Charles’ impact on entertainment was both exceptional and profound,” said Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. “That impact stemmed not only from his vast experience, but also from a deep passion for the dramatic role entertainment plays in shaping the lives of millions of people around the globe,” she added.

From 2002 to summer 2006, Swartz was CEO of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC-USC). Drawing on his industry and academic background, he reinvigorated and refocused the research center, providing the entertainment and technology industries with a venue to reach common ground on crucial creative and technical issues. Among his accomplishments were building ETC-USC’s Digital Cinema Lab into the entertainment industry’s premier test bed for new digital cinema technologies; laying the groundwork for an extensive digital home research center; and growing ETC-USC into a vital educational center for entertainment professionals. Swartz produced such important events as the Digital Cinema Summit at NAB, Other Digital Stuff: Expanding the In-Theater Experience, the Digital Screening Series and the Entertainment Technology Summit.

Prior to heading ETC-USC, Swartz was the director of business development for the entertainment industry at Anderson Consulting (now Accenture), and then director of integrated strategy for media and entertainment at the e-business consulting firm Sapient. When Sapient closed its media sector, Swartz founded Charles S. Swartz Consulting to connect entertainment clients with companies exploring the potential of broadband wireless.

Before bringing his expertise to the consultancy field, Swartz was an education specialist and program manager at UCLA Extension’s Department of Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts, where he created a trendsetting curriculum that was one of the first to embrace the rise of digital technology and business in entertainment and that set new standards for film and television education.

Swartz began his career in film and television production at Warner Bros. Television and then served as head of production at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, as well as EVP of acquisition and production at Dimension Pictures. His was the producer of eight feature films, six of which he co-wrote.

Swartz was an active member of SMPTE since 1985. He served as governor from the Hollywood Region in 2004-2005. From 1992 to 1994, 1995 to 1997, and again from 2002-2003, he was manager of the Hollywood section. He was also a member of the Hollywood section education committee (beginning 1991) and a member of the Lou Wolf Memorial
Scholarship Committee (beginning 2002). In 2004, SMPTE named Swartz a Fellow. In addition, Swartz was the treasurer/co-chair of the program committee of the Hollywood Post Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors of Digital Coast Roundtable. 

Swartz graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and did graduate studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. In 1996, the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of 100 technology leaders in Los Angeles.

The family has no plans for an immediate service. Contributions honoring Swartz can be sent to the Save The Redwoods League and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.