News from 2019

A Conversation with Emre Okten, 2019 Student Academy Award Winner 
December 4, 2019

On October 17th, Okten’s animated sci-fi short, Two, which tracks a robot named ‘2’ on an abandoned spaceship, was awarded the bronze medal for animation at the Student Academy Awards. Okten was born and raised in Turkey. His work merges his interests in technology and art, and his love of science fiction. 

USC eSports Union Conquers Conquest
December 2, 2019

Please check out USC Annenberg News' coverage of USC eSports Union at Conquest

John H. Mitchell Endowment for the Business of Entertainment Launched
November 22, 2019

On November 19th the School of Cinematic Arts celebrated the establishment of the John H. Mitchell Endowment for the Business of Entertainment, which will support classes in entertainment business and will provide financial support to students training for jobs in the industry’s executive suites.

Stark Turns 40!
Alumni of the Peter Stark Producing Program come back to campus for a reunion celebration
November 18, 2019

In the fall of 1979, the Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing Program opened its doors to its first class of students. A lot has changed in the industry since then, but the program's core values endure.

"Making Waves"
SCA Professor Midge Costin documents our visceral response to cinematic sound
October 16, 2019

Costin covers working with students on sound, her film, the progression of cinematic sound throughout history, and her love of cars (for their sounds!)

“Now, the Floodgates are Open"
Suzanne Todd ‘86 visits Film Symposium to talk Disney+, Call of Duty, Jexi, and Storytelling
October 11, 2019

Todd visited Leonard Maltin's class after a screening of her newest film, Jexi.

Coming Out, Italian Style
Valentino Misino '19 uses his thesis documentary to show his true self
October 4, 2019

Valentino talks growing up in Italy, his influences, and the conception/making of his thesis film Swipe Me Tender

“Don’t Chase the Now, Chase the Timeless”
Notes from Stephen Chbosky’s Visit to the Writing Division's 'Conversations With...' Series
September 27, 2019

Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Wonder, Beauty and the Beast) talks the craft, telling teen stories, his time at SCA, and his next projects.

Grazer & Daley in Conversation
September 17, 2019

Collaboration. Networking. Relationship Building. These human connections are the building blocks of success in the entertainment business. That was the message legendary producer Bryan Grazer brought to the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). It’s also the theme of his new book Face to Face: the Art of Human Connection.

"Enter the Anime"
Alex Burunova ‘09 talks first feature (Netflix’s Enter the Anime) and her creative process
September 13, 2019

Burunova's feature debut dropped on Netflix in August. Here, she talks her creative process, bringing the project to life, and what's next.

In Memoriam: Mardik Martin
Screenwriter of Raging Bull and Mean Streets was 82
September 12, 2019

USC School of Cinematic Arts Faculty member Mardik Martin passed away on September 11, 2019. Martin is remembered by faculty, staff, and students for his energetic teaching style, passion for storytelling, and incredible memories from the “New Hollywood” era of filmmaking.

"Pioneers in Skirts"
Ashley Maria MFA '12 on Rallying Against Gender Discrimination via her New Feature Documentary
September 11, 2019

Ashley Maria MFA '12 talks her latest documentary, "Pioneers in Skirts," which tackles the trials and tribulations of gender discrimination  –– issues that "chip at away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams".  

River Gallo '18 Reps New Jersey, the Intersex Community, (and SCA), with Buzzworthy Short Ponyboi
July 25, 2019

Through the writing, shooting, and piecing together of the Ponyboi, Gallo grew into his identity, and then, was shocked to find out, became the creator of the first film written by and starring an intersex person in film history. “I actually didn’t believe it until we looked it up,” he laughs, “and there’s nothing! No one before this.”

Matt Schrader '11, Elena Bawiec '16, and Peter Bawiec '15 talk "Blockbuster"
The Pioneering, Genre-defining Lucas/Spielberg Podcast and its SCA Roots
June 25, 2019

From scripting to top-of-the-line sound design, "Blockbuster" is working to change the way stories are told in the podcast medium, starting with the tale of two Hollywood giants and their humble beginnings.

USC Among Three Universities to Share $50 Million Gift from The Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts
The gift honors television trailblazer John H. Mitchell and will support initiatives in Diversity
June 20, 2019

USC is one of three universities that will share a gift of $50 million, focused on ethics and diversity in business, areas that have become of greater importance and concern in recent years. The gift, from the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts, was conceived by the late philanthropist Patricia W. Mitchell to honor the legacy of her husband, John H. Mitchell, a television pioneer who died in 1988, and was President of Columbia Pictures Television in the 60s and 70s. It is administered by William C. Allen, trustee of the Patricia W. Mitchell Trusts. The other two universities to benefit are UCLA, which will receive $20 million; and the University of Michigan, John Mitchell’s alma mater, which will receive $10 million.

90th Anniversary Alumni Conversation Series
’90s Alumni Talk 290, Collaboration, Pursuing Passions
May 30, 2019

Susan Downey '95, Rian Johnson '96, Rick Famuyiwa '96, Danny Strong '96, Sasha Alexander '97, Joe Nussbaum '96, Richard Kelly '97, spend a night in Norris, talking USC, their careers, and answering student questions in an extended Q&A

Alumni Spotlight: Cinematographer/Director Tanmay Chowdhary ‘18
May 29, 2019

Chowdhary discusses his work in India and the U.S., sharpening his cinematographic focus at USC, and his new award-winning film (which he shot and directed) Color of November.

Commencement Speakers 2019
May 13, 2019

Universal Film Chairman Donna Langley was the 2019 commencement speaker. Nahnatchka Khan  was the 2019 Mary Pickford Alumni Award

SCA Mourns Alumnus, Director John Singleton
May 1, 2019

In the School’s hallways and on social media, SCA students, faculty and staff shared remembrances of John Singleton. He was 51.

Game Innovation Lab Nabs $300,000 Grant to Expand "Walden"
April 29, 2019

Ten years in the making, USC Game Innovation Lab's award-winning "Walden, a game" immerses users in a bucolic environment inspired by Henry David Thoreau's classic memoir. The virtual world of "Walden" comes fully loaded with lush visuals and thought-provoking paths of inquiry centered on Walden Pond circa 1847, when the nature-loving philosopher built a cabin in the Massachusetts woods. Lauded for incorporating themes like ecosystems, culture, and political activism into its gameplay, "Walden" recently earned a spot in New York City's prestigious "Design: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial" exhibition, running through January.

Rosenberg and August at SCA
April 25, 2019

Film, television, and interactive media are permeated with alumni of the Peter Stark Producing Program. Graduates from the USC producing master’s division form the backbone of many Hollywood companies and function as a “Trojan Mafia” within the “Trojan Mafia.” This past Tuesday, two Starkies gathered at the USC School of Cinematic Arts to hold a talk and Q and A to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the School.

90th Anniversary Alumni Conversation Series: Behind the Curtain
Kevin McCollum (MFA ’89) & Karey Kirkpatrick (BFA ’88) Swap SCA Stories, Sing Songs, Sling Advice
April 23, 2019

Reminiscing on SCA times together, performing songs and unreleased demos, or passing on sage wisdom, Kirkpatrick and McCollum put on quite a show. 

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Re-animated!
Six USC Schools, Over 140 Students, Sow Shelley’s Story into Collaborative Creation
April 16, 2019

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, USC and the local community gathered in front of Doheny Library for a breathtaking display of light and sound projected against the facade of the building. The project was a joint collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts, the Kaufman School of Dance, Roski School of Art & Design, the School of Architecture, the Thornton School of Music, and the School of Dramatic Arts. It is the first collaboration of its kind and has been in the works for 18 months.

Shattering the Glass Frame; Breaking the Ice
Women animators call for change, and a regular forum
April 16, 2019

Six months ago at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, hundreds of attendees showed up for an event that had the potential to be a new battleground against systematic gender inequalities that seem everpresent in the entertainment industry. This fight was particular to the field of Animation and the event was titled Breaking the Glass Frame (BTGF).

AMPAS Celebrates 90 Years of USC Cinema
Featuring a Discussion with Oscar Nominees and USC Alums
April 10, 2019

In a night of movie watching and movie talking, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences welcomed and celebrated 90 years of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television launches Week of Wellness
April 10, 2019

John Wells Division of Writing for Screen & Television launches Week of Wellness Events encouraged self-care and community

SCA Mourns Professor Norman Hollyn
March 19, 2019

Norman Hollyn, tenured SCA professor of twenty years and the inaugural holder of the Michael Kahn Endowed Chair in Editing, died unexpectedly on Sunday, March 17th. He was 66 years old.

Day of SCervice 2019: Alums Welcome Thomas Jefferson High School Students to SCA
March 15, 2019

On USC's annual day of community service, SCA welcomed a group of local high school students to tour the campus,
speak with alumni, and learn about the school, the industry, and the opportunities available to them.

Carving a Path Out of Hollywood’s History
Xavier Burgin MFA ‘15 on Social Media, Storytelling, and his latest ‘Shudder’ Documentary
March 4, 2019

Burgin's feature film documentary debut, Horror Noire, premiered on streaming service Shudder in February.

A Great Night for USC at 2019 Academy Awards!
February 25, 2019

SCA alums enjoyed a victorious night at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.


SCA Alums Win Best Short Documentary Oscar
Period. End of Sentence. chronicles the issues women face when their periods are considered taboo
February 25, 2019

Period. End of Sentence. is directed by production alum Rayka Zehtabchi '16, shot by production alum Sam Davis '16, and executive produced by Helen Yenser, who graduates from the Wells Writing Division in May. 

Rawson Marshall Thurber & Jon M. Chu
February 13, 2019

Alumni Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) and Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) kick off our 90th Anniversary Series in a conversation with each other about their experiences at SCA and throughout their careers.

True Crime, Teaching, and Top Knots
Skye Borgman MFA ’05 Reflects on Her New Documentary
February 13, 2019

Borgman discusses her Netflix documentary Abducted In Plain Sight, her filmmaking process, her past work, and teaching at the school where she honed her craft.

In Motion Magazine Winter 2018-19
January 14, 2019

The USC School of Cinematic Arts' Alumni Magazine