USC School of Cinematic Arts

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USC School of Cinematic Arts
USC School of Cinematic Arts logo.svg
MottoLimes regiones rerum [1]
Motto in English
Reality ends here [2]
Type Private film school
Established1929;92 years ago (1929)
Parent institution
University of Southern California
Endowment $200 million[ citation needed ]
Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, Ph.D.
Academic staff
96 full time
219 part time [3]
Administrative staff
144 full time
499 student workers [3]
Undergraduates 876 [3]
Postgraduates 715 [3]
Location, ,

The USC School of Cinematic Arts (commonly referred to as SCA)—formerly the USC School of Cinema-Television, otherwise known as CNTV—is a private media school within the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. The school offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs covering film production, screenwriting, cinema and media studies, animation and digital arts, media arts + practice, and interactive media & games. Additional programs include the Peter Stark Producing Program and the Business of Entertainment (offered in conjunction with the USC Marshall School of Business MBA Program).


It is the oldest, largest, and arguably most reputable such school in the United States, established in 1929 as a joint venture with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [1] [4] [5] Having been ranked as one of the best film schools in the world on several occasions, SCA has most notably topped THR's ranking for eight consecutive years. As such, admissions are considered extremely competitive, at an estimated 2% acceptance rate. [4] [6] [7]


USC School of Cinematic Arts 03.jpg
The George Lucas Instructional Building (top) was demolished in 2009 after the opening of the new Cinematic Arts Complex (bottom).

The school's founding faculty include Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, William C. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg, and Darryl Zanuck. [5] Notable professors include Drew Casper, the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Professor of American Film; Tomlinson Holman, inventor of THX; film critic and historian Leonard Maltin; and David Bondelevitch, President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors.

In April 2006, the USC Board of Trustees voted to change the school's name to the USC School of Cinematic Arts. [8]

On September 19, 2006, USC announced that alumnus George Lucas had donated US$175 million to expand the film school with a new 137,000-square-foot (12,700 m2) facility. This represented the largest single donation to USC and the largest to any film school in the world. [9] His previous donations resulted in the naming of two buildings in the school's previous complex, opened in 1984, after him and his then-wife Marcia, though Lucas was not fond of the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture used in those buildings. An architectural hobbyist, Lucas laid out the original designs for the project, inspired by the Mediterranean Revival Style that was used in older campus buildings as well as the Los Angeles area. The project also received another $50 million in contributions from Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company. [1]

In fall 2006, the school, together with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan, created the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) in Aqaba, Jordan. [10] The first classes were held in 2008, and the first graduating class for the university was in 2010.


Donations from film and game industry companies, friends, and alumni have enabled the school to build the following facilities: [11]

At the center of the new television complex is a statue of founder Douglas Fairbanks. He is seen holding a fencing weapon in one hand to reflect his strong ties with the USC Fencing Club.


The Eileen Norris Cinema Theater, a 340-seat theater that regularly hosts film screenings, lectures, and special events. It was where THX was first developed and installed. 052707-022-NorrisCinema-USC.jpg
The Eileen Norris Cinema Theater, a 340-seat theater that regularly hosts film screenings, lectures, and special events. It was where THX was first developed and installed.
Awards for USC Cinema short films

Wayne Collection

The USC School of Cinematic Arts announced it would remove an exhibit devoted to actor and former USC student John Wayne, after months of insistence from a small number of students denouncing the Hollywood star’s views and the portrayal of Indigenous Americans in his films. The exhibit has been relocated to the Cinematic Arts library which has many collections for the study of figures whose lives and works are part of society's shared history. These materials are preserved for posterity and made accessible for research and scholarship as will the materials in the Wayne Collection. [21]

Notable SCA alumni

See also List of University of Southern California people

SCA has more than 10,000 alumni. [3] [22] Among the most notable are:

Other notable faculty members and instructors (past and present)

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Michael Cieply, A Film School’s New Look Is Historic, The New York Times, February 9, 2009, Accessed February 10, 2009.
  2. The New York Times reports the motto as meaning "Reality ends here", but a more direct translation of the Latin approximates as, "The border is the regions of things".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 USC Cinematic Arts (PDF), University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, 2013, retrieved January 27, 2017
  4. 1 2 Waxman, Sharon (2010). "At U.S.C., a Practical Emphasis in Film". New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  5. 1 2 Rachel Abramowitz, L.A.'s screening gems, Los Angeles Times, Accessed June 16, 2008.
  6. "USC, NYU Top THR Film School Rankings Again". Indiewire. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  7. "The Top 25 Film Schools in the United States 2015". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  8. Stuart Silverstein, George Lucas Donates USC's Largest Single Gift, The Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2006
  9. John Zollinger, George Lucas Donates $175 Million to USC Archived 2015-02-23 at the Wayback Machine , USC Public Relations, September 20, 2006
  10. Jordan Signs Cinema Pact With USC, USC Public Relations, September 20, 2006
  11. Facilities
  12. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex, USC School of Cinematic Arts Facilities, Accessed January 3, 2009.
  13. USC Self-Guided Tour Archived 2012-10-14 at the Wayback Machine , University of Southern California, Accessed June 8, 2009.
  14. 1 2 3 Mel Cowan, Cinematic Arts Celebrates 80th Anniversary With All New Campus, University of Southern California, March 31, 2009, Accessed May 1, 2009.
  15. "The 28th Academy Awards, 1956". The Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  16. The Student Movie Makers, TIME Magazine , February 2, 1968
  17. Rinzler, J.W., The Complete Making of Indiana Jones; The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films, Del Rey, 2008, ISBN   978-0345501295.
  18. Bapis, Elaine M., Camera And Action: American Film As Agent of Social Change, 1965–1975, McFarland, 2008, ISBN   978-0-7864-3341-4.
  19. Alumni Profile: Cannes Do Spirit, Trojan Family Magazine, Spring 2002, Accessed September 19, 2006.
  20. KAVI – a short film written and directed by Gregg Helvey » Cast/Crew. Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  21. "SCA to Remove John Wayne Exhibit". Daily Trojan. USC.
  22. "History". USC Cinematic Arts. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Retrieved January 27, 2017. Our over 10,000 living alumni include scholars in teaching institutions throughout the world, artists, technicians, writers, directors, and industry executives, many operating at the highest levels in their fields.
  23. Weinraub, Bernard. "FILM; An Unusual Choice for the Role of Studio Superhero", The New York Times , July 9, 2000. Accessed November 27, 2007. "Mr. Singer attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan for two years, and then transferred to the University of Southern California."
  24. "Passings: Dick Hoerner, L.A. Rams fullback, dies at 88; John A. Ferraro, actor, director and USC teacher, dies at 64". Los Angeles Times . December 19, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  25. Kaufman, Amy (October 9, 2012). "James Franco to teach a USC film production class next spring". Los Angeles Times.
  26. David Kehr, Jerry Lewis, Mercurial Comedian and Filmmaker, Dies at 91, The New York Times, August 20, 2017.
  27. "Respected Cinematographer, Professor and USC Alumnus obituary". USC School of Cinematic Arts. December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2010.

Coordinates: 34°01′23″N118°17′09″W / 34.023056°N 118.285833°W / 34.023056; -118.285833