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The USC School of Cinematic Arts, until 2006 named the School of Cinema-Television (CNTV), is a film school within the University of Southern Californiamarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. It is the oldest and largest such school in the United States, established in 1929 as a joint venture with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The school offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs. For 2006-2007, the school had 865 undergraduates and 653 graduate students.

The School’s founding faculty include Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, William C. DeMille, Ernst Lubitsch, Irving Thalberg, and Darryl Zanuck. Notable professors include Drew Casper, the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Professor of American Film; Tomlinson Holman, inventor of THX; David Bondelevitch, President of the Motion Picture Sound Editors; and Mark Jonathan Harris, documentary filmmaker.

The program is one of USC's most competitive specialty schools, for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The BA program in film production accepts 50 students per year, while the Critical Studies department accepts 75 for its BA program, 15-20 for its MA program, and approximately 10 for the Ph.D. (three to four from outside the school, and five to seven continuing from the internal M.A. program); the Peter Stark Producing Program, the MFA program for Motion Picture Producing, accepts 25 per year. The BFA program in Writing for Film and Television accepts only 24 students per year. The MFA program in film directing accepts 48 new students each semester (fall and spring) and the MFA for screenwriting accepts 32 students per year (fall admittance only). The MFA program for the Division of Animation and Digital Arts accept 15 students a year, and the recently established BA program for Animation & Digital Arts accepted only 11 students out of 150 applicants for the 2008-2009 fall semester. Acceptance to any program is contingent upon review of a portfolio, which requires writing samples, creative resumes, autobiographies, and other written responses. The Animation portfolio should consist of artwork and an artist statement. The production portfolio does not require the submission of a director's reel or any film samples, allowing talented students who may have not had the opportunity or the means to create films to have the opportunity for admission. The school also has a summer film program that does not require acceptance to any of the above programs.

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

On September 19, 2006, USC announced that alumnus George Lucas had donated US$175 million to expand the film school with a new facility. This represented the largest single donation to USC and the largest to any film school in the world. His previous donations resulted in the naming of two existing buildings after him and his then-wife, though Lucas was not fond of the 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.

The USC School of Cinematic Arts joined forces with the Royal Film Commission of Jordan, to create the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) in Aqabamarker, Jordanmarker.


  • Since 1973, at least one alumnus of SCA has been nominated for an Academy Award annually, totaling 256 nominations and 78 wins.
  • Since 1973, at least one SCA alumnus or alumna has been nominated for the Emmy Award annually, totalling 473 nominations and 119 wins.
  • The top-17 grossing films of all time have had an SCA graduate in a key creative position.

Awards - USC Cinema Short Films


Film industry companies, friends, and many of the school's famous alumni have joined forces to fund a world-class film and television complex at USC. Their gifts and ongoing support have enabled the School to build some of the top facilities and equipment of any film school anywhere, including:

In addition to the new George Lucas and Steven Spielberg buildings, USC is also in the process of building new sound stages, animation, and sound facilities.

Areas of study

Notable SCA alumni

See also List of University of Southern California people

Notable faculty members and instructors

The Steven Spielberg Music Scoring Stage


  1. Sharon Waxman, At U.S.C., a Practical Emphasis in Film, The New York Times, January 31, 2006, Accessed February 10, 2009.
  2. Rachel Abramowitz, L.A.'s screening gems, Los Angeles Times, Accessed June 16, 2008.
  3. USC School of Cinematic Arts, Writing for Film and Television Application Requirements
  4. USC School of Cinematic Arts, Applications by Program and Deadlines
  5. Stuart Silverstein, George Lucas Donates USC's Largest Single Gift, The Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2006
  6. John Zollinger, George Lucas Donates $175 Million to USC, USC Public Relations, September 20, 2006
  7. Jordan Signs Cinema Pact With USC, USC Public Relations, September 20, 2006
  8. Mel Cowan, Cinematic Arts Celebrates 80th Anniversary With All New Campus, University of Southern California, March 31, 2009, Accessed May 1, 2009.
  9. Alumni Profile: Cannes Do Spirit, Trojan Family Magazine, Spring 2002, Accessed Sept. 19, 2006.
  10. Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex, USC School of Cinematic Arts Facilities, Accessed January 3, 2009.
  11. USC Self-Guided Tour, University of Southern California, Accessed June 8, 2009.
  12. Facilities
  13. 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."

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