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 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.
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:
People in Wireless News: Bing Gordon Named to Electronic Arts Endowed Faculty Chair at the USC School of Cinema-Television
Feb 11, 2005; Wireless News 02-11-2005 People in Wireless News: Bing Gordon Named to Electronic Arts Endowed Faculty Chair at the USC School of...
Carter cache finds a home.(Rick Carter donates collection of his work to USC School of Cinema-Television)(Brief article)
Mar 20, 2006; Rick Carter, production designer for "Munich," has donated a collection of his work to the USC School of Cinema-Television....