Film News

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 by Laura Braun

Ezawa is on the fine art and film faculty of the California College of the Arts and recently moved to Oakland after 20 years in San Francisco. He describes enjoying “seeing all kinds of people engaging with the work, especially those who don’t normally make it into an art gallery or museum. Art can be kind of an ivory tower, an elitist discipline, and public art like this broadens the conversation.”

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2015 by Jim Norrena

Oscar-winning directors Alex Gibney (l) with Rob Epstein at a Film master class

CCA's Cinema Visionaries Lecture Series is a popular public programs lineup of screenings and engaging Q&A sessions with today's most luminary filmmakers.

The lecture series is also part of the undergraduate and graduate Film programs curricula that gives students the invaluable opportunity to learn from the best directors in the industry

  • Alex Gibney (spring 2015): Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015); Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015); The Armstrong Lie (2013); Taxi to the Dark Side (2008)
  • Lisa Cholodenko (spring 2014): The Kids Are All Right (2010); Cavedweller (2004); Laurel Canyon (2002); High Art (1998)
  • Michael Moore (fall 2013): Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004); Sicko (2007); Bowling for Columbine (2002); Roger and Me (1989)
  • Sam Green (spring 2013): The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller (ongoing); Utopia in Four Movements (2010); The Weather Underground (2002)
  • Lucy Walker (spring 2013): The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011); Wasteland (2010)
  • Barbara Hammer (fall 2012): Tender Fictions (1996); Nitrate Kisses (1992); Dyketactics (1974)
  • Werner Herzog (fall 2012): Into the Abyss (2011); Grizzly Man (2005); Fitzcarraldo (1982)
  • John Waters (spring 2012) A Dirty Shame (2004); Serial Mom (1994); Cry-Baby (1990); Hairspray (1988); Polyester (1981); Pink Flamingos (1972)
  • Barry Jenkins (fall 2011): Chlorophyl (2011); Tall Enough (2009); A Young Couple (2009); Medicine for Melancholy (2008)
  • Lourdes Portillo (spring 2011): Night Passages (2013); Al Más Allá (2008); My McQueen (2004); Señorita Extraviada (2001); Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (1985)
  • Gus Van Sant (spring 2011): Milk (2008); Good Will Hunting (1997); My Own Private Idaho (1991); Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

The successful lecture series, founded in 2010 with a grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is funded with the generous support of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein.

Posted on Monday, July 6, 2015 by Jim Norrena


Hanh Nguyen (Film/Media 2009) recently completed her first feature documentary, Caffeinated, which was recently picked by New York-based distributor Filmbuff -- a company that specializes in independent films and documentaries -- following the film's screening at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival earlier this year.

The documentary is a coproduction of Running Reel Films and Evoke Mediaworks. Nguyen codirected and coproduced Caffeinated with Vishal Solanki and Vinay Gandhi as well as coedited the film with Ramon Cervantes and Christopher Roth.

The documentary is a coproduction of Running Reel Films and Evoke Mediaworks, and it was recently picked by New York-based distributor Filmbuff, specializing in independent films and documentaries, following its screening at the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival this past fall.

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Meet Alumna Hanh Nguyen

Nguyen is a Los Angeles-based director, cinematographer, and editor who approaches her work with professionalism, creativity, and dedication.

As a visual storyteller, her distinguishing style lies in her acute attention to detail, artful compositions, and skilled camera work. (Nguyen's visual techniques can be traced back to CCA Film cochair Rob Epstein.)

Posted on Thursday, June 4, 2015 by Laura Braun

It was just one of the stories documentarian Morgan Schmidt-Feng’s mother told him about growing up on a farm, but it certainly ranks as the most vivid: Back where she grew up in Iowa, she remembers watching her grandmother twist the head right off a chicken for the first time.

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Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2015 by Laura Braun

“I became completely obsessed with it and I shot hundreds of hours of footage, because even though it was always the same, there was this slow evolution to what was happening,” says the professor of film and a graduate at California College of the Arts. It also dovetailed with another project on the relationship of parents to children. “Part of it was letting the camera roll, but I had to be constantly present. I couldn’t leave because any moment something could happen, so it became a very meditative place for me in the studio, which is usually chaotic.

Posted on Friday, May 1, 2015 by Laura Braun

The second program I chose was a master class, Cinema Visionaries, with director Alex Gibney, in spirited and enthralling conversation with Noah Cowan and filmmaker Rob Epstein, co-chair of the film program at California College of the Arts. The increasingly prolific Gibney, whose Scientology film, "Going Clear," and four-hour Sinatra documentary, "All of Nothing at All," premiered on HBO earlier this year, talked about his strengths as a conceptualizer and structurer of his works.

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2015 by Jim Norrena

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Looking for a platform to drive positive change?

Want to challenge the status quo?

Seeking to think wrong in the process?

Welcome to Project M

Project M is a program designed to inspire and educate young designers, writers, photographers, and filmmakers by proving that their work -- especially their wrongest thinking -- can have a positive and significant impact on the world.

Spearheaded by CCA faculty member John Bielenberg, cofounder of Future Partners, Project M is a program for creative people who are already inspired to contribute to the greater good, and are looking for a platform to collaborate and generate ideas and projects bigger than themselves.

Project M has developed projects related to a conservation area in Costa Rica, microfinancing in Ghana, New Orleans after Katrina, the community of East Baltimore, and connecting households to fresh water in Hale County, Alabama.

Next Up: South Greensboro, Alabama, June 8-21

Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 by Laura Braun

On Friday, the day after the film is screened, Gibney will be in conversation with Cowan and Rob Epstein, the co-chair of the California College of Art’s film program as part of the Cinema Visionaries program. 

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Posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 by Benjamin Austin

Thor (Þorfinnur) Guðnason and Lynn Kirby

In 1985 documentary filmmaker Thor (Þorfinnur) Guðnason (BFA Film/Video 1988) was just starting his career, a journey that has led him to great success, when he graduated from CCA.

Since then he has made award-winning documentaries with worldwide distribution (National Geographic, TBS, ARTE, ZDF, NRK, TVP, Discovery Europe, etc.).

And like most young artists, Guðnason had many interests when he began his career, but it wasn’t until inspiration struck that he was able to pursue his passion in earnest.

Inspired by Filmmaking

“When I saw David Lynch's film Eraserhead, something struck a nerve in me,” says Guðnason. “I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: make films and tell stories.”

This revelation brought clarity of purpose, but realizing intent is only part of the process of becoming; actualization requires sacrifice.

For Guðnason it required leaving his Icelandic home, where no film programs existed, in search of cinematic opportunities abroad.

Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 by Laura Braun

The 55-year-old Hong is one of the most well-known Korean directors in the international film circuit. HIS Films depict Everyday human Relationships, Mostly male-Female Relationships, and sometimes explore larger Political themes through HIS unique aesthetic style, Which avoids the cliche. Born in Seoul, Hong studied film at Seoul's Chung-Ang University, the California College of Arts and Crafts , and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.