MFA Film News

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, 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 Thursday, September 11, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Thinking about writing a screenplay? First talk to CCA Film faculty member Chris Mason Johnson -- that's what Filmmaker Magazine did in its recent article "Thinking About Screenwriting in a New (Old) Way Or: A Call To Arms!"

Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Cheryl Dunye and Kingston Farady discuss BLACK IS BLUE

Cheryl Dunye, previous Film faculty and current graduate advisor, earned the audience award for Best Short Film for Black Is Blue (2014) at this year's San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival (produced by Frameline), which ran from June 19 to 29.

Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 by Brook Hinton

Victor trailer


Screening at DOUBLE EXPOSURE - CCA Film Final Screening
Thursday MAY 8, 7PM, Timken Lecture Hall

Graduating senior Dominique Seward will present TWO works at the show this thursday night - a live performance (The Dom Seward II Archives) and a short from her upcoming feature Victor.

Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Pratibha Parmar, Alice Walker, and Geena Davis [photo: Jim Norrena]

Pratibha Parmar is a British filmmaker, director, producer, and writer who is known internationally for her political and often controversial documentary film work. She’s also a stalwart activist within the global feminism and lesbian rights movements.

In short, her accomplishments and commitment to making art that matters makes her an ideal visiting artist (MFA in Film) here at California College of the Arts.

Before she was born, Parmar’s family emigrated from India to East Africa, and then later immigrated to London, where she was raised and went on to study at Bradford and Birmingham Universities where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively.

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Film chair Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, the United Nations hosted a screening of Film chair Rob Epstein's and Jeffrey Friedman’s short film, The Battle of amfAR (Telling Pictures), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The film details the story of two very charismatic and powerful women who joined forces to create America’s first AIDS research foundation: Dr. Mathilde Krim and film legend Elizabeth Taylor.

The screening followed a discussion with Dr. Krim, and executive producer Kenneth Cole. The event was cohosted by the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative, UNAIDS, and amfAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research).

Attendees of the event included heads of international AIDS organizations as well as members of various advocacy groups.

Posted on Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Jim Norrena

What do filmmaking luminaries Gus Van Sant, John Waters, Barbara Hammer, and Werner Herzog all have in common?

Sure, each has an extensive career and has been honored with any number of prestigious industry accolades (think Oscars, Emmys, Teddys, Golden Globes, Sundance and Berlin Film Festival audience awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, GLAAD Media Awards, Career Achievement Awards . . . even a Filmmaker on the Edge award!).

But did you know each of these world-renowned filmmakers has paid a visit to California College of the Arts within the past three years? It's true. And what brought them to the college? Each was invited by the Film Program to teach a master class.

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 by Jim Norrena

In December 2012, luminary filmmaker Werner Herzog (third from right) taught a Film master class at CCA.

Last fall, on December 4, 2012, the Film Program, in association with CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, brought renowned German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director Werner Herzog to California College of the Arts as a featured guest in its Cinema Visionaries lecture series.

Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Rob Fatal's "La Bamba 2" premieres April 13 at the Victoria Theatre

Fewer than six months ago we reported alumnus Rob Fatal (MFA 2012) had completed his first feature film, La Bamba 2: Hell Is a Drag, which came to fruition as his Graduate Program in Fine Arts thesis. (Look for the CCA all-star crew listed in the credits!)

Fatal was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Berkeley FILM Foundation, which was instrumental in finishing post-production on the film.