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In USC's inaugural science-themed filmmaking competition, USC Dornsife's Kevin Le and USC School of Cinematic Arts' Edward Saavedra, sophomores, took top prize for their short movie, <em>Time</em>, which explains why times moves forward and never back. Shown here is Salvador Dali's 1931 melting clock painting, <em>The Persistence of Memory</em>. Image © 2007 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Time Flies

February 17, 2012

To learn why time moves only forward one must first understand a fundamental law of physics: the increase of entropy. The law describes the tendency for systems to go from a state of higher organization to disorder. Consider…

In the Fall special topics course "The Fantastic in Modern East Asian Literature and Film," USC undergraduates and graduate students learned the film <em>Godzilla</em>, created by Japanese film director Ishirō Honda in 1954, represents the United States and Japan’s fears about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Image credit: 1954 © Toho Co., Ltd.

A Fantastical Take on Reality

January 17, 2012

Watching the film Godzilla with his classmates, USC senior Elton Keung initially saw the scaly creature as nothing more than a monster stomping through the streets of Tokyo, Japan. Keung was surprised to learn that the…

British Academy award winning director Michael Apted (right) discusses using real-life stories in documentaries with Micahel Renov, professor of critical studies and associate dean for academic affairs in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, during the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Student Voices Master Class. Photo by Kim Fox.

A Director to Look 'Up' To

October 14, 2011

For the past 47 years, director Michael Apted has navigated the rough waters of documenting real voices. Unlike actors in feature films, the people in Apted’s Up series don’t rely on scripts or take direction from…

Matthew Michael Carnahan (B.A., international relations, '95) is a screenwriter in Arlington, Va. Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan.

Silver Screen Storyteller

October 6, 2011

Banging out scripts from his home office in Arlington, Va., Matthew Michael Carnahan finds that real-world stories drive his creativity. One night while searching for a USC Trojans football game on television, a blip of news…

Emma Roll shoots footage for her ethnographic film "They Come in Waves." The documentary explores how surf tourism is affecting beach communities throughout Latin America.

Reel Life

September 12, 2011

A year of hard work came to an exciting culmination Friday, Sept. 9, as nine students in the Master of Arts in Visual Anthropology (MVA) program in USC Dornsife debuted the ethnographic documentary films they spent the past 12…

Holocaust survivor Renée Firestone in the film <em>The Last Days</em>. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has partnered with Comcast to release this documentary film and nine others in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Photo by Geoffrey Clifford.

Remembering Their Stories

April 18, 2011

Watching a visual testimony from a Holocaust survivor is a deeply moving, powerful and unforgettable experience. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, based in USC Dornsife, maintains a historic…

USC College alumnus Eric Garcia co-wrote the screenplay based on his novel <em>The Repossession Mambo</em>, which was recently transformed into the feature film <em>Repo Men</em>, starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.

Crossing Genres

May 20, 2010

Eric Garcia '95 has written about dinosaurs disguised as humans and con men with severe psychological issues. He's also envisioned a future where artificial organs are repossessed when patients can no longer afford them. Repo…

USC College alumnus Taylor Hackford '68 holds up his Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award trophy, flanked by USC President Steven Sample (right) and Robert Padgett '68, president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors, whom Hackford met while both were students. Photo credit Steve Cohn.

USC College Alumnus Wins Asa V. Call Alumni Achievement Award

April 27, 2010

Most people think alumnus and Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford is a product of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. "Actually, he never went to film school," noted USC President Steven Sample. "He studied…

Film Director: Taylor Hackford

A Global Lens

April 27, 2010

The year was 1967. The Graduate opened in movie theaters and The Doors’ self-titled album debuted. Despite student uprisings across the country, then USC student president, Taylor Hackford ’68, described the…

USC College alumnus Paul Frommer created a language for the film <em>Avatar</em>. Photo by Max S. Gerber

The Science of Language (Na'vi, That Is)

April 26, 2010

"Stars are fascinating," Paul Frommer enthused. "I recall many a New York night when as a child I stood out in a vacant lot bundled up against the cold, holding a star map and a flashlight covered in red cellophane [red light…