Filmmaker and alumnus Edoardo Ponti will deliver 2023 USC Dornsife commencement addresses
Edoardo Ponti will address more than 14,000 attendees at USC Dornsife’s graduation ceremonies on May 12. (Photo: Courtesy of Ponti.)

Filmmaker and alumnus Edoardo Ponti will deliver 2023 USC Dornsife commencement addresses

Ponti, who graduated in 1994 and now serves on USC Dornsife’s Board of Councilors, will speak to the College’s more than 2,000 graduates at ceremonies on May 12.
ByDarrin S. Joy

Edoardo Ponti has spent decades behind the camera directing some of the film industry’s most celebrated actors to create award-winning motion pictures. On May 12, he’ll draw on his talents and experience to inspire the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences graduating Class of 2023.

Ponti will deliver his commencement addresses to more than 2,000 students and their loved ones at USC Dornsife’s two graduation ceremonies, following the main USC commencement ceremony.

Ponti graduated from USC Dornsife in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and four years later earned a master’s in film from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He currently serves on USC Dornsife’s Board of Councilors, a group that provides counsel to USC Dornsife Dean Amber D. Miller and serves as ambassadors and advocates of USC’s largest academic unit.

Edoardo Ponti on a pier turning toward and looking at the viewer.
Writer, director and producer Edoardo Ponti’s films have found wide acclaim. (Photo: John Livzey.)

“A captivating storyteller, Eduardo manages to find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. He compels us to look at ourselves and our relationships with a fresh perspective, and illuminates our common humanity. We couldn’t be more proud to have him as a USC Dornsife alum and commencement speaker,” Miller said.

The son of actress Sophia Loren and the late producer Carlo Ponti Sr., Edoardo Ponti has written and directed several films — including Voce Humana (Human Voice) in 2014, The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars in 2012 and Between Strangers in 2002 — that have been screened and honored at some of the most prestigious film festivals, including those in Cannes, Venice, Tribeca and Toronto. In addition to his film work, he has written, produced and directed several stage plays as well as an opera.

Most recently, Ponti directed The Life Ahead, based on Romain Gary’s novel The Life Before Us. The Golden Globe- and Oscar-nominated film is one of Netflix’s most successful international motion pictures, ranking among their top 10 list of most viewed titles in 37 countries.

Ponti credits much of the inspiration behind his filmmaking prowess to his education at USC Dornsife, where he made poetry the focus of his studies.

“The core of my films is the human authenticity of the characters in the stories I tell,” he said “I felt that the best way to serve my craft was to dive deeply into the human granularity that poetry brings. Poetry is about getting at the core of things. It’s about the universe of the detail but also about rhythm. And film is also about rhythm, detail and finding the essence in every moment. To this day, writing poetry remains an inextricable part of my filmmaking process.”

Ponti added that his USC Dornsife studies also taught him how not to wait for inspiration, but to tap into it at will. He’ll impart lessons like this to the graduates as he addresses them at the newly named Allyson Felix Field on the University Park Campus.

“Commencement is an emotional and memorable experience, and I’m honored to address the students,” Ponti said. “I’m really looking forward to the energy of the day.”

More information about the USC Dornsife commencement ceremonies can be found at