For Students and Faculty of the School of Cinema at SF State


From the Director

Welcome to 2019-2020 in the School of Cinema at SFSU! For the past 52 years, our film school has been well-known for its commitment to social justice and experimentation in all areas of film production, theory and criticism. This innovative energy permeates our halls, studios, and classrooms and powers the new academic year.
CINEMA NEWS is our inaugural monthly newsletter, enabling us to share news, announcements and key dates. If you have any news for our community, please send email to by the 15th of every month.
Recently announced, the transformative gift from SFSU alumni George and Judy Marcus generously provides support for two new endowed chairs, equipment, curriculum development, and student and faculty research and creative projects. Their generous gift truly makes this an amazing time for our School.
I am very excited to begin my term as Director. This newsletter, along with revamping our website and invigorating our social media presence, ambitions to bring together our community and amplify our achievements. New programs, events, and curricula aim to cultivate a culture of belonging, so all of our students thrive in our classrooms and beyond, in the spirit of creating a more accessible, diverse, equitable and inclusive cinema industry.
We begin the year with an Open House welcoming undergraduate students  on August 22 from 2-4pm in FA245, the central office of the School, where Advising and Blue Sheets will be distributed, as well as Faculty Advisor Office Hours and locations. Our Faculty Mini-Retreat on August 23 focuses on our Communication Plan and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Graduate students will be welcomed at a mixer on August 29.
Lastly, I invite you to attend our first All-School Convocation on Friday, September 6 from 12:30-2pm. Here, we gather together all of our students, faculty and staff in McKenna Auditorium to welcome the new academic year, introduce you to key people (with a special welcome to our two new faculty members in sound, Professors Rosa Park and Bethany Sparks), feature a special program honoring Professor Pat Jackson, the legendary sound designer and editor and amazing mentor, and provide a forum on advising for all students. The entire faculty and I look forward to meeting all of you there.
Let’s do great things together.

Celine Parreñas Shimizu, M.F.A., Ph.D.

Professor and Director
School of Cinema, SFSU

Classroom News

Special New Fall Semester Class: Cinema Faculty Showcase

This Fall, Professor STEVE KOVACS devised a one-unit course, Cinema 325.02, offered Friday and Saturday, September 6-7, in Coppola Theater. The class will introduce you to 12 of our faculty members. You will meet them and hear them speak about their areas of interest. You will be learning and receiving credit but, perhaps most importantly, you will get a much better idea of the people in our School, enabling you to make better choices as you plan the semesters ahead.
Friday—4pm-9:45pm in FA101
  • 4:00-4:20: Introduction
  • 4:20-5:10: #1 Celine Shimizu
  • 5:10:-6:00: #2 Julian Hoxter
  • 6:00-7:00: Dinner Break
  • 7:00-7:50: #3 Daniel Bernardi
  • 7:50-8:40: #4 Greta Snider
  • 8:40-9:30: #5 Joseph McBride
  • 9:30-9:45: Summary Discussion
Saturday—9:30am-5:00pm in FA101
  • 9:30-10:20: #6 Katie Morrissey
  • 10:20-11:10: #7 Alex Nevill
  • 11:10-11:20: Morning Break
  • 11:20-12:10:  #8 Scott Boswell
  • 12:10-1:00: #9 Aaron Kerner
  • 1:00-2:00: Lunch Break
  • 2:00-2:50: #10 Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto
  • 2:50-3:40: #11 Steve Kovacs
  • 3:40-4:30: #12 Weimin Zhang
  • 4:30-5:00: Summary Discussion
The course is offered credit/no credit. To pass the course, you must attend every presentation, sign in, take NOTES on all the presentations, and write a 2-4 page PAPER on a topic that will be assigned. Students not enrolled in the course may attend individual sessions.

Faculty News

Professor SCOTT BOSWELL’s new feature, A WAKE, has three screenings coming up:
  • Big Apple Film Festival in NYC (August)
  • Cinema Diverse (LGBTQ Film Festival) in Palm Springs (September) 
  • Marbella International Film Festival in Spain (October)
In September, Scott will be sharing work from his in-progress documentary about queer homeless youth at the True Colors Summit in Washington, DC.  True Colors United is a national organization that works year-round to end queer youth homelessness.

Professor JOSEPH MCBRIDE is working on a critical study of Billy Wilder. It’s a companion piece to his critical study HOW DID LUBITSCH DO IT? (Columbia University Press, 2018). His most recently published book is FRANKLY: UNMASKING FRANK CAPRA (Hightower Press, 2019). McBride did the audio commentary for the Kino Lorber Blu-ray edition of Wilder’s A FOREIGN AFFAIR, which was released this August. And he was among the interviewees on the CNN series THE MOVIES. Professor McBride acted in the Orson Welles film THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND and two documentaries about it, all released in 2018. This year, he is in two documentaries by Clara and Julia Kuperberg, YELLOWFACE: ASIAN WHITEWASHING AND RACISM IN HOLLYWOOD and GARY COOPER —THE IRRESISTIBLE.

Undergraduate Student News

NADER BAHU’s film OUTCAST is in a top 100 reviewed film festival, The Lonely Seal: International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival.
JAMILA HAYES, working with Professor Shimizu, and LINHDAN LE, mentored by Professor Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto, are part of the inaugural cohort of Marcus Research Fellows. They each receive a generous stipend for their original research and creative activity. Jamila Hayes is producing a documentary entitled My Brother, Your Brother. Lindahn Le’s project is entitled, "Gender’s Corporeality: Deconstructing Trans-Boundaries in Cinema." These students will be celebrated at a campus reception on September 6.

Graduate Student News

The M.A. and M.F.A. Coordinators, Professors STEVE CHOE and WEIMIN ZHANG, are organizing a welcome event and mixer for our new graduate students on August 26. Invitations are sent to all graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Alumni News

Recent SFSU Cinema Alumnae Take On New Assistant Professorships

ANAIIS CISCO is a media activist and assistant professor at Smith College. From Brooklyn, NY, she is a recent M.F.A. graduate of San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema. Anaiis’ film work focuses on the experiences of underrepresented racial, ethnic, queer, and gendered identities. Mentorship from faculty like Pat Jackson has motivated Anaiis to develop a craft of storytelling through practices of non-linear editing for emotion while building sound designs for nuanced story worlds. Graduating in 2019, she completed three award-winning short films at SFSU. Anaiis is a recipient of a 2018 Princess Grace Award for her thesis film, DRIP LIKE COFFEE—a queer love story. Professor Cisco will be visiting our campus on September 6 to participate in our All-School Convocation.

While in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University, SAM DAVIS-BOYD focused her studies on documentary filmmaking, specifically creating work that focuses on the body politics of women, fat bodies, and LGBTQ+ people. Studying feminist and queer approaches to filmmaking, she created up close and personal stories about people with bodies that fit outside the constricting bounds of the social norm, as a way to bring attention to voices that are often silenced. “Through the help and support of faculty, the invaluable experience of teaching several undergraduate production courses, and studying queer and feminist theory, the School of Cinema ultimately prepared me to become an Assistant Professor at Castleton University in Vermont.”

Prior to PRIYA VASHIST’s enrollment in the MFA Cinema Program at SF State, she was an architecture student in India. As a new film student, she gravitated more towards the visuals and craft of film production but soon developed a keen interest in film theory. While production classes provided her with the skills needed to make films, theory classes helped her develop her ideas and identity as a QPOC filmmaker. Through courses offered here, she gained expertise in screenwriting, direction, and post-production. Her experience working as a Graduate Teaching Associate for two years turned out to be instrumental in forming her career as a professor/ filmmaker at Old Dominion in Virginia.

Programs & Events

International Documentary Film Workshop

Fujian, China - Summer 2019
The 2019 International Documentary Workshop is a three and half weeks summer study abroad program designed and led by Prof. WEIMIN ZHANG, sponsored by the School of Cinema, San Francisco State University, and supported by the School of Broadcasting and Communication, Xiamen University in China. Since 2010, this program has been successfully conducted in different provinces and cities in China and Bologna, Italy. This international program has provided students an unique opportunity to broaden their vision and enhance their understanding about different cultures, societies, and political environments in the world. Through cross-cultural research and strategic content selection, student filmmakers team up and use the medium of documentary film to explore, participate and share experiences. This summer, fifteen SF State Cinema students formed into four teams based on their preliminary research and selected subject. With language and cultural support provided by the host university and volunteers, each team created strategic production plans, explored the issues of culture, ethics, environment and consent, and worked through the entire production and post-production process. There are four short documentary films (10-15minutes) produced and screened at the end of the program in Xiamen University. We are planning to have a public screening at SF State this Fall on Tuesday, September 24, at 6:30pm in FA101.
Short promo video:


November 4-5, SFSU

Call for Papers and Projects!
Pluralities 3rd Annual Nonfiction Film Conference: Medias, Migrations, Movements


Presented by the Documentary Film Institute
Nov 4 and 5 in Jack Adams Hall with Emergent Media Arcade both days.
Submissions due: August 31

Key Dates

  • August 22, OPEN HOUSE to Welcome Undergraduate Students in FA245 from 2-4pm
  • August 23, FACULTY MINI-RETREAT, 1-4pm.
  • August 26, WELCOME EVENT for Graduate Students. Invitations sent to all graduate students, faculty and staff.
  • August 31, PLURALITIES CONFERENCE deadline
  • September 6, ALL-SCHOOL CONVOCATION at McKenna Theater from 12:30-2pm.
  • September 6-7, FA 325.02 CINEMA FACULTY SHOWCASE, FA101. See schedule above.
  • September 15, Deadline for CINEMA NEWS to
  • September 24, International Documentary Workshop SCREENING, FA101, 6:30pm.
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