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


A delegation of Russian filmmakers, producers, and festival organizers visited the School of Cinema on Feb. 10th courtesy of the US State Department. Director and Professor Celine Parreñas Shimizu and Professor Johnny Symons, along with Professors Laura Green and Steve Choe and DocFilm Director Soumyaa Behrens (not pictured), joined them for a lively discussion about documentary film festivals, curriculum, trends and impact. The group is on a 3-week tour of the US as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. Director Shimizu presented them with copies of her latest publications.

From the Director

Dear SFSU Cinema Community:

With our first newsletter of 2020 overflowing with news, events and opportunities, we dive right in to our robust and joyous Spring Semester in the School of Cinema! 
First, I hope your semester is going well! My tip for students’ success in the classroom and beyond this month: begin work on your assignments the very day they are assigned. See what happens when you start early, then put the work down to simmer or to consult with CLAS. By finishing up closer to the due date rather than starting then, you may recognize the intensely delicious feeling generated by giving time and space for the development of your ideas so that they grow, find light, and their very best fruition!
Please join us as we search for the next faculty members to join us at SFSU! Announcements will be made for the early to mid-March lectures and teaching demonstrations for the candidates in the Endowed Chair Assistant Professorships in African American Cinema Studies and Social Justice Fiction Filmmaking in the areas of race and migration and Latinx, Native American and African American communities. Thanks to all the students and faculty who participated in the job search for the new Assistant Professorship in Animation Studies and Production earlier this month. The School of Cinema is growing and it is important to hear from students about your future faculty!
Also next month, on March 9 from 10:45-12:15pm, we will host a LIFE AFTER FILM SCHOOL event on how to break into the local film industry in Coppola Theater. Thanks to Professor Scott Boswell for opening his class to all our students for this important presentation. Please check out the opportunities at the bottom of our newsletter to help inspire your spring and summer plans!
More immediately, this Friday, February 21 at 6pm in the Coppola Theater, the renowned multimedia artist Rashaad Newsome, whose work is currently up at the Museum of the African Diaspora downtown, SF MOMA and Fort Mason, will present “Queering Documenting Performance Art” in Professor Greta Snider’s 650 Visiting Artist Master Class. The Friday night talk, co-presented by Queer Cinema Project, is  open to all and will include a work-in-progress sneak peak at a documentary Newsome is working on with our very own Professor Johnny Symons. I am very excited to catch it! 
Next week, the year-long independent study work by Cinema Studies undergrad Ryan McCandless (supervised by Professor Scott Boswell) in our very own 50+ year old student film archives will be screened at the Roxie Theater in a program entitled “SFSU Queer Cinema Past and Present.” Ryan’s work on 1990s student films will be shown with new films by queer students and is co-presented by Queer Cinema Project. What a monumental event at the Roxie Theater on February 24, 2020 at 6:30pm! The filmmakers will be present!  

Lastly, congratulations to all the graduating seniors who applied to graduate this Spring and Summer 2020! You can still apply to do so with a late fee but you must act now in order to be included in the commencement program for the university-wide ceremony. As a reminder, we are also having our own Cinema ceremony on Tuesday, May 19 from 2:30-4pm in McKenna Theater. Please invite your friends and family. Forwardable invites will be sent out six weeks before the event. Graduates, please note on your calendars that you must arrive by 1pm for a rehearsal.  Doors open at 2 and faculty and staff will be there to celebrate with you and your communities. Mark your calendars for this and of course, the highlight of the year, Film Finals at Roxie Theater on the very same night! 
Let’s do great things together! 

Best wishes,

Celine Parreñas Shimizu

Professor and Director of the School of Cinema


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

Professor and Director
School of Cinema, SFSU

Undergraduate Advising


The San Francisco Film Commission is sponsoring a panel discussion called "Life After Film School: Pathways to Working in the Film Industry."   The panel will take place in the Coppola Theatre (Fine Arts 101) on Monday, March 9, from 10:45 AM -12:15 PM.  Cinema students are invited to join us for this unique opportunity.

As always, you are welcome to visit a Cinema advisor during their regular office hours: Click here for more info!  

Professor Scott Boswell
Undergraduate Advising Coordinator

Classroom News

Multidisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome visits SFSU as part of the CINE 650 Master Class to screen and discuss his work, which blends several practices including collage, sculpture, film, music, computer programming, and performance to form an altogether new field. He pulls intuitively from the world of advertising, the internet, Black and Queer culture to produce counter-hegemonic works that walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice, and abstraction. Rashaad currently has work on exhibition at MoADSFMOMA and Fort Mason, and is directing the documentary Get Your 10s with Cinema professor Johnny Symons.
The screening will take place at 6:00pm on Friday February 21st in the Coppola Theatre (FA 101) and is open for all cinema students, staff and faculty to attend. Co-presented with Queer Cinema Project.


Students performed to a full house at the last semester's end of term Sketch Comedy Show.

Faculty News



Professor Joseph McBride’s 2018 book How Did Lubitsch Do It? (now in paperback from Columbia University Press) analyzes Ernst Lubitsch’s films in detail in the first in-depth critical study to consider the full scope of the influential German American director’s work in both his native and adopted lands. McBride describes “The Lubitsch Touch,” offers insights into his working methods, and shows how he challenged American attitudes toward sex and romance. Film historian Molly Haskell writes: “We who love cinema and Lubitsch should be grateful to have such a book in our lifetime, and it will be the definitive work for years to come.”


The National Museum of American History invited Director Celine Shimizu to deliver a private talk for its curators at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC on February 28, 2020. 

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto launched her first single-authored book in English titled “(Un)veiling Bodies: A Trajectory of Chilean Post-Dictatorship Documentary,” last week in the School of Cinema.
    The book was presented by Dr. Michael Lazzara, Professor of Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at UC Davis and by Dr. Ana Luengo, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures at San Francisco State University.  
    Focusing on the cinematic treatment of memories of the dictatorship and its legacies, this book analyzes the rich territory of Chilean documentary during the first two decades that followed the restoration of civilian rule in 1990.
    The author argues that in addressing this contested past, post-dictatorship documentary performs a revelation of bodies — delineating a trajectory that shifts from revealing the bodies of direct victims to unveiling the body of the film itself.
    This is a journey deeply intertwined with the country’s own democratic transition. Informed by the affective turn in film studies, (Un)veiling Bodies: A Trajectory of
 Chilean Post-Dictatorship Documentary offers a novel approach to this rich but largely unexplored field of Chilean cinema by arguing that these heterogeneous works shift from a ‘cinema of the affected’ to a ‘cinema of affect’. By doing so, these documentaries contribute to Chilean society’s own restoration of the senses.


Assistant Professor Katherine Morrissey recently published "From Crazy Rich Asians to Netflix: The "Rebirth" of Romantic Comedies (part 2)." This is the second in a three part series for Flow discussing the evolution of the romantic comedy since the 1980s and how the recent successes (and failures) of Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before illustrate two emerging distribution strategies for rom-coms within an increasingly global media market.
   She was also a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio this February. Katherine joined host Rob Ferret on Central Time to discuss "Has The Rom-Com Been 'Reborn' Or Has It Never Gone Away?" Talking and taking audience calls, they discussed Katherine's recent research on changes in romantic comedy films since the 1980s. 

From Rapture to Rupture: Feminist Pornography and Beyond
Works of sexual expression are often considered taboo, in common parlance. In academia, pornography remains a topic of research that while nominally acceptable, can still prompt questions about the personal qualities of the person pursuing the research. In her essay for our “Sexuality & Gender Studies Now” series, Celine Parreñas Shimizu details the history of her experiences as a research expert in boundary-breaking pornographic cinema. She brings our focus onto crucial social science questions, not only analyzing the gaze and production of these works, but also revealing the social biases that may challenge sexuality researchers when their subject itself breaks from the norm.

Trauma is not the only thing that motivates sexuality studies; joy and everything in between do too! Check out Director Celine Shimizu’s new article “From Rapture to Rupture: Feminist Pornography and Beyond” where she reflects on her 20 years of working as a feminist pornography scholar enabled by funds from the Ford Foundation and the Social Science Research Council.

Undergraduate Student News


Nader Bahu's film, Outcast, was a Semi Finalist in the Motion Mobile Film Festival 2019 in Zurich, Switzerland. A selection of these films have been picked up by Amazon and are now available on the streaming service. Inspired by Nader's own experiences, the film is about disability discrimination. Nader is thrilled to have the film reaching so many people on a major platform.

Graduate Student News


Casey Beck's short documentary, Legion will play March 7, 9, and 10 at Cinequest in San Jose. The film premiered last Summer at the SF Documentary Festival and was also officially selected for the Dumbo Film Festival (NYC) and the Buenos Aires Film Festival. 
Gynnie Lindquist's commitment to cos-play gave her life renewed meaning after suffering through one of the darkest times of her life. Heart-warming and optimistic, the short film Legion reminds us all what it means to hope.

Alumni News


Jonas Rivera(Producer), along with Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen won the award for Animated Feature Film for Toy Story 4

Programs & Events

Queer Cinema Project is teaming up with the Roxie Theater to present a first-ever program of LGBTQ-themed films created by SFSU students. In collaboration with student researcher Ryan McCandless, QCP digs deep into the archives to uncover forgotten LGBTQ gems from the early 1990s, and pairs them with work from current students and recent alums. The screening includes fiction, documentary and experimental work from both grad and undergrad students. Come cheer on our local queer filmmaking crowd and witness the evolution of student voices and queer storytelling over the past 3 decades. Q&A with filmmakers after the screening. Monday, February 24th at 6:30pm.


Rick Prelinger is an archivist, filmmaker, writer and Professor of Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz. He began collecting "ephemeral films" (films made for specific purposes at specific times, such as advertising, educational and industrial films) in 1983. Partnering with The Internet Archive, Prelinger created the legendary Prelinger Archive, now over 8,100 films available to artists for downloading and reuse. In addition to numerous presentations and public lectures on issues of archival media, representation, and history, Prelinger has also directed his own compilation films (including several feature films). He is the creator of Lost Landscapes  - a unique, participatory travelling history project that involves the creation of a public film event featuring locally produced archives and home movies, customized to the area. Lost Landscapes films have been made in San Francisco, New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Prelinger visits SFSU as part of the CINE 650 Master Class series, Spring 2020.

The screening will take place at 6:00pm on Friday February 28th in the Coppola Theatre (FA 101) and is open for all cinema students, staff and faculty to attend. 


Filmmaker Kerry Laitala is unquestionably one of the most inventive and original experimental filmmakers on the American scene today. An expert in optical printing, D.I.Y practices, such as photogram and hand processing techniques, she utilizes these processes (among others) to re-shape ‘found’ materials into 16mm & 35mm handcrafted short films that embody and celebrate the phenomenon of motion pictures that made the early cinema going experience awe-inspiring. Her films are seen at both science / tech museums and museums of fine art. In particular, her work with large outdoor projections and intimate, hand-processed films are stunning. Laitala’s films and live projections have been screened at the Whitney Museum, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Sundance Film Festival, the SF and New York International Film Festivals, the Tate Gallery, and the Cinematheque Francaise, among others. Laitala visits SFSU as part of the CINE 650 Master Class to screen and discuss her work.

The screening will take place at 6:00pm on Friday March 6th in the Coppola Theatre (FA 101) and is open to all cinema students, staff and faculty to attend. 


Professor Dina Ibrahim presents live and via zoom to students.


The Black Film Club is an SFSU student organization committed to expanding the visibility of black-oriented films and filmmakers at SF State. We do so by workshopping and supporting student film projects in any state of production that depict black experiences and/or thematically draw upon black perspectives. Furthermore, we educate our members about the existing contributions of black film professionals - contemporary and historic - to the varied disciplines of the cinematic art form.


The newly founded Feminist Filmmaker Fellowship is here to provide equitable opportunities for disenfranchised filmmakers from SFSU and stand in solidarity with other organizations fighting the same cause.

 Our objective is to CREATE a space for opportunity, CELEBRATE female and non-binary works, CONNECT with the industry, and build a sense of COMMUNITY with one another.  

 Our goals for the club include getting equipment for members’ use, creating in-club films, hosting festivals and screenings, building a support team on and off campus, and more.

 For information please email:

 + Follow us on Instagram: @feministfilmmakerfellowship



Are you developing a queer-themed film or idea? Queer Cinema Project is seeking LGBTQ films of any genre for our Spring Workshops program. Students receive input and guidance from QCP faculty, and screen clips of their films at monthly QCP feedback sessions. Finished films screen in our annual Queer Film Finals in May. Each selected cohort member will receive $300 in production funding for their project. Interested students must apply by Monday, February 24th at 5pm. The application and more info is here:  Questions? Contact Professor Johnny Symons at


Sutro Review
 is seeking submissions for the Spring 2020 issue from undergraduate writers in all class levels and all disciplines. If you would be so kind as to share this flyer and ask professors in your department to announce this information to their students we would be very grateful. The deadline for submissions has been extended to Friday, March 6. More information may be found at

California State University, Long Beach

Chicano and Latino Studies 450: 1492 and Beyond;

The course explores cultural changes that resulted from contact among peoples of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas from 1492 to the present. As a study abroad course, we will examine these issues while traveling first to Mexico City and its surroundings. We will visit many of the cultural areas that were affected by the conquest. Students will take courses at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Centro de Enseñanza para Extranjeros [National Autonomous University of Mexico, Center of Teaching for Foreigners] in Mexico City. The courses will be in History, Political Economy, Culture and Language, while also visiting and learning about the civilizations in local regions that were affected by colonization. 

CSU/UC students from any campus as well as Alumni are welcome to and encouraged to apply. (Also open to any student wishing to participate outside the CSU/UC System) To Apply please visit

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis but priority deadline is March 9th. 


Applications now being accepted for the Markowski-Leach Scholarship for the 2020-21 academic year.  The scholarship is intended for LGBTQ students at Stanford University, San Francisco State University, University of California Berkeley, UC Hastings School of Law, and University of California San Francisco.  The award is $2,000 per year for two years of elibility before reapplication is necessary.  The application deadline is April 5, 2020.
Information about the scholarship and the required on-line application can be found at <>.  Questions should be referred by email to <>.

The Jerold Rosenberg Family Scholarship provides financial assistance (the equivalent to full-time tuition), with the possibility of extension for up to 3 years, to full-time students who may not have yet attained their potential due to financial or personal circumstances. 



  • Undergraduate student completing their freshman year (in spring 2020) with a major or minor in LCA
  • Full-time enrollment
  • Cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 3.33
  • A statement of financial need, education goals, and life goals.
  • Recommendation letter from one reference


A complete list of criteria and application requirements is available online. Applications are submitted through AcademicWorks beginning January 15th and due by April 1st 11:59 pm.


IMPORTANT APPLICATION INFORMATION: All LCA scholarships require one or more reference letters as a part of the application. All reference letters must be received, via AcademicWorks, no later than the application deadline in order for an application to be considered qualified and reviewed. This requires applicants to submit their application before the deadline, which includes providing the reference name and email address. References should be notified by the applicant that letters need to be submitted through AcademicWorks no later than a week before the application deadline, to allow time to solve any potential issues. Applicants should check their AcademicWorks student portal to ensure that reference letters have been submitted before the application deadline, resending reference letter requests for letters not submitted. Applications that do not have the required reference letter by the deadline will not be reviewed and are not eligible for the scholarship.

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible.
CAAM is seeking candidates for the following positions: Strategic Partnerships Manager, Sponsorship Manager, Festival Intern, and Development Intern. Learn more about each role and apply at their website.

This is a great resource to help you explore some of the many on-set careers available to you. They’ve provided job summaries, union requirements, and links to programs and communities that support women who want to build a lasting career in the entertainment industry.

SFSU ACADEMIC WORKS--various deadlines for awards that include the Rosenberg Family Scholarship “You never know when brilliance will come out in a student”--The Rosenberg Family Scholarship is a three year full tuition scholarship for first year SFSU student applicants with a 2.5.-3.25 GPA. 

Learn more:


The School of Cinema is seeking donors for The Gordon B. Thomas Memorial Animation Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship is awarded to a San Francisco State University junior, senior or graduate student, currently attending SFSU, majoring in cinema and emphasizing or minoring in animation.

Gordon “Don” Thomas (pictured here), animator and filmmaker, earned the first Master of Fine Arts in Cinema, with an animation emphasis at San Francisco State University. Don was also an instructor at SFSU teaching beginning and advanced animation classes. With this scholarship, Don’s family and friends honor Don’s memory and promote his values: creativity, diligence, inspiration to others, and celebration of human diversity. In addition, the scholarship is intended to promote Don’s commitment to learning, his love for teaching and his belief that we need to hear each other’s voices to make a difference.

Coming soon: A website to highlight Don's films and the SF State Animation Program.

Make a difference in the next generation of animators today!  Any amount is appreciated.

Your tax-deductible charitable contribution can be made here:

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