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


From the Director

Dear Cinema Community:

This is our last newsletter of an academic year unlike any other. 

Guiding me through the work of running a major film school during this crisis is an unflinching readiness to take on the complexity and difficulty of this time. I am now personally concluding this year with the death of a member of my family, from COVID-19. I am writing this letter directly after leaving my aunt Tita Evol’s Facebook Live funeral this afternoon. During this pandemic, we are together witnessing so much death and suffering within so little time.

This year began with an All-School Convocation, our co-hosting a major conference featuring major filmmakers and a major scholar, a Halloween Costume event where I dressed as the Tethered from the movie US and Tech Lead Artie doled out popcorn to costumed students, a Transfer Student event, an International Students’ gathering, Internship 101…and then we suddenly had to close the campus and cancel our big career event featuring 8 speakers, following shelter-in-place laws that still govern our lives. 

Our world-class faculty immediately had to work to re-imagine their syllabi and get up on Zoom and our students rose to the occasion by showing powerful creativity even as they moved away from campus. The staff and I meet twice as much as before to support our teaching and operation needs. 

Next week, the faculty, staff and students together present to our community a huge line-up of speakers and screenings that provide networking and community-building opportunities via Zoom and Vimeo from May 15-22 for our End-of-Year Showcase and Film Finals 60! I look forward to being with you there to see how the creativity of our community overcomes great constriction.

This is not how we expected to close 2019-2020. While we are unable to hold our commencement ceremony this year, I need to share with you our Valediction Project— graduating students saying farewell though 100-word statements. I hold close the plight of our seniors graduating this year. They were my very first group of students at SFSU when I started here four years ago. Their statements were gathered by a team of students and staff working over the past month as we waited for how the University would organize commencement. The words of our graduates who submitted their statements will be posted on our website soon—along with my farewell video, the portraits of our Distinguished Student awardees, and a list of our graduates.  

While we do not yet know from the administration whether the Fall curriculum will be delivered remotely, face-to-face, or in a hybrid manner, there is good news on the horizon. Joining us next year are the two new Marcus Endowed Chair Assistant Professors. Assistant Professor Artel Great, Marcus Endowed Chair in African American  Cinema Studies and Assistant Professor Mayuran Tiruchelvam, Marcus Endowed Chair in Social Justice Fiction Filmmaking, will be beloved teachers, respected colleagues, and engaged public intellectuals and filmmakers in the Bay Area and beyond.

I close this letter truly grateful for the support of the students, faculty, and staff who show how our classrooms are the ground on which our industry and discipline will transform, reflecting the needs and priorities of our students, the next generation of filmmakers and film scholars.  

As I do with all my classes at this time of year, I express my excitement for those continuing to progress in your degrees, and ask the graduates to please remember us. You know where we are because this is where you are from. You are of us. You have made your mark here. We want to know where you will go from here, especially in these times.

Be well, 

Celine Shimizu

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

Professor and Director
School of Cinema, SFSU

Undergraduate Advising

Dear Cinema Students,

As the semester winds down, my thoughts in particular are with those of you graduating: my heartfelt congratulations to all of you successfully wrapping up your college experience in this bizarre era! I hope we will be able to connect through online platforms, and I look forward to hearing about your future adventures.

Continuing Students: Faculty teaching summer courses will continue to be available for advising during summer session. Check out the online course schedule for details. If you would like to reach one of us, normally the best method is email.

I look forward to seeing many of you in the fall.  With any luck, some of these encounters will be F2F, but if it is necessary to continue isolating, we will do what film people have always done — face the challenge with artistry and perseverance. 

Take care,
Scott Boswell


Scott Boswell M.F.A.
Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Advising Coordinator


SFSU School of Cinema Presents

End-of-Year Showcase

May 15-22, 2020

Join us for a special celebration of SFSU School of Cinema student films, forums and guest speakers!  This year, we will be honoring the work of our students with a week-long student film showcase with special guest talks by alumni, faculty, and industry leaders.  All events can be accessed through Zoom, with videos available through Vimeo.

Password for all Zoom events: sfsufilm
Please register on Zoom in advance


Guest Talks & Forums

FRIDAY, MAY 15, 12-2pm

Graduate School Advising Forum with SFSU Cinema Faculty

Discussion moderated by Sabrina Ghidossi, SFSU Cinema Student

Zoom link: HERE

FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2-3pm

Distinguished Alumni Speaker Debbie Lum

In conversation with Celine Shimizu, Director of the School of Cinema, SFSU

Debbie Lum is an award-winning independent filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her projects give voice to the Asian American experience and other unsung stories.

Zoom link: HERE

MONDAY, MAY 18, 1-2pm

“Film Festival Distribution and Beyond” with Giona Nazzaro

In conversation with Pietro Pinto, Graduate Student, SFSU. Giona Nazzaro is General Delegate of the Venice International Film Critics Week and the Visions du Réel International Film Festival programmer.

Zoom link: HERE

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 1-2pm

Distinguished Alumni Speaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

In conversation with Elizabeth Ramirez-Soto, Assistant Professor of Cinema, SFSU. Kristy Guevara-Flanagan is Associate Professor at UCLA Film School and maker of acclaimed documentaries such as WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2012)

Zoom link: HERE

THURSDAY, MAY 21, 12-1pm 
MA Graduate Showcase

Moderated and introduced by Steve Choe, Associate Professor of Cinema, SFSU. A celebration for Graduates of the MA Program in Cinema Studies!

Zoom link: HERE


All films will screen on Vimeo at the times listed below followed by a live Q&A on Zoom, and

then be available on Vimeo for the following 24 hours, unless otherwise indicated.

FRIDAY, MAY 15 / Q&A at 7pm*

MFA Thesis Screening #1

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

*Films available on Vimeo 24 hours prior to Zoom Q&A

Celebrate the work of MFA filmmakers at SFSU!

SATURDAY, MAY 16 / Q&A at 7pm*

MFA Thesis Screening #2

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

*Films available on Vimeo 24 hours prior to Zoom Q&A

Celebrate the work of MFA filmmakers at SFSU!

SUNDAY, MAY 17 / Films & Q&A at 3pm

Year-long Advanced Fiction Filmmaking

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

A program of 17 fiction thesis films that students have made over the

course of two semesters in Cine 620 & 622.

MONDAY, MAY 18 / Films & Q&A at 6pm

Short Documentaries

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

A collection of 6-8 minute non-fiction thesis films from advanced

documentary students.

TUESDAY, MAY 19 / Films & Awards at 6pm

The 60th Film Finals

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

A tradition for over 50 years, Film Finals is the School of Cinema's annual student film competition. A jury of faculty and students select the best student films completed during the 2019-2020 academic year. Prizes and scholarships will be announced at the end of the program.

Additional link:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 / Films & Q&A at 3pm

Imagining Home: Real Virtuality

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

These films showcase the student individual projects from both CINE 616: Immersive Storytelling and CINE 715: Advanced Cinematography created during the COVID-19 pandemic situation under the same theme: Imagining Home: Real Virtuality.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 / Films & Q&A at 6pm

Semester-Long Advanced Fiction Filmmaking

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

The spring semester 2020 Cine 620 students present their films that range from experimental explorations of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, to an existential analysis of self and identity, and horror narratives -- both straight-up scary and those tinged with comedy.

THURSDAY, MAY 21 / Films & Q&A at 5pm

Animation Finals

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

A collection of animated works produced in the animation program this year!

Additional link: Animation Society

FRIDAY, MAY 22 / Films & Q&A at 6pm

CINE 612 Undergraduate Showcase

Vimeo films: HERE

Zoom link: HERE

A showcase of one of our undergraduate filmmaking courses.


Ryan McCandless, Cinema Major, ’20,
School of Cinema Undergraduate Student Honoree

This academic year, Ryan carried out a unique and outstanding research project unlike the School has ever seen. Motivated and independent, Ryan presented a written approach, timeline, and justification for his research project.  He was granted special access to Cinema’s media archive.  Subsequently, Ryan pored over hours and hours of student films made in the 1990s to identify 18 projects with distinctly queer subject matter.  The resulting paper is a fascinating read.  Exceeding A-level competency, it astutely memorializes work from a pivotal cultural moment in queer history (now commonly referred to as “New Queer Cinema” in academic circles).  The paper also inspired a special sold-out screening at San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre, “SFSU Queer Cinema – Past & Present,” featuring films from Ryan’s paper. 

Kirk Mudle, Cinema Major, ’20,
School of Cinema MA Graduate Student Honoree

Kirk Mudle completed an exemplary MA Thesis in Cinema Studies called, “The Limits of Resemblance: Gender Representation in the Films of Hong Sang-Soo.” It expands our knowledge of contemporary Korean film by performing an incisive critique of narrative and form while rethinking the relationship between gender, auteurship, and the cinematic apparatus.

Molly Stuart, Cinema Major, ’20,
School of Cinema MFA Graduate Student Honoree

Molly’s work appears in Democracy Now! and Mother Jones.  Her first-year film played in twenty festivals, winning four. Another won Best Short at the SF Jewish Film Festival.  Receiving two prestigious grants, she made the most successful thesis documentary in our School’s history. Objector won IDFA, many others, and was acquired by Java Films.


In addition to the virtual commencement organized by the university, Cinema will have a dedicated web page in our School website to honor graduating seniors and graduate students.  It will include a short video recording of the Director delivering a message to our  graduating students; profiles of honored undergraduate and graduate students with photos; a list of graduates; and special to Cinema, our Valediction Project will have a special page. The Valediction Project--the act of saying farewell in 100-word statements is organized by the undergraduate students Kayla Miller and Adan Tepozteco, graduate student Jeff Miller and staff member Jiri Veskrna.
Please go to soon!


Please go to this link for up to date campus operation communications during the Covid-19 crisis:

Please go to this link to see the SFSU CINEMA responses to the COVID-19 health crisis.<>
You can find information about using the Hope Crisis Fund or donating to it at

Helpful resources are also located in this page maintained by the ARC, including information about the basic needs, the food pantry and short term loans:



Our own AOC Nalini Libby, was selected to receive this year's university-wide award, the Distinguished Staff Award for Excellence in Service.

"I am humbled and honoured to be the recipient of the most Distinguished Staff Award for Excellence in Service.  This award reflects the participation and excellence of every individual in the School of Cinema.  I am blessed to work with such amazing people.  The work of a quiet professional is tireless and there is no perfection.  However, if you can make a difference by helping someone the world is a better place.  My philosophy is very simple -  be kind and remain attentive to the needs of others." - Nalini

The problem is that everything is fleeting (2015) by Karly Stark
Stark's visual poem and artist profile were highlighted on CINEMATIQUE.
Check it out here.
Filmmaker Q&A here.
For more on Karly's work:


Image from: Shelter In Place With Mum - Episode 1 "The Rattletrap"

During this crazy time for all of us, I have been recording my grandmother's life stories. It has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time, as I have noticed her memories starting to fracture under the foggy spell of her dementia.
Some days are more clear than others in regards to the details she shares - but always consistent is her humor, lightheartedness and pure enjoyment in life - qualities of hers that have made me a captive audience member from before the time I could talk. 
Creating these tiny found-footage films out of conversations that began simply as a way of preserving my grandmother's voice and memories, has reminded me why I became a filmmaker to begin with - simply for the sheer pleasure of telling stories.
Watch Episode 1 here

Undergraduate Student News


We hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. 

We understand that the move to remote instruction has disrupted your educational experience this semester. To reduce any adverse effects on your academic progress, we are offering you the flexibility to choose different grading options for spring 2020. We hope that this change will help you focus on successfully completing the semester and will enable you to continue the path towards earning your degree during this challenging time.

Spring 2020 Grading Options

For any courses where your current grading option is "Letter Grades", you will have three options for your final grade:

Grading Options

Grades Recorded on Transcript

Option 1:

Letter Grades*

Graded (A, B, C, D, No Credit)

Note: No Credit (NC) will appear on the transcript in lieu of an F grade; NC grades do not negatively impact your GPA

Option 2:

Letter Grades* / No Credit

A, B, C, No Credit

Note: NC is earned for a grade of D or below

Option 3:

Credit/No Credit

Credit, No Credit

Note: Credit (CR) is earned for grades of C- or higher

*This includes any plus or minus grades.

For any courses where your current grading option is "Letter Grades/No Credit", you will have the choice to continue with this grading option or switch to the "Credit/No Credit" option. If your current grading option is "Credit/No Credit", there are no other grading options offered.

How to Change Your Grading Options

  • We are currently working on modifying your Student Center so you can easily change your grading options. The Registrar's Office will be sending a follow-up communication with more details when it is possible for you to make changes to your grading options. Please continue to check your SF State email regularly. 

  • The deadline to submit your choices will be May 26.

  • If you do not want to change the current grading option for any of your classes, you do not need to take any action.

Before You Decide on a Grading Option

  • You can view the grading option you are currently enrolled in for each of your courses in the Class Schedule section of your Student Center.

  • All CR grades earned this semester will count toward your graduation requirements (general education, major, and minor) and towards prerequisites for courses you wish to take in future semesters. In addition, any CR grades earned this semester will not count against the current limits on the number of units you can earn with a CR grade.


Getting Help

You are not alone in making this decision! Professional academic advisors can assist you remotely. The Advising Hub can help you determine the best office to support your needs. To make an advising appointment, please click on the button below.

If you need assistance in your classes, tutoring is open and ready to support you via Zoom! Please email from your SFSU email account with your name, student ID, course for which you are seeking tutoring (DS 412, ENG 114, etc.), and the days/times you are available for an appointment.

Withdrawing from Courses

We hope that the flexible grading options outlined in this email will enable you to continue in your courses this semester. If you are considering withdrawing, please see the FAQs on withdrawing for more information. Any course withdrawals in spring 2020 will not count towards the maximum number of withdrawals permitted.

Please know that we are here to help you successfully complete your coursework this semester so that you can continue your progress towards graduation.


Kim Altura

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education

Margo Landy

University Registrar

Graduate Student News


Logline: Life with a seven-month-old is filled with love, joy, and...monotony. The days are long, but there is beauty if you know where to look.

Casey Beck's short film You/Me, produced for CINE 715 Cinematography Workshop, was selected as a finalist for KQED's Homemade Film Festival. The finalists will be rolled out this week on KQED's YouTube channel and the PBS Media App, and a winner will be announced on May 15th.

Alumni News

Alumna Debbie Lum, One of Two Distinguished Alumni Speakers! Kristy Guevara-Flanagan joins us on 5/20!

Hello Cinema Community,

I am excited to announce that our very own Debbie Lum will be one of our two Distinguished MFA Alumni at this year’s Year-End Showcase on Friday!

We are hosting a Zoom Event on May 15th from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm PST where Debbie Lum will be in conversation with SFSU Cinema Director Celine Shimizu.

MFA alumna Debbie Lum is an award-winning independent filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her projects give voice to the Asian American experience and other unsung stories. Debbie Lum will be answering questions about what led to her success in the film industry as well as discuss her award-winning documentary SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE and her new forthcoming work, both funded by ITVS. Debbie has partnered with ITVS to conduct an interview that talks about her documentary, SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE which unpacks the unusual desire that white males have— towards a fetishization of Asian women and how these desires can affect marriages and families. Here is the link to the interview: Professor Celine Shimizu has written about this very subject in her award-winning book THE HYPERSEXUALITY OF RACE. Join them in conversation and a special Q&A with you, Cinema students.

We are lucky to offer Cinema students the opportunity to view the film before tuning into our Distinguished Alumni event. SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE is available on the New Day Films site. And by signing up for free you will be able to view the film for up to 14 days, the link to the website:

We are lucky to offer Cinema students the opportunity to view the film before tuning into our Distinguished Alumni event. SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE is available on the New Day Films site. And by signing up for free you will be able to view the film for up to 14 days, the link to the website:

Please join us in welcoming Debbie Lum back to SFSU via Zoom. I will be introducing the event and I hope to see you there!

Register for the Zoom Event with the link attached: HERE

Password:  sfsufilm

Best wishes,

Kayla Miller
Student Organizer
Cinema Major 

Programs & Events

- A conversation with GIONA NAZZARO

May 18, 2020, 1-2 pm

The Distribution and Beyond Film Conference will discuss ins and outs of film festivals, including the submission process and short film distribution deals. This will guide SFSU cinema students (graduate and undergraduates) through the challenges of post-production and distribution. It will answer questions such as “What do I have to do after I have created a short film?” and “How can I successfully distribute my short film?”.

We will be joined by Giona Nazzaro the General Delegate of Venice International Film Critics' Week and Vision du Reel Film Festival programmer. He will share his expertise with students. The conference will be a 30-minute conversation with Giona, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session in which students will be invited to participate.

The conference will be moderated by Pietro Pinto, SFSU alumni and instructor.

This online event will be part of the end-of-the-year-student showcase. It will be open to all SFSU Cinema students and streamed online.
Link: HERE
Zoom meeting ID #. 538-646-1681
Password. sfsufilm


With finals just around the corner, Feminist Filmmaker Fellowship is holding a writer's workshop every Sunday from 3-4pm.

Bring your writings and/or films for an editing critique. Get some helpful feedback on your work! For Zoom access email


Tours of the School of Cinema are suspended for the Spring Semester of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now providing a virtual tour of our facilities via this link below. Thank you to Professor Weimin Zhang for producing it for future members of our community at SFSU School of Cinema.


This VR film was created in collaboration with faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students in this unprecedented and stressful situation right before the closure of the campus. The VR tour provides an easy and friendly opportunity for the tenure-track candidates, prospective graduate, and undergraduate students to virtually visit the School of Cinema.



Here are upcoming free Zoom panels about craft and other topics relevant to writers. 

On May 12 at 4pm PT, The writers guild panel will go inside the writers room of Better Call Saul to find out how they've deftly crafted five seasons of the AMC drama. Hear from co-creator/showrunner Peter Gould and writers/producers Thomas SchnauzGordon SmithAlison Tatlock, and Ann Cherkis. Moderated by Patton Oswalt

On May 14 at 4pm PT, The WG will commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back with co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, who'll share his experiences writing the screenplay and his thoughts on the Star Wars sequel's impact. Moderated by John August and Craig Mazin

Follow the links to RSVP. You'll receive instructions to join the Zoom panel after registration. They now also offer the option to RSVP with a suggested donation of $10. Every dollar helps the Writers Guild continue to provide online seminars and resources while we're all staying at home. All Zoom panels will be recorded and posted at a later date on their blog. 

RSVP for May 12 Panel
RSVP for May 14 Panel

Amid well founded fears of an economy in freefall, there is opportunity for graduates in the workforce. This article and subsequent links to employers, highlights 88 companies that are continuing to hire even while the majority of the country is under shelter in place orders. Some of the companies on the list are relevant to an education in cinema but all of them are in need of your creativity and dedication to giving your best.
Check out the article and links here.

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.

The scholarships listed at this link are San Francisco State University scholarships offered by various colleges, departments, and offices.
Click on the scholarship names to learn more about each one.


Honoring our dear friend and colleague Jameson Goldner whose fifty years of teaching and filmmaking helped shape us and the San Francisco State University School of Cinema.
You might wish to honor his memory by considering a gift to SF State's "Jim Goldner Filmmaking Scholarship." If a total of $25,000 is raised for the fund, the university will permanently endow the scholarship for future generations. The first $10,000 in donations will be matched by a donor.  Send donations by check made out to “SF State UCorp” noting “Goldner Scholarship” to:
University Development
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, Suite 153
San Francisco, CA 94132
Or, if you would like to make a gift online, please go to:


Most of us will never travel to space, but through imagination and NASA's extensive photo and video archives, we CAN experience the wonder of the universe for ourselves. 
I am reaching out to let you and your students know about the 2020 NASA CineSpace Short Film CompetitionSponsored by NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Film Festival, this annual competition challenges filmmakers worldwide to create an original film (10 minutes or less) utilizing NASA's archival footage. 
We'd love to invite your students to participate! Here are the key things to know:
  • Anyone age 18 and older can participate
  • Films can be about ANYTHING, but must include at least 10% (based on the video’s total running time, not including credits) of actual NASA footage provided by NASA
  • Special guest judge Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed & Confused) will help determine the winning short films
  • Finalist films will screen at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival in November 2020, and other selected screenings/film festivals across the country, as well as on NASA TV and even the International Space Station
  • In addition to the screenings, a total of $26,000 in cash prizes will be distributed to the top five films
  • Submissions are accepted now through July 15, 2020
  • Full competition details can be found at this link:
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