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


SFSU School of Cinema Faculty pictured with Dyanna Taylor, 5 time Emmy Award-winning cinematographer and director who gave a master class in Professor Alex Nevill's 650 course.

From the Director

Dear SFSU School of Cinema:

Welcome to our filled-to-the-brim monthly newsletter! I am excited for you to gobble up the news, events, announcements, awards, articles, and opportunities shared here. As we begin to close the semester, I would like to share three pieces of advice to our students about three predictors for success in college.

1)   Practice talking with your teachers.  Students who know how to use office hours get a lot of good advising that help instill effective habits for success in the classroom and out. 

2)   Students who choose to join clubs right away find community sooner. And a sense of belonging is soon established. For example, the new Black Film Club promises to bring exciting new activities on campus!

3)    Most successful students are those who glean happiness from using the resources available on campus. Ask yourself: what is available to you and did you utilize them? I encourage you to use the Advising Resource Center (ARC) to help roadmap your degree and go to Campus Academic Resource Program (CARP) and the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) for free tutoring. 

Lastly, thanks to the faculty and staff for their spirit and belief in what we are doing at SFSU School of Cinema. They give us strength as a community with the heavy lifting they conduct at this time of the semester. 

I hope you all have a restful break as we cross the finish line of 2019.  We hope to see you at the memorial for our dear colleague Jim Goldner on December 6th, 2019, 6pm at the Coppola Theater.

Let’s do great things together,



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

Professor and Director
School of Cinema, SFSU

Undergraduate Advising

Dear Students,

With the Spring semester on the horizon, the School of Cinema has planned several advising events.  Please join us for one or both:

Wondering about Spring registration?
Registration & Advising Townhall
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Library 244
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Planning to graduate this Spring or next Summer?
Graduation Workshop for Cinema Students
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 & Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Advising Resource Center / Humanities 110
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Snacks provided!

Hope to see you there!  

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

Scott Boswell
Undergraduate Advising Coordinator

Classroom News

Macedonian directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov showed a portion of their documentary feature HONEYLAND and participated in a two hour discussion in Cinema 307--Yugoslav Cinema taught by Professor Steven Kovacs.
The film about the last female beehunter in Europe began its conquest of international film festivals in January with an unprecedented three grand prizes at Sundance Film Festival--grand jury prize, documentary special jury award, and cinematography. 
The filmmakers have a strong chance of being nominated for an Academy Award.


This three-day field-trip to Los Angeles has been a tradition for our MFA Cinematography class since 2010. The goal of this field trip is to provide the direct connection between the students and industry professionals in today’s fast, ever-changing, contemporary film industry. The field trip is significant to our SF State film students who don’t have the geographic advantage and direct connections to the film industry and professionals in the field.

Professor Weimin Zhang created and led the Cinematography field trip to Los Angeles since 2010 for five consecutive years. Due to the budget cut, the program was discontinued for the past three years. Thanks to the George and Judy Marcus Fund, we made it this Fall.

22 students (16 MFA students and six undergraduate Cinematography students) attended this trip from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12. We had a very intense but productive schedule.

To see more, please visit:

Faculty News

Director Celine Parrenas Shimizu is a guest on the legendary podcast BACKSTORY where she discusses Bruce Lee's iconicity. Hosted by historian Nathan Connolly who says "Bruce Lee did much to defy stereotypes, particularly the idea that Asian men were a feminine and weak. But for Celine, the measure of Lee’s masculinity can’t simply be reduced to brute strength. It’s the way Lee couples violence with regret, sexuality with consent. These are the key components of what she refers to as Lee’s ethical manhood." Celine Shimizu's segment begins at 34:30.


Professor Jenny Lau Ph.D. was invited by the Half Moon Bay Film Society to present a film on Nov 22. Since her research is on environmental cinema, which focuses on cinema's attention (or lack thereof) to the global issues of climate change and environmental degradation, she suggested "A Plastic Ocean". Soon after the community learned about the screening, she would lead a discussion. This included the media and thus the interview that you see in the link below.
The Public Works Program in HMB, which just started their environmental project planning, is also interested in joining the discussion. It is clear that cinema as a powerful narrative agent of the past and present centuries can be mobilized to face this monumental change. And change we must.


During the Oscar campaign season, Lauren Greenfield's documentary about Imelda Marcos is stirring controversy. Turns out "The Kingmaker' (2019) is a remake of Ramona Diaz's 'Imelda' (2004). Check out the Director of the School of Cinema, Professor Shimizu's blogpost on the subject. This is part of her work on the ethics of representing others in her new book 'The Proximity of Other Skins', forthcoming from Oxford University Press next month.

Season 2 of the documentary web-series The F-Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story edited by Assistant Professor Laura Green has been nominated for an IDA award in the category of Best Short Form Series. The IDA Documentary Awards is considered one of the world's most prestigious events dedicated to the documentary genre, celebrating the best nonfiction films and programs of the year. Both seasons of the F-Word can be watched at:

This year’s IDA winners will be announced at a ceremony at Paramount Studios on Saturday December 7th.

Director Shimizu will present the making of her new film THE CELINE ARCHIVE (work-in-progress) and discuss her work as an interdisciplinary scholar and filmmaker at Stanford University on Thursday, December 5, from 4-6pm at the Stanford Humanities Center

Undergraduate Student News

The purpose of the Black Film Club is to:
- expand the visibility of black-oriented films and filmmakers at SF State 
- highlight the contributions of professional black screenwriters, directors, cinematographers and other film professionals to the cinematic art form 
- provide a support circle for student film projects in any state of production (screenwriting, principal photography, editing, etc.) that depict black experiences and/or thematically draw upon black perspectives 
- To support the creation of student-run film production companies that render film production services - paid and unpaid - for real-world clients and organizations who have demonstrated support of black upliftment

If these objectives speak to you, you are in the right place!
Please contact for more information or to join the club. 

Graduate Student News


MFA Candidate Molly Stuart premiered her feature documentary,
Objector, at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and won the award for Best International Documentary. The film tells the story of Atalya Ben-Abba, an Israeli conscientious objector who is imprisoned for protesting her government’s oppressive policies over the Palestinian people. The film will go on to have its international premiere at IDFA, the largest and most renowned documentary film festival in the world. Screenings at several other film festivals will follow these premieres, in addition to an Impact Project which will make the film accessible to communities around the world and connect audiences to the film’s grassroots partner organizations.


"Loyalty: Stories, an ambitious multimedia project aiming to dispel negative stereotyping and misconceptions about American Muslims and explore the complex subject of loyalty. Short video documentaries (with more in the works) provide a window into the hearts and minds of some of the men and women of the Islamic faith who have put their lives on the line for our country."
For more information and the full write up, as well as links to the work, go to:

MFA Candidate Kiera Abdur-Rahman has been chosen by the CSU to be a Sally Casanova Scholar this year. The scholarship, also known as the Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, supports students who want to apply to doctoral degree programs by providing funding for professional development and application costs. This year the CSU awarded Sally Casanova scholarships to 74 students, all of whom receive one-on-one mentorship from a faculty member and are offered the chance to participate in summer research opportunities at institutions that offer Ph.D. programs. The award is aimed at students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Kiera Abdur-Rahman's mentor is Professor and Director Celine Parreñas Shimizu.

Alumni News

Rahil Alimohammad is an alumni of San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema (2018). He is a producer and founding member of the Bay Area Film Collective and also is a producer for a series of shows on The Mission podcast. During his time at San Francisco State, Rahil produced a commercial that was recently awarded a CLIO, the most prestigious award in the world of commercials. 
He would like to that the University for providing him the skills necessary to win this award and in particular his professors Brian Benson and Natasha V.
Link to the commercial:

Narrative Category: 3rd Place winner American Muscle by Nick Martinez. Congratulations!

Programs & Events


The School of Cinema hosted the 7th Romanian Film Festival of San Francisco last weekend, October 18-19 in Coppola Theater.  In some years it was the subject of a one-unit cinema course available to all students.  Introduced by honorary consul George Roth, this year's festival screened four feature films, culminating in SIERANEVADA by Cristi Puiu, the story of a family brought together in the wake of its patriarch.  At the Cannes Film Festival the director was nominated for the Palme d'Or.  Writer-director Bogdan Muresanu flew in from Bucharest to present three of his short films and conduct a Q&A.  Nearly a hundred students and guests attended thirteen hours of screenings.  

SF State Cinema students are invited to a free screening + Q&A discussion at the LinkedIn HQ - here's the link to rsvp: 

Amsterdam Ave. is a new Dutch American series featuring an aspiring Dutch Surinamese actress in Amsterdam and an aspiring Indian American DJ in NYC who switch places to follow their dreams. The show features female writers, producers, director, cinematographer, and an almost entirely female crew in Holland & NYC. Amsterdam Ave. also includes notable Dutch & American talent including our music directors DJ twins Coco & BreezyCatherine Curtin (Insecure, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black), Beau SchneiderFarrieda Smit, and Michael de Roos. Amsterdam Ave. is currently on a worldwide screening tour connecting with fans in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Pittsburgh at locations including the LinkedIn HQ, Scholastic HQ, Soho House, Dutch Embassy, Carnegie Mellon University, and more. 
 Check out the trailer and first episode on Youtube and the series Instagram


12/5/2019 in FA344A 1230-2pm. Salon with UC Press Film Editor Raina Polivka for Faculty and Graduate Students as well as any other students interested in the publishing industry for Cinema Studies.

Join us for an evening 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.
Our celebration of his life will take place Friday, December 6 at Coppola Theater, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and tributes at 7 p.m., starting with a film Jim made about his many years at State.
Come prepared to share your favorite memory or anecdote of our smiling and beloved Jim.
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:


The purpose of the fellowship is to provide an opportunity for a graduating senior to develop an original screenplay and assist in transitioning into the professional world of screenwriting. The Writers Guild Initiative is looking for diverse and emerging voices, and for projects that are character driven and personal in nature.
This program, now in its 12th year, is a partnership between the Writers Guild Initiative and the King Family Foundation, and this is its fourth year being hosted on The winner receives a $10,000 stipend to write an original screenplay.
Deadline is not clear on the website but it looks like they are making a "shortlist" in early December.
Learn more:

DEADLINE:  Sunday, December 1, 2019
Graduate and undergraduate students studying at American colleges and universities who aspire to become foreign correspondents are invited to apply for one of 16 scholarships/fellowships to be awarded by the Overseas Press Club Foundation. American students studying abroad are also eligible to apply.
From among those chosen, the Foundation selects up to 12 scholars and pays travel and living expenses for them to spend time in the foreign bureaus of such leading news organization as the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg, GroundTruth Project, Wall Street Journal and Forbes and at foreign English-language media companies such as the South China Morning Post. Students win either a $3,000 grant (which they may use for any purpose) or funding for their overseas assignment. In many cases, winning a prestigious OPC Foundation award has helped launch careers.
Learn more:

The Laura Bassi Scholarship, which awards a total of $8,000 thrice per  
annum, was established by Editing Press in 2018 with the aim of providing  
editorial assistance to postgraduates and junior academics whose research  
focuses on neglected topics of study, broadly construed. The scholarships  
are open to every discipline and the next round of funding will be awarded  
in December 2019:
      Winter 2019
      Application deadline: 25 November 2019
      Results: 15 December 2019
All currently enrolled master’s and doctoral candidates are eligible to  
apply, as are academics in the first five years of their employment.  
Applicants are required to submit a completed application form along with  
their CV through the application portal by the relevant deadline. Further  
details, previous winners, and the application portal can be found at:

The Pentimenti Emerging Filmmakers Grant endeavors to support work by up-and-coming female, non-binary, and/or LGBTQ voices. In keeping with Pentimenti’s mission, eligible projects must pertain to art or artists in some capacity, although they needn’t necessarily be a documentary. Awardees of the grant will receive $2,000 toward a film or video project, access to equipment and editing, creative consultation, feedback sessions, and a spotlight feature.
Deadline: December 31, 2019

The WAVE Grant is for a first-time female filmmaker of color directing and/or producing a short documentary or narrative. To apply, please submit the following by January 1, 2020
Learn more:

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:

Support Student Success!
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