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


From the Director

The School of Cinema opened our doors this month to a very special guest! Our new SFSU President Lynn Mahoney visited our facilities with Dean Andy Harris and Associate Dean Gail Dawson. I shared with the President the dynamic lectures and screenings in Coppola Theater and the exciting teaching and production that transpire in our Sound Stage. It was a pleasure to share our attention to both cinema studies and production for the past 50 plus years of our existence! And I sent her off with many flyers featuring our season of events. 

Our new Seasonal Calendar will be posted on our website soon so as to make easily accessible the various events available to all our students. Send your events to Attention: Calendar.  Thanks to MFA student Jeff Martin for putting this together! 

Some upcoming events you will find in the calendar include: 

  • October 31 will see the debut of our popcorn machine on the deck outside the Cinema office where faculty, staff and student workers will give popcorn to Cinema students in Halloween costume. This is an opportunity for students to mix and meet each other. Join us! 
  • In November, a salon focused on the challenges and contributions of our International Students will provide welcome and a place for camaraderie.
  • In December, UC Press Film Editor Raina Polivka will visit our School so as to review how to submit a book proposal and discuss the publishing industry as a career path.  

Thanks for sharing how the Monthly Newsletter is a pleasure to read! Appreciation goes to MFA graduate student Chris Wooten for putting it all together. Your work serves as a unifying force for community-building at SFSU Cinema! Please share your news by sending a 100-word blurb with any images to by 11/15!   

It is with heavy heart that I close with sad news about the recent passing of beloved Professor Jim Goldner, a co-founder of the School of Cinema who retired in 2015. You are all invited to hear wonderful tributes and heartfelt stories of Jim at our memorial event in the Coppola Theater on December 6 at 7pm (with reception beforehand). The community, including faculty, staff and students, is invited to help permanently endow a scholarship for student filmmaking in Jim Goldner’s name by going to: Meanwhile, it is a joy to receive the outpouring of love from Jim’s former students and all who knew him here, a place he so loved. We send love to his family and all across our campus and community who remember Jim so fondly and fervently. 

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

Professor and Director
School of Cinema, SFSU

Classroom News

The School of Cinema at San Francisco State University is pleased to welcome two accomplished cinematographers this October as part of the Fall 2019 CINE650 Filmmaking Masterclass courses taught by Alex Nevill. Stephen Lighthill, an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) member and chair of the cinematography program at the American Film Institute Conservatory, visited on October 4th to talk about how technology is changing the role of the cinematographer and his extensive career which earned the ASC Presidents Award in 2018. Dyanna Taylor, a five-time Emmy award-winning Director of Photography, will screen her recent film Who Will Write Our History? on October 29th and discuss her experience working across documentary and feature film production. Both events will start at 6.30pm in the Coppola Theatre and are open to all cinema students, staff and faculty to attend.


In Cine 325- American Women Directors, with lecturer Karly Stark, we will examine a series of contemporary film texts by American women that explore the figure of the “monstrous-feminine.” An embodiment of patriarchal anxiety, the monstrous-feminine preys on men, utilizing supernatural powers in search of justice, revenge, and/or pleasure. In these texts, including Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body (2009), Anna Biller’s The Love Witch (2016), Kimberly Pierce's Carrie (2013) and Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), we will discuss the monstrous-feminine’s connection to the genre film and feminist film theory, exploring topics like trauma, the female body, queerness and sexuality, violence, and power/empowerment. Cine 325-01 will be November 15 and 16.

Faculty News

Jameson (Jim) Goldner, the longest serving member of the School of Cinema, passed away on September 30 at the age of 81.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jim studied film at UCLA in the class that included Francis Ford Coppola and Carroll Ballard.  He worked on low budget films and major studio productions before accepting a position as assistant professor at San Francisco State in 1963. 

Originally a member of the Department of Television, Film and Radio, he was one of the faculty who broke away to establish the Department of Film.  He retired in 2014 after 51 years of teaching. In the course of his career he made many documentaries including the award-winning WHEN I WAS FOURTEEN: A SURVIVOR REMEMBERS.  

Jim loved to teach.  His favorite was Directing, a course that launched the careers of dozens of successful directors.  He originated the course Film and the Holocaust.  He was a beloved faculty member, known for his affection for students, gentle but rigorous teaching method and a sense of humor that infused his very being.  He had a penchant for puns that he delivered with mischievous glee.  No faculty meeting concluded without a comment from Jim that broke the tension, made his colleagues laugh, and put the issue in proper perspective.  Generations of students sang his praises.

He leaves behind his wife Geri Rossen, daughter Naomi and grandchildren Leon, Marcel, and Aliza May.

A memorial will be held in his honor Friday, December 6 in Coppola Theater, FA 101.  A reception will welcome guests at 6.
Tributes will begin at 7 p.m.  All are welcome.

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto’s new book (Un)veiling Bodies A Trajectory of Chilean Post-Dictatorship Documentary was published this month in the U.K. by Legenda. The book analyses the rich landscape of Chilean documentary film during the first two decades after the restoration of civilian rule in 1990. It proposes a trajectory that shifts from revealing the bodies of direct victims of the military dictatorship 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 offers a novel approach to this largely unexplored field of Chilean cinema. More information:


The new cinema studies book, Theorizing Stupid Media: De-Naturalizing Story-Structures in the Cinematic, Televisual, and Videogames, by School of Cinema Professor Aaron Kerner and Associate Professor Julian Hoxter will be published in November by Palgrave MacMillan.

Their book deploys the concept of “the stupid” to account for media texts and even genres that “fail” to conform to established narrative conventions, often surfacing at evolutionary moments in the histories of genres and media. From Transformers to Bioshock; from Adventure Time to Gone Home, this book is addressed to those interested in media that is quirky, spectacle-driven, or generally hard to place―stupid!

In praise of Theorizing Stupid Media, Professor Geoff King of Brunel University wrote: “A valuable contribution to our understanding of often neglected or denigrated texts (notably, the Transformers films), located here in detailed industrial and cross-media contexts ranging from the most mainstream to the more marginal and challenging.”

Professor Joseph McBride of the School of Cinema is one of the film historians interviewed in the new documentary Yellowface: Asian Whitewashing and Racism in Hollywood/L’Ennemi japonais à Hollywood, now playing on French television. The film was directed by Clara and Julia Kuperberg, French sisters who have made many documentaries about American films for their Wichita Films, including several others in which Prof. McBride appears. Yellowface examines the long practice of Hollywood using Caucasian actors to play Asians, in makeup and often in stereotypical roles, as well as the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. Among others interviewed in Yellowface are actress Tamlyn Tomita and film historians Nancy Wang Yuen and Dan Akira. Akira is an alumnus of SFSU’s School of Cinema; his parents were interned in U.S. camps. 

Undergraduate Student News

Last month while at the showing of The Last Black Man in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre, first year film student, Ethan Juarez, ran into Joe Talbot, Jamal Trulove and Jesse Eisenberg.  "It was such a humbling experience to not only meet these incredible people but to hear them be so excited about us being SFSU Film students.  They all took the time to talk with us and Joe Talbot even thanked us for being there to watch and support his film."  

SF State School of Cinema is working with the producers of The Last Black Man in San Francisco to bring a screening to campus, featuring the students who worked on the film. 

Graduate Student News

Thomas Farm Films (TFF) is a film education and production nonprofit organization co-founded by SFSU MFA student Joshua Thomas with his wife, Kari Thomas.  The mission of TFF is to offer filmmaking education to all kids that are interested.  This past summer,  TFF held five weeks of filmmaking summer camps on the farm’s 35 acres.  The camps were taught by Josh, fellow SFSU MFA candidate Asali Echols and Loyola Marymount MFA candidate Avery Christmas.  Together with help from several production assistants, a makeup artist, hair and wardrobe specialist, music composer and a ton of talented kids, TFF produced and screened ten incredible films at a local movie theater.  The films can be seen at

TFF also awarded 35 full and partial scholarships to children in need.  TFF future plans include several after school programs in Spring and eight weeks of camps in Summer 2020.

First year MFA graduate students, Michel Fraser, Xinjiang Li, and Yufei Wang are on location for their first Bolex 16mm assignment (real film!) for Professor Weimin Zhang’s Graduate Cinematography CINE710 course. The challenge is to capture a poetic interpretation of Tennessee William’s “The Eyes” in three shots. 

Xinjiang Li (photo by Michel Fraser)          

Michel Fraser,  Xinjiang Li, Coral Hale,  

(photo by Yufei Wang)

Yufei Wang - location scouting (photo by Michel Fraser)

Alumni News

NATALIE J. TETER is an alumna of San Francisco State University's School of Cinema and the College of Ethnic Studies (2013). She is an Associate Producer on THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO, produced by Plan B Entertainment and A24 Films. Natalie is helping to bring the film back to San Francisco State! Any current students are welcome to reach out to Natalie via her website, Learn more about Natalie's impact producing work at

Programs & Events


Join us! You are invited to this special event on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Screening at 6:30 p.m.
Coppola Theater (FA101)
Followed by Q & A with filmmakers

Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond reframes the story of space exploration as a feminist issue, connecting the original space age that denied opportunities to women to current Mars initiatives that still lack a full commitment to diversity. The powerful narrative taps into public enthusiasm over proposed human missions to the red planet and argues for a more inclusive spacefaring future.

Dr. Jan Millsapps spent four years finding and amplifying the stories of women who have worked in the shadows of more prominent and visible men – female engineers, scientists, coders, doctors, technicians – and of aspiring Martians, women preparing today to live and work on Mars. Madame Mars is populated by accomplished, intelligent and curious women who not only share the dream of finding one's own place in space, but also a commitment to ensuring that humanity will represent itself accurately and completely as we take our next big step out into the universe.
Jan Millsapps, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Cinema at San Francisco State University, is a veteran filmmaker, a pioneering figure in the new media movement, an early web innovator, and a versatile and accomplished writer. She has produced films, videos, and interactive cinema on subjects ranging from domestic violence to global terrorism, has written two novels, and has been a featured blogger on Apple Learning Interchange, Huffington Post and Thrive Global. Her documentary film, Madame Mars: Women and the Quest for Worlds Beyond, premiered at the United Nations in Vienna and has been shown at Puerto Rico’s famed Arecibo Observatory, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the University of Cambridge; has won awards at high-profile festivals, including a director’s choice at the Black Maria and first prize for a professional documentary at the Raw Science Film Festival; and has been broadcast on KQED-TV.
Since 1981, the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival has been celebrating and preserving the diversity, invention, and vitality of the short film. Named after Edison's original West Orange film studio, dubbed the "Black Maria" because of its resemblance to the black-box police paddy wagons of the same name, this international juried film competition showcases independent cinema examining issues and struggles within contemporary society, and advances and exhibits the work of diverse filmmakers from across the US and around the world.
38th Annual Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival
Wednesday, October 23, 6:30 p.m. at the Roxie
Bay area premiere featuring a stellar group of independent filmmakers from California with Q&A by Madame Mars director Jan Millsapps


The International Documentary Film Summer Workshop is a faculty-led, short term study abroad program organized and sponsored by the School of Cinema. It’s a cross-cultural summer program taking place overseas, where students work with the local community to make short documentary films. Prof. Weimin Zhang designed and led this program since 2010.  Over the past decade, over a dozen student films have been selected and awarded in numerous international film festivals.  In this international program students acquire skills and gain experience in documentary film production in the real-world, and gain invaluable life-changing experiences in a different cultural environment.
In 2019, there were 15 students (12 undergrads and 3 MFA grads) who participated in the program and spent three and half weeks in Fujian province, China. With the collaboration invitation from the College of Broadcasting and Media at Xiamen University, our students successfully created four short documentary films: The Family of WushuTidalCutting Shells and God and Ghost.
To see our pictures behind scenes, please visit:


Cinema Faculty received training in EMERGENCY CHAIR EVACUATION as part of ensuring safety for all our students. 



Animation Society prides itself in being an all-inclusive community that welcomes students who have an interest in animation. We foster an environment that creates bonds within, while also building an appreciation for animation and what it can be. There are no requirements to joining animation society; anyone can be a member of the club regardless of whether you are in the cinema program or animation minor. We create a space for aspiring animators and artists alike to refine their skills, while also preparing them for the animation minor and the pipeline of the animation industry. From guest speakers to 360 drawing challenges, there’s always something happening within animation society. Annual events such as Animation Finals help to showcase what our club members/animators have done throughout the year; in hopes to inspire the future animators to come. If any of this has enticed your interest, make sure to stop by Fine Arts 325 at 12:15 every Thursday to see what Animation Society can offer you.


November 4-5, San Francisco State University


Pluralities 3rd Annual Nonfiction Film Conference: scholar Hamid Naficy, filmmaker Alex Rivera & activist Viridiana Martinez on campus

Join us Nov. 4th and 5th for an exciting line-up of filmmakers, researchers, VR, and discussion about all things nonfiction. The main topic this year is “Medias-Movements- Migrations” and we welcome as our keynote speakers prominent scholar Hamid Naficy, award-winning filmmaker Alex Rivera, and activist Viridiana Martinez.

The event includes a special screening of the The Infiltrators (Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra, 2019).

There will also be an emerging media arcade open both days. Everything will take place in Jack Adams Hall, San Francisco State University, 9am to 6pm both days. We hope to see you all there!

The conference is FREE and OPEN to the public. To register & access the full schedule click here:


Presented by the Documentary Film Institute



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:

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:

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