Cinema Department at San Francisco State University

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SFSU School of Cinema
Established 1967
Academic staff
Students 950
Undergraduates 900
Postgraduates 50
Location San Francisco, California, United States

The School of Cinema is housed in the Liberal & Creative Arts College at San Francisco State University (SFSU). It is located in San Francisco, California, USA and offers a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters of Arts, and Masters of Fine Arts in Cinema. The program has been included in the list of "Top 25 Film Schools" by The Hollywood Reporter every year since 2014.[1][2][3]

The curriculum combines film production, screenwriting, animation and critical theory in both its undergraduate and graduate programs. The School offers a wide range of courses in digital, interactive, and experimental production, as well as cinema history, theory, and criticism[4] Currently there are approximately 950 students enrolled, the majority in the undergraduate program.[5]


The department's production and research facilities include:


The School of Cinema was founded amid the political activism and artistic experimentation of the 1960s. Originally part of the Broadcast and Electronic Arts Department, Cinema faculty such as Jim Goldner successfully made the case to the university that filmmaking was both an art and industry, and that it needed to be housed in a separate Department.

In the 1990s, a new facility was constructed, featuring a 2500 square foot shooting stage, greatly enlarging the department's post-production studios and labs,and beginning the transition from analogue to digital processes. A new screening room, the Coppola Theater (FA 101), equipped for both 16mm and 35mm projection and featuring a Dolby sound system, was named for former Dean of Creative Arts, August Coppola, whose efforts were primarily responsible for funding the new building.[6] Digital upgrades to sound and editing labs have further modernized the department's production facilities.

In more recent times, filmmakers as diverse as Francis Ford Coppola and Ken Burns have given talks, master classes and screenings of their work. Alumni have also returned to the Department to critique student work, to provide internships, and to continue the tradition of giving back to their community. And the Department has long-standing relationships with the San Francisco Film Society and Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), among many other San Francisco-based film production and cultural institutions.

Today, students take classes from a diverse group of over 20 tenure-track and tenured faculty committed to exploring all dimensions of film and media production and studies - from independent filmmaking to experimental animation to critical and cultural theory. Faculty continue to make films, write books on film and media culture, and give talks around the world on such diverse topics as Chinese Cinema, digital culture, television aesthetics, experimental narrative, screenwriting and the politics of documentary film.

Current Faculty[edit]

  • Daniel Bernardi: Professor (Media and Culture)[7][8]
  • Scott Boswell: Assistant Professor (Fiction Filmmaking)
  • Steve Choe: Associate Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Cheryl Dunye: Assistant Professor (Filmmaking)
  • Martha Gorzycki: Associate Professor (Animation)
  • Jennifer Hammett: Associate Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Julian Hoxter:[9] Associate Professor (Screenwriting')
  • Pat Jackson: Professor (Filmmaking)
  • Jason Jakaitis: Full-Time Lecturer (Documentary, New Media, Experimental)
  • Aaron Kerner: Associate Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Steve Kovacs: Professor (Media and Culture; Screenwriting)
  • Jenny Lau: Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Joseph McBride (writer): Professor (Media and Culture; Screenwriting)[10][11]
  • Jesse Moss: Full-Time Lecturer (Documentary Filmmaking)
  • Ben Ridgway: Assistant Professor (Animation)
  • R.L. Rutsky: Associate Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Celine Parrenas Shimizu: Professor (Media and Culture)
  • Britta Sjogren: School Director and Professor (Filmmaking; Media and Culture)
  • Greta Snider: Professor (Filmmaking)
  • Johnny Symons: Assistant Professor (Documentary Filmmaking)
  • Weimin Zhang: Associate Professor (Cinematography, Documentary Filmmaking)

Distinguished Alumni[edit]

Former Faculty[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Road Trip: San Francisco State University". US News. 2010-08-17. 
  5. ^ "SF State Cinema Bulletin 2011-12". SFSU. 
  6. ^ "SFSU names screening room after ex-dean Coppola". San Francisco Chronicle. 1997-09-17. 
  7. ^ "45 Years On, Why Has 'Star Trek' Stayed So Popular?". Life's Little Mysteries. 09/06/2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Asimov, Nanette (2011-10-16). "Navy pays for rumor research". The Charlotte Observer. 
  9. ^ Associated Press (2008-07-31). "Festival seeking short films". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "The Searcher. Joseph McBride". Moving Image Source. 2011-02-28. 
  11. ^ Kelly, Ray (10/01/2011). "Film historian and author Joseph McBride". MassLive.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ "Extreme Educator: SF State's Jameson Goldner". CineSource. 01/05/2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links: SFSU[edit]

School of Cinema - San Francisco State University

School of Cinema Facebook

Documentary Film Institute at SFSU

Queer Cinema Institute at SFSU

Scott Boswell's Website

Martha Gorzycki's Website

Julian Hoxter's Screenwriting Blog

Joseph McBride's Website

Celine Shimizu's Website

Animation Society at SFSU

Cinema Collective at SFSU

Delta Kappa Alpha at SFSU