School of Cinema {College of Liberal & Creative Arts}

Photo collage of students and faculty of the Cinema Department at SFSU.

Peace Officer

Event Date: April 26, 2016

Peace Officer is a feature documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of William “Dub” Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team, only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later. Disturbing trends grown out of the war on drugs and the federal program that supplies military surplus to police in cities and small towns alike ultimately lead Peace Officer to ask the question: what force is necessary to protect the lives of both officers and citizens?


Co-director Scott Christopherson and editor Renny McCauley — both SF State graduates — will participate in a Q&A following the screening.


Location: Fine Arts Building, Coppola Theatre.

Reception: 6pm-7pm.

Screening: 7pm-9pm with Q&A to follow.


Cinema in the News


May 3, 2016

SCHEDULE:  May 5, 2016 7:00 p.m. Castro Theatre

FILM DETAILS:  Country(ies): USA Year: 2016 Running time: 82 Director(s): Jesse Moss Producer(s): Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine, Danny Breen Editor(s): Aaron Wickenden Music: T. Griffin Print Source: Mile End Films 39 Mesa Street, Suite 111 San Francisco, CA 94129

FULL DESCRIPTION:  An exuberant, surprisingly moving romp through 1970s pop culture, The Bandit celebrates the friendship between superstar actor Burt Reynolds and stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, as together they create the Southern-fried classic Smokey and the Bandit. But the story begins long before the making of that action comedy when Reynolds and Needham first meet as actor and stunt double, and each sees in the other something he might like to be. Needham wants to be a star while Reynolds says of stuntmen, "They were the men. We were the boys." The Bandit 's perfectly selected clips and interviews show how, rather than fuel jealousy or competition, the pair's differences create an unshakeable bond strong enough to weather years rooming together in the wake of the breakup of Needham's first marriage and the evolution of Reynolds from journeyman actor to one of the biggest box-office draws in the world. When Needham decides on a midlife career change to filmmaker, Reynolds signs on to play Bandit, loyally throwing his clout behind his friend's ambitions. Director Jesse Moss (The Overnighters, SFIFF 2014) brings great warmth to this exceptional dual biography, mingling interviews with Reynolds and Smokey and the Bandit cast and crew with a wealth of retro cool archival material that includes footage from Reynolds' movies and TV shows, examples of Needham's stunt work and plenty of behind-the-scenes material from the Smokey shoot. The Bandit is as exhilarating as its subject, an entertaining homage to the enduring kinship between these two men and the blockbuster chase comedy that arose from it.


Oscar-winning producer Jonas Rivera to be SF State Commencement speaker

April 20, 2016

Oscar-winning film producer and San Francisco State University alum Jonas Rivera ('96) will address an audience of nearly 35,000 as the featured speaker at the University's 115th Commencement ceremony May 27 at AT&T Park. He has twice been honored as the Producer of the Year in Animated Features by the Producers Guild of America for his work on Disney/Pixar’s "Up" and "Inside Out." He was also nominated for a Best Picture Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for "Up," making him the first Pixar Animation Studios producer ever to receive this honor.

Rivera earned a bachelor's degree in film production and joined Pixar while still a student in 1994 to work on "Toy Story" as the studio's first production intern. He held advanced roles in production on nearly every subsequent Pixar feature film until becoming producer of the studio's Oscar-winning 2009 film "Up." Most recently, Rivera partnered again with "Up" director Pete Docter for "Inside Out," which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. "I came to SFSU loving animation and knowing that I wanted to be a part of making animated films. It was just such an amazing experience to walk in there and be surrounded by so many people with a similar passion," said Rivera. "I took the time to dig into every possible kind of film I could get my eyes on. It was an amazing experience that expanded my love of all kinds of films." "When I began my tenure at San Francisco State, I spoke about the need for all of us on campus to nurture creativity, insight and self-direction," SF State President Les Wong said. "Jonas Rivera epitomizes all of these qualities. While still a student at SF State, he envisioned possibilities for his future and never stopped to look back. Through creativity, hard work, determination and insight, Jonas has brought joy to millions of people throughout the world and serves as an inspiration for the SF State family."

Rivera worked his way up from his 1994 internship to various roles at the studio, including art department coordinator for "A Bug's Life," marketing and creative resources coordinator on "Toy Story 2," art department manager on Oscar-nominated "Monsters, Inc." and production manager on the Golden Globe-winning feature "Cars." A Bay Area native, Rivera grew up in Castro Valley. Inspired at a very young age, Rivera has always loved films, particularly animated ones. His first childhood memories consist of the Tiki Room at Disneyland and going to the theater to see films like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Star Wars." Prior to Pixar, his diverse professional background included working in music and toy stores and playing in hard rock bands — which he jokingly refers to as "the perfect training for working at Pixar."

Approximately 8,000 degrees will be conferred during the ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Last year's event, the first-ever college or university commencement to take place at AT&T Park, was attended by more than 35,000 graduates and guests. More details about this year's ceremony, including additional speakers and honorary degrees, will be announced in the coming weeks and available online at

The SFSU School of Cinema is thrilled to announce that Professor Cheryl Dunye has been named a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2016 in the field of Filmmaking.

April 7, 2016

The SFSU School of Cinema is thrilled to announce that Professor Cheryl Dunye has been named a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2016 in the field of Filmmaking.  Please take a moment to congratulate her on this wonderful recognition of her achievements in filmmaking.
Professor Dunye is one of 175 Fellows honored this year out of  3000 applicants.  Dunye is a native of Liberia, and holds an MFA from Rutgers University. She has made over 15 films including MOMMY IS COMING, THE OWLS, Miramax’s MY BABY’S DADDY, and HBO’s STRANGER INSIDE which garnered her an Independent Spirit award nomination for best director. Dunye’s debut film, THE WATERMELON WOMAN, was awarded the Teddy at the Berlinale in 1996 and was recently restored by Outfest’s UCLA Legacy Project for the films’ 20th anniversary celebration in 2016. 
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