February/March 2024 Newsletter

Director's Note

Reporting from the annual 2024 SCMS Conference.

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference matching blue and green booklet and lanyard

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference was held March 14-17 in Boston. SCMS is the largest organization of its kind, representing the discipline of Cinema and Media Studies, and the annual Conference is enormous. There are approximately 400 panels (and about 1200 presentations) spread across a handful of days. It was rewarding to see some of our former students presenting at the Conference, and great to re-connect with some of our former colleagues including Katie Morrissey and Alex Nevill.

Some of the alum that presented (and I’m sure I missed some folks) included Kris Fallon (University of California Davis), and Selena Dickey (Furman University).

A number of our colleagues also presented at SCMS this year: Mihaela Mihailova (A Journey through the “Hosoda Sphere”: Digital Worlds in Mamoru Hosoda’s Animation), Steve Choe (“The Most Boring Conformity”: Tár’s Contradictions), and me (An Experimental Approach to Measuring the Affective Experience).

Alex Nevill behind a podium giving a presentation

Alex Nevill giving a presentation on Understanding Light.

Katie Morrissey behind a podium giving a presentation

Katie Morrissey giving a presentation on Premium Cable's (Formerly) Unromantic Tastes.

Steve Choe behind a podium giving a presentation

Steve Choe giving a presentation on “The Most Boring Conformity”: Tár’s Contradictions.

As my own title suggests, I presented on what I call my “Sense Survey,” where I conduct an experimental in-class exercise to measure the affective experience of watching a film. Rather than delivering a conventional paper, I presented a video essay.

Aaron Kerner

Aaron Kerner
Director of the School of Cinema 


Madame Dubarry Bluray cover (left) and Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge book cover (right)

Professor Joseph McBride’s 2018 critical study of director Ernst Lubitsch, How Did Lubitsch Do It? (Columbia University Press), has been picked up for Chinese translation by Peking University Press.

McBride did the audio commentary for Lubitsch’s 1919 German silent spectacle, Madame DuBarry, which is coming out in a Blu-ray edition Feb. 13 from Kino Lorber. This commentary about Lubitsch’s racy film, which established his international reputation and broke the taboo against exhibiting German films in the U.S., is McBride’s eighth for one of the director’s films.

Additionally, McBride’s book Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge was published in paperback on March 5. McBride has taught courses on both directors in the School of Cinema.


The end of February celebrated our 25th graduate student-organized conference, "Unauthorized: Media Piracy, Digital Forgery, and Generative AI" tackling audiovisual media’s reliance on, contention with, and definition concerning unsanctioned production forms.

Dr. Florence Chee, associate professor at Loyola University Chicago and Director of the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy, presented a timely keynote on her committee discussions to lay the groundwork for AI implementation policies. Congratulations to the presenters and the M.A. organizers — Alizé Evans, Daniel Moreno, Lizzy Gravelle, Jonathan Vasquez, and Stella Price — on a valuable event, thanking Dr. Mihaela Mihailova especially for her support!

Student with long curly hair giving a presentation
Student with hair tied back giving a presentation
Daniel F. Moreno giving a presentation on "Scores Reclaimed? Democratizing Motion Picture Music"
Brown cake for the 25th School of Cinema conference


Through the Cracks is an upcoming student-led film created by senior Lyazid Alaoui. The film narrates the tale of a makeup artist and a homeless woman who find themselves stranded at a remote bus stop. As they navigate a hesitant conversation while putting on makeup, we witness the profound impact of human connection, leading to the formation of an unlikely yet heartfelt friendship. Stay updated on all things Through the Cracks by following our social media, and join us in amplifying the resonance of this important story.

Instagram: through_the_cracks_film
Facebook: throughthecracksfilm
Email: throughthecracksfilm@gmail.com

Through the Cracks crew call flyer


Robert Barbarino, Cinema M.F.A. graduate, directed a film for Cinema’s Veteran Documentary Corps.  Titled Carson Bigbee: The Pirate of America's Pastime, it has won awards from its first two film festivals:  Wick Monet Film Festival (Pittsburgh, PA),and Avalonia Festival of Short Films (Atlanta, GA).  More festivals to come!  The film was produced by Professors Daniel Bernardi and Trevor Getz. 

If you want to see the film’s trailer, check out it’s IMDB page.

Sepia-toned artwork of Carson Bigbee movie


Ryo Matsumoto headshot

Ryo Matsumoto, a School of Cinema graduate from 2012 and international student from Japan, is currently working as a visual effects artist in Japan. He recently worked on the film Godzilla Minus One, which WON!!! the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects!

Ryo’s IMDB

[1] Ryo holding award and Oscar envelope [2] Ryo with director Takashi Yamazaki [3] Ryo next to Oscars statue
Godzilla Minus One Crew smiling holding their Oscars


Ali Ward, a School of Cinema graduate from 1999 and the host of the science podcast Ologies, speaks with San Francisco State University about her journey through the entertainment industry and toward science podcasting and being the science correspondent for CBS’s “The Henry Ford Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca.”

Catch the whole article at SF State News, and check out her podcast Ologies.

Red haired woman sitting inside entwined tree branches looking like a hut


Teal and orange banner for the 64th annual Film Finals,

San Francisco State University's School of Cinema is hosting its 64th annual Film Finals on May 16!

Film submissions are currently open, as of March 1, and will close on April 24.

Submissions must be completed for a Cinema class, or independent study during the 2023 – 2024 Academic Calendar (Summer 2023 included) and you must be a Cinema major. All genres are welcomed.



Black and white art of a cassette tape with "Roxie" on top

The Roxie is accepting submissions from now until April 16 for Roxie Mixtape #7 — a showcase for Bay Area filmmakers. All genres are welcome, including but not limited to: animation, documentary, narrative, experimental, live performance with a film component, music video, and found footage.

Submitted films should be 15 minutes or less. All films will be evaluated by our screening committee and, if selected, premiere for the public on May 22 during a night of great local cinema and festivities. There is no submission fee for entries, although filmmakers should only submit one film for consideration.

Submit your film by April 16th!


The Feminist Filmmaker Fellowship (F3) aims to provide an open and safe space, virtual or in-person, advocating for womxn and non-binary filmmakers. Our events allow leadership development to flourish by listening to members to help bring their ideas to life.  

Follow us on Instagram @feministfilmmakerfellowship for all our updates and to help us make some films. 

Feminist Filmmaker Fellowship Logo


Queer Cinema Coalition ensures a safe and creative space for LGBTQ+ filmmakers on campus to learn how to make our mark in an industry that doesn’t prioritize our voices. Through guest speakers, screenings/discussions, and community organizing, we build life-long connections to help us survive and thrive as filmmakers at SF State and beyond. 

Follow us on Instagram @queercinemacoalition

Queer Cinema Coalition Logo


The Animation Society strives to educate and provide an inclusive space for creative SF State students to learn about and discover a love for animation. 

Email: animationsocietyatsfsuofficial@gmail.com
Website: Animation Society Wixsite
Instagram: @animationsocietysfsu 

Animation Society Logo

Dear Prospective Students: 

The School of Cinema offers in-person tours of our facilities. Please make an appointment by contacting the Cinema Office at cinema@sfsu.edu

  • Drew Lewis: School of Cinema, Tech 
  • Pablo Riquelme: Production Coordinator
School of Cinema hallway with checkered flooring

Monday, March 25 – March 30, 2024

  • Spring '24 Recess; No Classes; Campus Open

Monday, April 1, 2024

  • Spring '24 Cesar Chavez Day; No Classes; Offices Closed

Monday, April 22, 2024

  • Spring '24 Withdrawal from Classes or University for serious and compelling reasons Ends

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

  • Spring '24 Withdrawal from Classes or University by exception for documented serious and compelling reasons Begins

Friday, May 10, 2024

  • Spring '24 Grading Option Deadline (This includes Cr/No CR, Audit, or Letter Grade)

Friday, May 17, 2024

  • Spring '24 Last Day of Classes

  • Spring '24 Withdrawal from Classes or University by exception for documented serious and compelling reasons Ends