Matt Weiner, Columbia President Doug Belgrad Hail New UNCSA Dean Susan Ruskin

North Carolina's nationally noted film school gets a new film dean, as Hollywood hotshots applaud.

Susan Ruskin has been named dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, N.C..

“She was instrumental in sealing a deal last year with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to shoot parts of his feature film You Are Here on campus,” said UNCSA provost David Nelson. “Our students got to work on that film, putting their training to work."

"What an amazing place!" Weiner told The Hollywood Reporter. He added in a statement, “Under Susan's leadership, UNCSA has become not only a state-of-the-art facility, but Susan's real strength is preparing the students realistically for their future while filling them with inspiration.”

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Ruskin joined the faculty in 2009 and starts as film dean July 1.

“I was thrilled to hear about Susan Ruskin's appointment," said Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad. "Her combination of experience as a producer and more recently as an educator makes her a great choice to serve in this role.”

Ruskin started in development at George Lucas’ LucasFilm, was head of development for Robert Stigwood at RSO, and president of production for Pal-Mel Productions. She associate produced Woman in Red for Gene Wilder and worked on Wilder's and Richard Pryor's See No Evil, Hear No Evil. As president of production for Middle Fork, Ruskin made Anaconda for Columbia Pictures, starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Owen Wilson. She sold her adaptation of Sheri Reynolds' book A Gracious Plenty to Enigma Productions and is developing a screenplay to be directed by Andy Fickman.

UNCSA was No. 12 on THR's list of 25 Top Film Schools in 2012, and its drama school is on THR's 25 Best Drama Schools list in 2013. Alums include directors Jeff Nichols (Mud), David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), and Danny McBride (Up in the Air).

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