George Lucas, USC School of Cinematic Arts Installs New Endowed Chairs

The endowed chairs focus on cinematic design, visual effects and production design.
USC School of Cinematic Arts

Three new USC School of Cinematic Arts endowed chairs have been established with the contribution of George Lucas through the George Lucas Family Foundation.

At a dedication on Thursday evening, professors Bruce A. Block, Michael L. Fink and Alex B. McDowell were installed as the first chair holders -- Block, in the Sergei Eisenstein endowed chair in cinematic design; Fink, the George Melies endowed chair in visual effects; and McDowell, the William Cameron Menzies endowed chair in production design.

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Chair holder of the Sergei Eisenstein endowed chair, named after the filmmaker known for introducing the dialectic montage into film, Block has a list of producing and consulting credits including What Women Want, Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, As Good As It Gets, Stuart Little and Father of the Bride I and II. His book, The Visual Story, has been published in six languages.

Recipient of the George Melies endowed chair, named after the pioneering French filmmaker whose work included A Trip to the Moon, Fink won an Oscar in visual effects for The Golden Compass and earned an additional nomination for Batman Returns. His credits also include Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade RunnerAvatar and Life of Pi.

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Chair holder of the William Cameron Menzies endowed chair, whose namesake was awarded the first Academy Award in art direction and is widely remembered for his work on Gone With the Wind, McDowell's credits as a production designer include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight Club, Minority ReportWatchmen and Man of Steel. McDowell was a visiting scholar to MIT's Media Lab from 2006 to 2011.

The SCA now has 24 endowed chairs. Last fall, the Michael Kahn endowed chair in editing was dedicated, funded by Steven Spielberg’s Wunderkinder Foundation.


Twitter: @CGinLA