Digital cinema educator Charles Swartz dies


Charles Swartz, retired director and CEO of the Entertainment Technology Center, an organized research unit at USC within the School of Cinema-Television, died Saturday of pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 67.

Swartz led ETC-USC from February 2002 until his retirement last spring. Under his watch, ETC-USC's Digital Cinema Lab became Hollywood's de facto digital cinema forum, hosting and supporting the Digital Cinema Initiatives work toward establishing digital cinema specifications.

Swartz developed ETC-USC into a respected educational center for entertainment professionals, producing such events as the Digital Cinema Summit at NAB and the Entertainment Technology Summit. He also laid the groundwork for upcoming initiatives related to digital content and the digital home.

Active as a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Swartz served as the society's governor of the Hollywood region from 2004-05 and was a fellow of the group. Last fall, he was awarded the Society Citation, presented to individuals or companies who have been actively involved in specific SMPTE engineering or editorial functions.

During more than 25 years in the entertainment industry, Swartz also served as head of Charles S. Swartz Consulting, which provides strategy solutions for the entertainment industry; director of integrated strategy for media and entertainment at Sapient, focusing on the global entertainment industry; and director of business development for the entertainment industry in the media and entertainment business unit at Anderson Consulting, now Accenture.

Prior to his consulting work, Swartz was continuing education specialist and program manager for UCLA Extension's Department of Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts, where he developed the largest and most comprehensive curriculum of digital media and entertainment management courses offered by any major university.

He also served as a story executive and associate producer at Warner Bros. Television, head of production at New World Pictures, and as executive vp at Dimension Pictures. He produced eight feature films, among them "Terminal Island," "The Student Nurses" and "The Velvet Vampire," and shares screen credit for six, including these three.

He is survived by his wife Stephanie Rothman.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Redwoods League or the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.