The World Film Institute Holds Panel With Deans of USC School of Cinematic Arts, American Film Institute and UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

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Global Film Academy Deans Forum Held on December 11, 2022 Discussed The Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Quality Film Education in the Context of Globalization

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Globalization has made the world a lot smaller. It's very possible to do everything we are talking about and having us here today is setting us on the right direction. We have to be thinking of this as one planet and not small, separate entities.

The World Film Industry Conference (WFIC) recaps discussions from Global Film Academy Deans Forum held on December 11, 2022. In part with the WFIC series, leaders in film education included the following panelists: Elizabeth Daley, Ph.D., Dean of USC School of Cinematic Arts, Susan Ruskin, Dean and Executive Vice President at the American Film Institute and Brian Kite, Interim Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television.

The theme of discussion among panelists representing the top film education globally was “The Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Quality Film Education in the Context of Globalization”. This 50-minute panel started by noting that aspiring filmmakers from all over the world look to USC, AFI, and UCLA as the leading forces in film education. Prior to looking ahead to the future of filmmaking, each Dean examined the challenges tied to the pandemic and how they have been innovative quickly. The conversation then shifted to focus on ways that each Dean felt that their institution would continue to maintain a high level of film education, especially in the context of globalization.

“Globalization has made the world a lot smaller. It's very possible to do everything we are talking about and having us here today is setting us on the right direction. We have to be thinking of this as one planet and not small, separate entities,” said Kite, Interim Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television.

Kite, Daley, and Ruskin had the opportunity to discuss creative technologies such as virtual production and how they help students lean apply these new technologies. They also discussed their plans to help build a more diverse learning experience.

When the panelists exchanged their opinions about global entertainment, Ruskin believed America has the advantage of filmmaking because America has the spirit of willingness and openness. Daley thought that even though the trend of globalization is continuing, stories must have their authenticity and integrity. Therefore, the more culturally specific the film is, the more successful it is. Kite agreed with Daley and gave the example of Squid Game, a South Korean TV show that went popular worldwide. Kite then pointed out the fact that the streamers also have changed the rules and made content much accessible for audiences, particularly U.S. audiences who have been slow to return to the theater and have been staying home with streamers.

The first World Film Industry Conference (WFIC) was held in Santa Monica, California in the Greater Los Angeles area, attracting filmmakers from all over the world. This Global Film Academy Deans Forum provided a new opportunity for communication among the authoritative leaders in the film industry during the post-pandemic era, revitalizing the global entertainment industry which has been damaged by the pandemic.

The two-day conference included the opening and closing ceremonies, the Global Film School Presidents Forum, the Global Filmmakers Forum, the Global China-U.S. Entertainment Industry Summit, the launch of the Golden Lotus Awards at the first Lotus Five Continents Film Festival, and the establishment of the Global Film Industry Association.

About the World Film Industry Conference (WFIC):

Launched in January 2022, the WFIC is a non-profit organization headquartered in Macao, China. The World Film Industry Conference is a world film industry association, jointly advocated by Huading Award Group, the World Film Industry Association, and the Aollywood Filmmakers' Association. This event includes cities with developed cultures and economies all over the world. The conference will invite representatives from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, India, Singapore, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Colombia, Tunisia, Sweden, Poland, Estonia and other countries and held conferences in Los Angeles, New Delhi, Paris, Madrid, Cairo, China, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in China. For more information, visit

About Elizabeth Daley, Ph.D., Dean of USC School of Cinematic Arts:

Elizabeth M. Daley has served as Dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts for 30 years, the longest tenure of a Dean at the University of Southern California. She is the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Ross/Time Warner Dean’s Chair, founding Executive Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Communication (1994-2005), and serves as the Executive Director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

Daley has strengthened the School’s international profile by expanding its academic programs, including the addition of cutting-edge research labs; overseeing the construction of a new, state-of-the-art campus; and strengthening collaborations with industry partners both domestically and globally, across the spectrum of visual media, including film, television, video games, interactive and emerging media. Under Daley’s leadership, SCA has added three new divisions: Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Media and Games, and Media Arts + Practice; established the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank focused on the impact of new technologies; built the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts; established 32 endowed faculty positions; and formed successful partnerships with a variety of entertainment and technology companies. The School currently has research partnerships focused on virtual reality and immersive technologies, mobile and location-based entertainment, world building, virtual production, interactive architecture, and other emerging areas. Daley has also established successful consulting initiatives in China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

On Oct. 4, 2006, Daley presided over the official renaming of the USC School of Cinema-Television as the USC School of Cinematic Arts, by George Lucas, and broke ground for a new complex. Completed in 2013, the SCA Cinematic Arts Complex rivals the best-equipped media companies in the world. Comprised of seven main buildings totaling 270,000 square feet, it houses state-of-the-art production spaces for creating films, episodic television, video games, and interactive media, including sound stages, game testing rooms, motion-capture volumes and the only IMAX theatre in a collegiate setting.

Daley joined the School in 1989 as Chair of the Film and Television Production Program. Before coming to USC, she served as Director of Taper Media Enterprises, the for-profit film and television subsidiary of the Mark Taper Forum, and was a producer for MGM/Television. She has also been an independent producer and media consultant. Daley serves on the Board of Directors of Avid Technology, Inc., the Benton Foundation, and Digital Domain, and is a former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Media, Entertainment, and Information. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Daley has been honored by American Women in Radio and Television and was twice nominated for a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award. She has received a Cine Golden Eagle, the Barbara Jordan Award, the California Governor’s Award, and the Women in Film Business Leadership Award, acknowledging extraordinary contributions by women behind the camera. She was also the inaugural recipient of The Alfred Hitchcock Legacy Award, given on behalf of the Hitchcock Family and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Daley is also the recipient of the Excellence in Education Medal from the Society of Motion Picture Engineers.

Daley earned a Ph.D. in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin and M.A. and B.A. degrees in Theatre from Tulane University. She is the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Hong Kong Baptist University.

About Susan Ruskin, Dean and Executive Vice President at the American Film Institute:

Susan Ruskin is Dean & Executive Vice President at the American Film Institute. Before coming to AFI, Ruskin served as Dean of the School of Filmmaking at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where she brought a wealth of experience in engaging filmmakers and faculty in new storytelling technology. During her tenure, she founded a Media and Emerging Technology Lab; led the completion of a 30,000-square-foot New Media Building; and organized UNCSA's first Future of Reality Summit to initiate cross-field discussion surrounding emerging technologies. Previously, she served as Chair of UNCSA's Producing Faculty before becoming Interim Dean in 2012. Ruskin's professional experience includes producing credits on such films as Anaconda and Haunted Honeymoon; as well as serving as President of Production at Middle Fork Pictures/Cinema Line and Gene Wilder's Pal-Mel Productions, and as a Creative Executive at Lucasfilm Ltd. She holds a BA from New York University, and an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from UC Riverside.

About Brian Kite, Interim Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television:

Brian Kite has directed live theater across the United States and abroad. He served as producing artistic director of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts from 2008-2015 and directed many productions for the theater, co-produced by McCoy Rigby Entertainment, including their critically acclaimed productions of American Idiot, Billy Elliot, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, Little Shop of Horrors, Dinner With Friends, Steel Magnolias, starring Cathy Rigby, Driving Miss Daisy, starring Michael Learned, and David Auburn’s Proof.

Kite is the recipient of the 2018 Joel Hirschhorn Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, for distinguished achievement in musical theater. He is a Los Angeles Ovation Award winner for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Spring Awakening and was again nominated for his productions of Les Misérables and American Idiot. He directed the national tours of Judgment at Nuremberg, In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Pride and Prejudice for L.A. Theatre Works, and staged the first production of Miss Saigon to ever play in China when his show closed the Macau International Music Festival. He also directed Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, starring Margaret Colin, which toured throughout Mainland China. The production was the first U.S. production of a play at Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA). In 2018, he staged the South China premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole in Mandarin at the Guangzhou Dramatic Arts Center in Guangzhou, China. He helmed a production of Cabaret in Bermuda under the patronage of the Queen’s Governor and directed Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie at The Actors Co-op in Hollywood. His work with actress/writer Michelle Azar, From Baghdad to Brooklyn, premiered at the United Solo Festival in New York City in 2017 and continues to tour nationally.

Other credits include the live radio recordings of David Mamet’s American Buffalo, David Rambo’s The Tug of War, and Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced. He directed the Los Angeles revival of Archibald MacLeish's J.B., and the West Coast premiere of Václav Havel’s The Beggar’s Opera. In addition, he directed the Philadelphia production of Glenn Wein’s Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral. He directed more than 20 productions during his tenure as director of theater programs at New York's French Woods Festival, a position he held for more than seven years.

Kite is a chair emeritus of the Board of Governors of the L.A. Stage Alliance, holds an appointment as a visiting professor at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and is the artistic director of the award-winning Buffalo Nights Theatre Company.

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