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Hindsight is 2020: A Look at Unresolved Issues in Music Copyright Law l February 2021

The Pepperdine Law Review commemorated their annual symposium by hosting 4 timely panel discussions on issues related to music copyright. Led by esteemed copyright and intellectual property law scholars, music industry practitioners, and music creatives, these sessions provided a welcome opportunity for students, industry participants and scholars to engage in a dynamic series of conversations:

Panel 1 - Infringement in the Ninth Circuit and Beyond: Safeguarding Innovation and Experimentation in Music,
Panel 2 - The MMA: Same, Same, But Different—A Solution or Band-Aid for Songwriters and Music Publishers in the Digital Age,
Panel 3 - Empowering Artists of Color: The Intersection of Music Rights, Race, and Technology,
Panel 4 - Copyright Protection in China: Turning Music Consumption into Music Revenue.

Hosted by the Pepperdine Law Review.

Cocoa with Jim: A Conversation with Jacki Kelley l December 2020

Pepperdine alumni and friends were invited to join in the December edition of Coffee with Jim featuring President Jim Gash (JD '93) and Pepperdine Institute of Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture alumna and executive board member, Jacki Kelley ('88), one of America's most notable advertising executives and the current CEO of dentsu, Americas.

Navigating an Uncertain Future in Entertainment, Media, and Sports l May - August 2020 

As COVID-19 spread around the globe and began disrupting every facet of the economy, the Institute of Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture hosted a series of conversations with executives from across the media and entertainment sector to explore how efforts to slow the spread of the disease were impacting the industry. Discussions covered everything from how social distancing and stay at home orders have transformed the industry to what students, alumni, and industry executives can do to best prepare for the roles of the future. View Recorded Events.

The New Frontier of Sports Betting: Business, Legal, and Integrity Issues l March 2020

Panel 1: "Overview of the Sports Betting Landscape: Who and What Is in Play?"
Panel 2: "The Gamification of Everything: Management of Content and People from Fantasy to Regulation"

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and the Sports Lawyers Association.

Olympic Sports Issues Heading into Tokyo 2020 l March 2020

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and the Sports Lawyers Association.

Sundance Film Festival - Student Field Trip l January 2020 

Fifteen Seaver students, all members of Pepperdine's IGNITE Club, were selected as IEMSC Sundance fellows and enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer and participate in the festival. Learn More.

Engage: 21st-Century Ciné Art as Industry at the American Film Market l November 2019

Engage is the Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture (IEMSC) signature diversity and inclusion events where creative entrepreneurs have the opportunity to network and learn from high-profile industry professionals.

This half-day symposium features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creatives, producers, and executives in the entertainment industry. This year's symposium theme, "21st-Century Ciné Art as Industry," will feature keynote speaker Steve Nicolaides (Producer, Boyz N the Hood) celebrating the legacy of director, screenwriter and producer John Singleton. 

Seaver College Arts, Entertainment & Media Meetup l November 2019

Creation, Protection, and Enforcement of Brand and Image in Entertainment, Media, and Sports with the Los Angeles Kings l November 2019

Records, Labels, and A&R in the Streaming Age: Copyrights, Distribution, Licensing, and the Law Under the Music Modernization Act at the Grammy Museum l October 2019

A panel discussion featuring Jacqueline C. Charlesworth, partner, Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP, Bill Colitre, vice president and general counsel, Music Reports, Inc., Sarah Rosenbaum, music counsel, YouTube, and Brigid McNally, senior manager, licensing, Rhino Records, on how the Music Modernization Act came together and what it means for the industry, how it affects lawyers and their clients, and best practices.

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, and the California Lawyers Association.

Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Esports Summit: Law, Technology and Governance l March 2019 

Panel 1: The State of the Esports Industry
Panel 2: Esports Legal Issues, Gamer Rights, and Dispute Resolution 

Hosted by the Caruso School of Law Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship, Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports and Culture,  JAMS, and the Sports Lawyers Association.

The Ethics of Zealous Advocacy: Understanding the Business of Sports and Labor l March 2019

The executive director of the National Football League Player's Association (NFLPA), DeMaurice "De" Smith, spoke at the Caruso Auditorium at an event hosted by the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. Learn More.

Entertainment, Media, and Sports Panel—The Golden Age of Content and Distribution at the Legends Premiere Center Facility in Playa Vista l March 2019

NCAA Pathways to Opportunity: A Conversation with Top NCAA Executives l February 2019

Inside Baseball l January 2019

A Conversation with Ned Colletti, former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Stephen Ross, Director of the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society, with Pepperdine School of Law Professor Maureen Weston.

Engage: 21st Century Creatives and Storytelling at the American Film Market l November 2018

Engage is the Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture (IEMSC) signature diversity and inclusion events where creative entrepreneurs have the opportunity to network and learn from high profile industry professionals.

This half-day symposium features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creatives, producers, and executives in the entertainment industry. This year's symposium theme, "21st Century Creatives and Storytelling," will focus on burgeoning trends in the industry for creatives and business entrepreneurs. Learn more.

The Next Wave in Digital Entertainment at YouTube Space LA l March 2018

This educational evening featured a distinguished panel of Pepperdine alumni and industry leaders exploring the latest advancements in digital entertainment from film and animation to gaming and virtual reality.

Hosted by Pepperdine's Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture (IEMSC) and Alumni Affairs. This symposium was made possible in part with the generous support of The Hearst Foundations.



Storytelling for Entertainment, Business, and Law: Incorporating the Tried-and-True Techniques of Hollywood Filmmaking to Win Over Your Audience l January - February 2021

Workshop 1: Introduction to Storytelling for Entertainment, Business, and Law
Workshop 2: Storytelling for Law
Workshop 3: Storytelling for Entertainment
Workshop 4: Storytelling for Business

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture.

Introduction to Understanding and Defending Against Disinformation Techniques l October 2020

This three-hour interactive workshop featured a mix of lectures, discussions, and guided exercises that introduced participants to the information and skills needed to identify several common disinformation methods—including rumors, character assassination, political campaign dirty tricks, and the use of digital forgeries such as deep fakes—and understand the thought behind the application of these techniques from both the attacker's and defender's points of view.

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture and Project DATDA. 

5 Tool Performance: Success in Owning, Running, and Representing a Professional Sports Franchise at Petco Park l September 2019 

Hosted by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, the San Diego Padres and the Sports Lawyers Association.

Pepperdine University Summer Classroom Series at the Staples Center l July - August 2019

Panel 1: A Matter of Fairness and Protection: Who is Looking out for Student Athletes when Schools Purchase Disability Insurance for Them?
Panel 2: Ethics and Sports Betting: The Legal Lines Between Profit and Responsibility
Panel 3: Litigation in Hollywood: Stories from the Trenches
Panel 4: Entertainment and Film: Breaking In and Moving Up 
Panel 5: Journalism in Entertainment: Protecting the First Amendment, Finding the Truth and Reaching the Audience



Film Screenings

Chicago: America's Hidden War - Red Carpet Premiere & Live Q&A Discussion l May 2021

The team behind this incredibly powerful documentary on the pervasive violence in Chicago provided participants with an opportunity to attend the red carpet premiere and engage in a live Q&A moderated by Pepperdine University Film Program Director Joi Carr. Panelists included the filmmakers, Director & Producer Dimas Salaberrios and Producer Tiffany Salaberrios, Endyia Kinney-Sterns, Senior Vice President Development & Production, Wayfarer Studios, and Chicago Pastors, Dr. Donovan Price and Corey Brooks, Founder, New Beginnings Church of Chicago. Learn More.

This event was hosted by Miss Muffet Studios in collaboration with the Shaw Entertainment Group, CineLife Entertainment, Six + One, and the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports & Culture.

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal - Live Panel Discussion & On Demand Screening l February 2021

The Foundation for Global Sports Development presented participants with the exclusive opportunity to hear from individuals involved in the legal case at the center of the award-winning documentary, At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal including the Honorable Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, Trinea Gonczar, Sister Survivor and Advocate, and Mick Grewal, Founder and Attorney at Grewal Law, PLLC and was moderated by Pepperdine Caruso School of Law Professor Maureen Weston and Attorney and Professor of Law, Jayma M. Meyer.

This event was co-hosted by the the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and the Sports Lawyers Association.

Just Mercy 

The event was co-sponsored by the Pepperdine Black Law Students Association and Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture.

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Abuse Scandal

Hosted by the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, this screening was followed by Q&A with Larissa Boyce, a survivor who was featured in the film, and the film's producer, attorney David Ulich of Sheppard Mullin, Sidewinder Films / Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) and Professor Maureen Weston. Learn More.

The event was co-sponsored by the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law, and the Pepperdine Caruso Law Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Program.

Maya Angelou 'And Still I Rise'

A special screening featuring an introduction by Candace Bowen, Women in Film, and a Q&A with directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack. Learn More.

Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence 

Students and alumni attended a special screening followed by a discussion with director and producer Peter C. Jones and Eric Wilson, Associate Chaplain at Pepperdine University.


Presented by Revolution Pictures at Caruso Auditorium, REMAND tells the story of Pepperdine Law's Global Justice Program in Uganda. 


Einsteins Light (West Coast Premiere)

Award-winning filmmaker Nickolas Barris traveled from Holland to present the film and was joined in a post-screening discussion by Pepperdine physics professor Gerard Fasel. Craig Detweiler, IEMSC's creative director noted, "We're thrilled to bring Einstein's Light to Pepperdine, straight from its east coast premiere at Princeton University. What a great opportunity for the community and our many sharp students in science, music, film, and media." 



Presenting ideas for restoring the once-mighty Colorado River, Skylar Peak, Pepperdine alum and Malibu's new mayor joins James Redford for an evening discussion with friends from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Bill Hasencamp, the Colorado River Program Manager at the Metropolitan Water District, and Barry Nelson, Senior Policy Analyst, Water Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Moderated by Rhiannon Bailard of Pepperdine's Center for Sustainability.

Executive Produced and Narrated by Robert Redford and Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Mark Decena, Watershed tells the story of the threats to the Colorado River and offers solutions for the future of the American West. Can we meet the needs of a growing population in the face of rising temperatures and lower rainfall in an already arid land? Can we find harmony amongst the competing interests of cities, agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife, and indigenous communities with rights to the water?

Beyond the Call

Academy Award-Nominated Documentarian Adrian Belic brought his global travelogue, Beyond the Call to Tom Shadyac's class on October 1, 2009.

The Third Wave 

Filmmakers Alison Thompson and Oscar Gubernati brought their award-winning documentary just prior to their Academy Award qualifying release. 



Pepperdine Caruso Law Team Competes at Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition 

Pepperdine Caruso Law students Chris DeLorenz and Colin Martell joined team captain Andrew Jung to compete in the 13th Annual Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition (TIBAC) at Tulane Law School in New Orleans. Coached by Jeremy Evans (LLM '18, MBA Candidate '20), Calvin Jonker (JD '19), and Pepperdine Sports Law Professor Maureen Weston, the team went head to head against 40 law schools from all over the country. Learn More.

Michael Giacchino Embodies the Composer as Storyteller

Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino drew upon his family history to challenge students to serve a larger story. He brought scenes from his acclaimed scores to Up, The Incredibles, and the television series, Lost. Giacchino played five different musical themes he composed for the reboot of the Star Trek franchise. He noted how he was intimidated by the history associated with the series until Lost producer Damon Lindelof suggested the story was simply, "Two friends in boot camp." The resulting cue, "Enterprising Young Men" captured the ethos of the film. The evening was co-hosted by graphic design professor Dana Zurzolo and featured a poster contest won by senior Zach Tafoya. Learn More.



Older Events

Kathy Eldon and Amy Eldon Turteltaub - Pepperdine University

Remembering Journalist Dan Eldon: Dying to Tell the Story

Producers Kathy Eldon and Amy Eldon-Turteltaub brought their Emmy-nominated documentary, Dying to Tell the Story, to Pepperdine's Elkins Auditorium. The moving doc celebrates the enduring legacy of artist, photographer, and activist Dan Eldon, who was murdered while covering the war in Somalia in 1993. The evening was a sobering reminder of the dangers that war correspondents endure in hotspots around the globe. The Eldons launched the Creative Visions Foundation to honor Dan and empower the next generation of "creative activists." Kathy Eldon noted how Dan inspired Blake Mycoskie of Tom's Shoes, reflected in the Spring 2011 collection, "Safari as a Way of Life." Pepperdine senior Karee Maxson currently serves as an intern with Creative Visions.

Sitcom writers give presentation - Pepperdine University

The Serious Business of Writing Comedy in Hollywood

Five accomplished sitcom writers talked about "The Serious Business of Writing Comedy in Hollywood." The event was hosted by Dr. Leslie Kreiner-Wilson of Pepperdine's MFA in Screenwriting program and the student writing group, Courier 12. Speakers included (pictured left to right) Eric Zicklin (Hot in Cleveland), David Misch (Saturday Night Live), Chris Cluess (The Simpsons), Andy Guerdat (Sister, Sister), and Dean Batali (That 70s Show). The discussion in Elkins Auditorium included hilarious backstage anecdotes as well as sage advice for aspiring writers.

Reel Stories Film Fest award winners - Pepperdine University

Randall Wallace hosts Reel Stories awards - Pepperdine University

ReelStories Film Fest Fetes Student Filmmakers

A showcase for art, music, and social action at the ReelStories Film Festival. Twelve hundred moviegoers packed two theaters to see six films competing for the top prizes. Senior Austin Chapman was the night's big winner, taking the Grand Prize and the Audience Award for his poignant short, Eleven Eleven and the Reel Cause Award for his documentary, City of Widows. Kyle Helf won in the technical category for his cinematography for Contact. The winning student films can be viewed online here.

After an inspiring charge from Pepperdine grad, director D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, Disturbia, and the new I Am Number Four) the awards were presented by filmmaker Randall Wallace (Secretariat, Braveheart). Wallace said, "I've been to the Oscars, I've been to the Golden Globes, this is better…This event [focuses on] what you are feeling in your heart, and what the people that made those movies are feeling in theirs."

Attendees also had an opportunity to view two Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary, Wasteland and Exit Through the Gift Shop. Both films follow artists into the streets, where their captivating work springs forth. Wasteland tracks Vic Muniz's majestic photographs of recycling crews in a Brazilian trash dump. Graffiti artist Banksy questions the role of art in his beguiling first feature, Exit Through the Gift Shop. The associate producer of Wasteland, Emilia Mello answered questions posed by Academy Award-nominated documentarian, Roko Belic (Genghis Blues and the upcoming, Happy). 

Photo 1: Mishy Turner, Austin Chapman, Kyle Helf and Robby DeVillez celebrate their awards at the 2nd Reel Stories Film Festival. Photo by Houston Costa

Photo 2: Randall Wallace hosts ReelStories awards

Director Oliver Stone - Pepperdine University

Director Oliver Stone takes Pepperdine South of the Border

The Latino Student Association and the EMC co-hosted an evening with three-time Oscar winner, Oliver Stone featuring his documentary, South of the Border. In the film, Stone travels across South America interviewing presidents like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, and Argentina's Christina Kirchner. South of the Border juxtaposes American press coverage with playful images captured by Stone of Chavez riding a bicycle, Morales chewing on cocoa leaves, and Kirchner discussing shoes. A lively discussion with Stone pressed him on human rights abuses, the Castro regime in Cuba, and his thoughts on Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Life is Not a Musical movie poster - Pepperdine University

Life is Not a Musical: The Musical

Premiere of the first feature film produced by Pepperdine undergraduates, Life is Not a Musical: The Musical. It juxtaposes happy tunes with the struggles of a young married couple. Over 150 students were involved in the rousing production, including writer/director Paul Casey, producer/composer Zane Miller, and cinematographer/actor Zach Garrett. It featured 12 original songs composed for the film and Casey, Garrett, and Miller oversaw six months of post-production.

Jennifer Harriger on Fox News - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Professor Finds 3-Year-Olds Already Think "Thin Is In"

Jennifer Harriger, assistant professor of psychology, appeared on Fox News to discuss her groundbreaking research involving toddlers and body image. A test for 3 to 5 year-olds was embedded within gameplay for CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders. Once toddlers chose a game character, Harriger would offer a wider but otherwise identically dressed character as a substitute. The children consistently chose thinner characters, including shocking reasons why they didn't want to play with the heavier game pieces. How did toddlers develop such strong stereotypes regarding weight and body image? And how might the media counteract such strong and early impressions already forming in children?

Ron Meyer, president of Universal Studios - Pepperdine University

Ron Meyer, President of Universal Studios

Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, addressed an enthusiastic crowd of students, alums, and luminaries from the Malibu community at the first "State of the Industry" conversation on Monday, November 29, 2010. Meyer demonstrated considerable candor as he reflected on his journey from a modest upbringing to co-founding the Creative Artists Agency and overseeing Universal Studios through fifteen distinguished years (and six ownership changes!). He also brought along exclusive previews of upcoming projects like the fifth edition of The Fast and the Furious and the alien comedy, Paul. Meyer answered an array of questions from the audience regarding the development, marketing, and future of feature films. While acknowledging the competitive nature of Hollywood, he also challenged students to adopt honesty and kindness as keys to enduring in the industry. Under Meyer's leadership, Universal has produced the Oscar-winning films Gladiator, Shakespeare in Love, and A Beautiful Mind and rousing hits like Bruce Almighty, Despicable Me, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

The evening was co-sponsored by the Pepperdine Film Society and the Graziadio Entertainment Club. Read about the evening in The Malibu Times.

Seth Allison on The Office - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Seniors Featured on The Office

Two talented members of Seaver College's class of 2010, Seth Allison and Jeff Loveness had 'co-starring' roles on NBC's Thursday night staple, The Office. Allison and Loveness played college students embarking on a service trip to Mexico. Office manager, Michael Scott (Steve Carell) decides to get on their bus, inspiring Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) to follow suit. When Michael realizes he doesn't have a passport, Allison chimes in, informing him that you don't need a passport to enter Mexico. When Michael and Andy plead to stop the bus, Loveness quickly follows. He ends up riding back to Scranton with them. Congrats to Allison and Loveness for such a high profile guest appearance. See more of their work at The Randumb Show.

Japanese actor Tsuyoshi Ihara - Pepperdine University

Japanese Movie Star, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Teaches Students How to Act

Actor Tsuyoshi Ihara, star of Letters from Iwo Jima, talked to students in Craig Detweiler's entertainment business course about how to hone their craft. He discussed how his training in martial arts with Sonny Chiba prepared him for action roles as one of Takeshi Miike's 13 Assassins. Ihara-san also discussed the honor of working with director Clint Eastwood on the acclaimed Letters from Iwo Jima. He concluded with a preview of his next film set in Brazil, Coracoes Sujos. Ihara thanked the students for the opportunity to polish his English skills in preparation for upcoming roles.

Finding Kind - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Graduates Premiere FINDING KIND in Malibu

"Have you ever been bullied?" Two 2009 graduates of Pepperdine's Comm Division, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud, traveled across America, asking girls whether they had ever been teased, harassed, or bullied by other girls. Their riveting documentary, Finding Kind, demonstrates how pervasive and problematic bullying has become amongst girls. Yet, it also challenges students to join the Kind Campaign to raise awareness, build up self-esteem, and establish stronger solidarity amongst women. After the screening in Elkins Auditorium, Parsekian and Stroud were interviewed by their professor and mentor, Susan Salas. Tom Shadyac served as executive producer on the project.

Production designer Alan Roderick-Jones - Pepperdine University

Production Designer Alan Roderick-Jones Brings Plans to Pepperdine

Acclaimed production designer Alan Roderick-Jones brought his finest creations to Pepperdine classes taught by professors Dana Zurzulo, Ginger Rosenkrans, and Michael Furtney. Students crowded around tables to see original artwork created by Roderick-Jones for Star Wars including drawings and plans for the Millennium Falcon. Roderick-Jones also unveiled his designs for Universal/Vivendi video games like The Lord of the Rings and Van Helsing. For the students in graphic design, advertising, and public relations, Roderick-Jones offered a vivid example of an artist who has perfected his craft.

Tom Shadyac discusses I AM - Pepperdine University

Filmmaker Tom Shadyac Brings Passionate Documentary I AM to Pepperdine

Pepperdine professor Tom Shadyac brought his most personal project, I AM, to Elkins Auditorium on the Malibu campus. I AM challenges viewers to shift their lifestyles from competition to cooperation, and from consumption to sustainability. It features interviews with renowned thinkers like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Author Marc Ian Barash (Field Notes on the Compassionate Life) was on hand for the screening. Students brought strong questions about how to make a significant change to the post-screening conversation. I AM marks a fascinating shift from Shadyac's massive comedies like Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor and Ace Ventura. Yet, I AM also finds humor amidst our daunting social challenges.

Karin Sabin, DGA trainee - Pepperdine University

Karin Sabin ('08) Chosen for Competitive Directors Guild Training Program

Karin Sabin, a Pepperdine Communication Division graduate, was  chosen for the Directors Guild of America's prestigious Training Program for Assistant Directors. She is working on NBC's new series, Harry's Law, produced by David E. Kelley and starring Kathy Bates. The DGA Trainee program receives 15,000 applications and choses only 15 finalists each year. Sabin applied in October 2009 and went through three rigorous rounds of interviews. Her final interview came before 20 DGA members. 

Listen Up! World Cup Album - Pepperdine University

John Paul Lam ('96) Rocks the World Cup with Japanese Pop Star, MISIA

John Paul Lam ('96) wrote and produced a song for Japanese R&B singer, MISIA for "Listen Up!," the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album. His song, "Maware Maware," (Japanese for "Around and Around") is sung by MISIA and features M2J (a group featuring J.P. and Japanese Hip Hop artist DJ Muro). This Sony Entertainment release features songs from Shakira, R. Kelly, John Legend, and Wyclef Jean. Lam noted, "I am extremely honored to have my music included among so many great artists and to receive such wide exposure. I am also honored to have been invited by Sony and FIFA to perform alongside MISIA at the Sony Pavilion in Johannesburg, South Africa during the World Cup Games." 

Noah Ringer stars as The Last Airbender - Pepperdine University

IEMSC Director Craig Detweiler Comments on Hollywood Casting Controversies

Craig Detweiler, director of IEMSC, weighed in on the controversies surrounding casting decisions for Prince of Persia and The Last Airbender. Cultural analysis by Detweiler on Hollywood's missed opportunities for appeared on entertainment industry site, The Wrap and on CNN.com. An extended interview was published at National Geographic's Pop Omnivore.

Antwone Fisher movie screening - Pepperdine University

Antwone Fisher: the Movie and the Man

IEMSC teamed with Don Lawrence and the Intercultural Affairs Office to bring screenwriter Antwone Fisher and his eponymous film to the Malibu campus. A crowd of 200 students, staff and faculty gathered in Elkins Auditorium to watch Denzel Washington's directorial debut. After the screening, Fisher offered behind-the-scenes peeks into the creative process that sparked his autobiography, Finding Fish, and the movie. Fisher's warmth and humor shown through tales on the set and in the years since the movie premiered. His appearance was chronicled by the local media, including The Malibu Times and The Graphic.

Joe and Heidi Wang - Pepperdine University

Steve and Allie Smith of The Amazing Race - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Alumni Compete on Emmy-winning show The Amazing Race

The 16th season of The Amazing Race features Pepperdine graduates, Heidi Lesser-Wang ('94), Steve Smith ('76), and Allie Smith ('08). Lesser-Wang races with her husband, Joe Wang. Steve Smith played baseball at Pepperdine and has served as a Major League coach for the World Series champs, Philadelphia Phillies. Steve's daughter, Allie, graduated in 2008 with a degree in public relations. 

Student winners of the first Reel Stories Film Festival - Pepperdine University

First ReelStories Film Festival Full of Powerful Premieres

Almost 1000 people packed out Smothers Theater and Elkins Auditorium for the inaugural ReelStories Film Festival. The star-studded evening was conceived, produced, and directed by students. It featured acclaimed documentaries like The Human Experience. The festival culminated in a red carpet ceremony for the top student films. Senior J.J. Starr won the grand prize for his documentary, "Waking Honduras." Accomplished industry professionals like Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty), Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers), and Jonah Nolan (The Dark Knight) served as judges for the competition. Check out the award-winning entries here.

Professor Susan Salas - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Professor Competes Against John Salley on MSNBC

Susan Salas, associate professor of telecommunications and director of broadcasting, participated in a panel about performance-enhancing technology in sports in the PlayIt4-Ward series on the Web site. Former NBA star, John Salley was amongst the commentators pitted against Salas, in the live commentary. Watch the panel


Full House for "The Business of Screenwriting"

Pepperdine's MFA in Screenwriting program hosted six expert panelists for a seminar on the business side of screenwriting. Christine Pechera of the student screenwriting group, Courier 12, welcomed the packed house gathered in the Fireside Room. Director of the screenwriting program, Leslie Kreiner-Wilson introduced the distinguished panelists:

  • Sheryl J. Anderson, co-executive producer of Charmed 
  • Three-time Emmy winner Dick Blasucci from The Larry Sanders Show and MadTV
  • Fellow Emmy winner Chris Cluess from The Simpsons and Cheers
  • Former Paul Kohner literary agent Neal Stevens
  • Brent Lilley and Allan de Leon from the Mosaic Media Group that represents Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell

Topics ranged from how to get started, how to get an agent, and how to get that all-important first script sale.


IEMSC Director Comments on CNN

CNN called upon associate professor of Communication Craig Detweiler for expert commentary on three recent news stories. He appeared on CNN International to analyze the blockbuster success of James Cameron's Avatar, was quoted in an article about tumultuous changes at NBC and Fox, and framed a recent study that demonstrated that "Sex doesn't sell in the movies."

Thema Bryant-Davis - Pepperdine University

Pepperdine Prof Offers Expert Advice on Dr. Phil

Thema Bryant-Davis of Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology appeared three times on Dr. Phil this fall. As an expert on childhood trauma, Bryant-Davis talked about the post-traumatic stress that Jaycee Lee Dugard may experience following her release from captivity and the challenges facing adult survivors of childhood physical and sexual abuse.

Hawk Koch at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Walter Mirisch at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

American Dreams and the Big Screen

A tribute to fathers and sons with special guests: Bruce and David Corwin from Metropolitan Theatres; Hawk Koch, president of the Producers Guild of America and Robert Koch, entertainment attorney; and Academy Award-winning producer, Walter Mirisch and owner of the Mirisch Agency, Lawrence Mirisch.

Our projections of the Jewish faith, ethnicity, and culture included clips from Mirisch's films West Side Story, In the Heat of the Night, and Fiddler on the Roof, and Koch's films, The Way We Were, Wayne's World, and Keeping the Faith

Still Laugh-In with students and George Schlatter - Pepperdine University

Still Laugh-In George Schlatter - Pepperdine University

Still Laugh-In with George Schlatter

Pepperdine University hosted an evening with George Schlatter, the award-winning creator and executive producer of the groundbreaking television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The tribute served as a benefit for the creation of the George Schlatter Comedy Collection at Pepperdine and featured such noted entertainment legends as Larry King, Lily Tomlin, and Tim Conway.

During his career, Schlatter was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards, winning twice for Laugh-In as Outstanding Musical or Variety Program and for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s 60th Anniversary Celebration as Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. He was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America award in 1997. Schlatter has been credited for helping to launch the careers of such entertainers as Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, and Robin Williams. He was the creator and producer of the annual American Comedy Awards and the television program, Real People.

George Schlatter came to Pepperdine University to play football, but a campus job in the theater department altered his trajectory and the history of television. "We honor George's lifetime of service—to the art of comedy and the joy of laughter," said Craig Detweiler, director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture. "What's more, this evening continues George's lifelong commitment to comedy by creating a gathering place and living laboratory at Pepperdine to learn the art of improv, and comedic writing and performance."

Suzanne dePasse at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Women in Hollywood: 100 Years of Negotiating the System

Women have played important roles in the entertainment industry from its earliest days, achieving success as artists and attaining leadership positions in the industry. Yet significant challenges still exist. How have leading women navigated the entertainment industry? What recent breakthroughs suggest a new era of opportunity has arisen? This symposium addressed the issues facing women individually and collectively in the entertainment industry.

Featured guests included: Suzanne dePasse, past president of Motown Productions (The Jacksons: An American Dream); actress Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue); director Lesli Linka Glater (The Newsroom); director Victoria Hochberg (Ghost Whisperer); Tom Sherak, past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Nell Scovell, cowriter of the massive bestseller, Lean In with Sheryl Sandberg; and the producers of the groundbreaking young adult series Lucy Fisher (Divergent), Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games) and Melissa Rosenberg (The Twilight Saga).

Nikole Lim at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Nikole Lim Launches Nonprofit with Documentary, While Women Weep

Activist/Filmmaker Nikole Lim brought her new documentary, While Women Weep, to Elkins Auditorium for a special convocation program. Lim focuses upon three stories of hope with Kenyan women who have demonstrated strength and perseverance amidst abuse. Lim challenged the audience to tell stories of substance, pointing out how her movie led to the creation of a non-profit, Freely in Hope, which provides scholarships and launches micro-enterprises for women in Africa.

The Last Survivor at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

IEMC Teams with Glazer Institute for Screening of The Last Survivor

IEMC joined with Pepperdine's new Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies to host a screening of the award-winning documentary, The Last Survivor. It skillfully weaves four stories of genocide, finding common ground in survivors of the Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and the Congo. Directors Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman were on hand to answering questions following the screening. The panel discussion was cohosted by Rebecca Golbert and Craig Detweiler.

Cool It at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Global Warming Documentary Cool It Previews at Pepperdine Before National Release

Pepperdine hosted an exclusive preview of the global warming documentary, Cool It. Directed by Sundance Award winner, Ondi Timoner, Cool It premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. It follows environmentalist Bjorn Lomberg, founder of the Copenhagen Consensus, as he seeks alternative solutions to pressing issues of AIDS, malaria, and malnutrition. Producer Terry Botwick and professor Chris Doran answered questions following the screening. Cool It was named to the Los Angeles Times list of the Most Overlooked Films of 2010.

Tova Laiter at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Producer Tova Laiter Chronicles Murder in Mississippi

Producer Tova Laiter and screened her Emmy award-winning drama, Murder in Mississippi. Three young civil rights workers were killed by Klansmen in Neshoba County during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Laiter talked about the origins of the production, from working with writer Ben Stein to casting actors Blair Underwood, Jennifer Grey, Thomas Hulce, and Josh Charles early in their careers. Laiter also served as a distinguished production executive, initiating projects such as Evita, Varsity Blues, and Nixon. The screening was held in conjunction with actor Donzaleigh Abernathy's lecture about growing up alongside Martin Luther King and her father, the Reverend Ralph Abernathy.

Daphne Valerius at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Daphne Valerius Documents The Souls of Black Girls

Filmmaker Daphne Valerius brought her documentary, The Souls of Black Girls, to Pepperdine's Malibu campus. For her master's thesis, Valerius talked to actors like Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina King about how women of color are portrayed onscreen. Several classes in Pepperdine's Communication Division studying issues of race and representation attended the screening. The evening was cohosted by Donald Lawrence and the Office of Intercultural Affairs and featured special guest Paress Salinas from Overbrook Entertainment.

Emilio Estevez at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Emilio Estevez Shows Pepperdine The Way

Filmmaker Emilio Estevez offered Pepperdine students a special sneak preview of his new independent film, The Way. Estevez wrote, produced, directed and plays a son whose journey on the El Camino de Santiago is tragically cut short. Martin Sheen stars as a father completing the famous pilgrimage route of St. James in Spain. Estevez challenged film majors "to create work they can be proud of." For two hundred plus Pepperdine students, The Way provided a vivid and timely example of the long, but satisfying route to making movies that matter.

Mark Steven Johnson at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Mark Steven Johnson Previews When in Rome for Pepperdine

The Spring 2010 semester started with a special screening of Touchstone's romantic comedy When in Rome starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. Students, staff, and alums packed the Mann Westlake Village 8 Theater to see the film and talk with director Mark Steven Johnson. He revealed about the joys and challenges of filming on location in Rome and New York City. Johnson praised his diverse cast of comedians including Will Arnett, Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, and Danny DeVito. Students were encouraged by Johnson's journey from Minnesota native to Hollywood insider. Johnson emphasized his commitment to story that runs from his first hit, Grumpy Old Men through hits like Simon Birch, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider.

John Lee Hancock at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

John Lee Hancock Brings Breakout Hit The Blind Side to campus

Students and staff filled Elkins Auditorium for a special screening of the surprise hit of 2009, The Blind Side. Director John Lee Hancock offered behind-the-scenes stories of convincing Sandra Bullock to play Southern dynamo, Leigh Anne Tuohy. He also talked about countless auditions before he discovered Quintin Aaron to play real-life football prodigy Michael Oher. Hancock drew upon his upbringing as the son of a Texas high school football coach to bring authenticity to the story. Student enthusiasm at Pepperdine reflected the positive word of mouth driving audiences to The Blind Side.

Ralph Winter at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Producer Ralph Winter Unspools the X-Men

Blockbuster Hollywood producer Ralph Winter offered an overview of the entire X-Men series to enthusiastic Pepperdine students. Winter recounted the risks associated with the first X-Men film, as Fox Studios trusted director Bryan Singer to cast classically trained actors like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan as comic book heroes. Winter also showed students the rigorous rehearsals and blocking necessary to stage elaborate fight scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Students were encouraged by Winter's rise from an undergraduate history major contemplating seminary, to industrial video producer for department stores, through overseeing post-production on the Star Trek movies. Winter compared his role as on-set producer to a field general, organizing an army of gifted costumers, makeup artists, and prop masters to create a "mutant assembly line" of X-Men.

Linda Seger at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Script Guru Linda Seger Addresses MFA Screenwriting Students

Revered Hollywood script analyst Dr. Linda Seger spoke at the Weisman Museum of Art on October 15, 2009. Seger's books, Making A Good Script Great and The Art of Adaptation, serve as the standards in screenwriting. At Pepperdine, Seger offered wisdom gathered in her new book, Spiritual Steps on the Road to Success.

Seger suggested that the temptations arising from success are sometimes even more vexing than the struggles getting there. Her appearance was sponsored by Courier 12, Pepperdine's student screenwriting group and Ciao, a club committed to Italian.

Gary Sinise at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Gary Sinise Celebrates Soldiers in The Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good

A rousing documentary following Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band previewed at Pepperdine's Malibu campus. Director Jonathan Flora was accompanied by executive producer Jay Hoffman, coproducer Deborah Flora, and the star of stirring musical tour for the troops, Gary Sinise. Students from Pepperdine's ROTC program were encouraged by the footage Flora and his team gathered on army bases from America to Iraq. Sinise shrugged off the spotlight inherent in the film, preferring to highlight the courageous troops serving overseas.

Daniel Barnz at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Director Daniel Barnz Brings Phoebe in Wonderland

Rising filmmaker Daniel Barnz screened his debut feature, Phoebe in Wonderland. A school production of Alice in Wonderland offers Phoebe a refuge from a vexing diagnosis. Elle Fanning and Felicity Huffman star as daughter and mother, with Patricia Clarkson as a mysterious drama teacher. Barnz talked about his evocative use of color to convey Phoebe's imagination. He also offered an update on his film Beastly.

Martin Hynes at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Martin Hynes and The Go-Getter Visit Malibu

Filmmaker Martin Hynes screened his comedic road trip, The Go-Getter, in Craig Detweiler's Film 311 class. The Go-Getter premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sparked the acclaimed band, She & Him, featuring Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Hynes talked about how his indie film attracted such a strong cast, from leads Lou Taylor Pucci and Deschanel, through cameo appearances by Bill Duke and Maura Tierney. Students were intrigued by the substantial style and production values achieved on a modest budget. Hynes challenged the class to consider how limited resources actually demand more preparation.

Alex Litvak at IEMC event - Pepperdine University

Courier 12 Hosts Screenwriter Alex Litvak

Pepperdine students banded together to form Courier 12, a new club dedicated to the art of screenwriting. Club officers include MFA in Screenwriting students John Burd (president), Christine Pechera (vice president), and Anthony Castellane (treasurer). Their first guest, screenwriter Alex Litvak has sold the million-dollar spec script, Medieval, and is currently polishing the remake of Predator.

Litvak talked about his experiences as a production executive for directors like Renny Harlin, companies like Intermedia, and on films like Training Day and Terminator 3. He encouraged students to read as many scripts as possible, to figure out why certain scripts are being sold, and why particular screenplays are actually filmed. Litvak also recounted how he set up several TV pilots for the major television networks.

New Media and Online Monetization - Pepperdine University

Entertainment Club Hosts "New Media and Online Monetization" Discussion

The Entertainment Club at the Graziadio School of Business and Management hosted a panel discussion entitled, "New Media and Online Monetization," on September 15, 2009. Club president George Granados welcomed industry professionals from Microsoft, Yahoo, 20th Century Fox, and Xonger. As Senior Director of Business Development for Microsoft, Joe Michaels and his team created the Live Earth webcast and NBC’s Beijing Olympics website. Adam Zarlengo is a senior product manager at Yahoo!, putting his MBA from the Graziadio School to work. Hardie Tankersley serves as vice president of online content and strategy for Fox’s broadcast network. As the co-founder of Xonger, Dave Drever creates entertainment brands with robust cross-platform integration.

George Granados asked candid questions about why so many new media companies have failed to turn their massive audiences into monetary rewards. While the panelists praised Hulu for building rapid brand awareness, questions of long-term profitability hovered over the proceedings. Can YouTube offset the avalanche of new content with enough diamonds in the rough? How much can producers and new media companies expect to earn from online series? While the panelists agreed that prospects remain promising, many entertainment companies may continue to struggle toward profitability in the short term.