Boosting People-to-People Engagement Through Film, U.S. Department of State Forges New Partnership with the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 11, 2011

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today a new partnership with the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to engage international audiences through American film. Known as the American Film Showcase, this people-to-people exchange will send American filmmakers and film experts overseas to present independent documentaries, feature films, and animated shorts.

The American Film Showcase builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power diplomacy,” which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools – in this case film – to bring people together and foster greater understanding.

As part of this new partnership, the Department of State and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts will collaborate to select films that, in concert with U.S. Embassies worldwide, will open dialogues and encourage insights into American life and culture while exploring issues affecting communities worldwide. The selected films represent high artistic quality, illustrate diverse viewpoints, and reflect contemporary American society and culture. In addition to presenting the films to overseas audiences, approximately 40 Showcase filmmakers and film experts will conduct lectures and master classes on filmmaking, animation, digital technology and emergent media.

The American Film Showcase follows the past successes of the American Documentary Showcase and reinforces the Department’s use of film as a diplomatic tool and means to bring people together. This season, the Showcase will expand to include feature films that provide fictional interpretations of contemporary issues.

The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is one of the leading film schools in the world. Founded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929 over 80 years ago, the USC School of Cinematic Arts has fueled and mirrored the growth of entertainment as an industry and an art form. The school offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, production, and interactive media, all backed by a broad liberal arts education and taught by leading practitioners in each field. Its more than 10,500 alumni are among the world’s most distinguished animators, scholars, teachers, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, sound experts and industry executives. Since 1973 not a year has passed without an alumnus or alumna being nominated for an Academy Award.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. The Bureau’s s cultural exchanges support U.S. foreign policy, foster America's artistic excellence, and demonstrate America’s respect and appreciation for other cultures and traditions. For more information, visit

PRN: 2011/1694