Art Center College of Design upgrades program

The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, whose alumni include Michael Bay and Roger Avary, is expanding its film program with a curriculum upgraded to prepare graduates for success in the rapidly changing entertainment industry.

As part of the restructure, screenwriter and novelist Ross LaManna has been appointed chair of the Undergraduate Film Department. Robert Peterson, who has been chair of the Film Department since 1975, will assume the duties of chair of Broadcast Cinema in the college’s graduate film degree program.

The changes were unveiled earlier this week by Dr. Mark Breitenberg, the deam of Undergraduate Education.

In his new role, LaManna will expand the undergraduate film program by emphasizing the use of emerging technologies in advancing narrative and developing new types of work-study opportunities for students within the entertainment industry.

On the graduate level, Peterson will focus on creating pilot programs, shorts and features for existing and future forms of distribution.

“With these two new appointments, Art Center’s film program is experiencing a renewed vigor and is about to reach an even higher level of engagement with the entertainment industry,” Breitenberg said.

LaManna is best known for his spec script “Rush Hour,” which was turned into the movie franchise starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. He has written for practically all the Hollywood majors as well as many indie companies.

LaManna is currently penning a hip-hop/martial arts adventure feature called “Wu-Tang & Shaolin” for HBO Films and is partnered with RKO Pics to exec produce and write a remake of its classic thriller “Angel Face.” He is also writing a graphic novel called “Markus Fang.”

Peterson is a founding member of the film program at Art Center when it was established in 1975 and was a graduate of the school’s film department that year, having majored in advertising. Over the past 25 years, Peterson has honed his film expertise as director and director of photography for Peterson Communications, with offices in L.A., Chicago and N.Y., directing TV commercials, music videos, docs and education films, psa’s, short subjects and theater.

The 75-year-old Art Center College of Design is located in Pasadena, with classes held at both its Hillside and South campuses.

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