Project aims to chronicle history of cinema

USC film school, law firm team on Oral Archive

With the aim of chronicling the history of cinema, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the law firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman are jointly launching the Oral Archive Project.

The project, announced Tuesday, has already interviewed Universal executive and producer Sid Sheinberg; agent/producer Martin Baum; agent/producer Jay Kanter; and producer David Picker, the former UA exec responsible for landing the James Bond franchise. Former New York Times reporter Bernie Weinraub and filmmakers R.J. Cutler and George Hickenlooper conducted the interviews based on research from filmmaker Sienna Mclean Logreco.

The initiative’s been initially funded and produced by the law firm and is being overseen by partners Craig Jacobson and Jeanne Newman. Interview subjects will consist exclusively of industry professionals such as producers, agents, lawyers and studio execs.

The aim is to make the oral histories available to students, scholars and other interested parties as learning tools not available in textbooks.

“There has been an appalling lack of archived oral histories in this end of our business,” Jacobson said. “We are passionate to secure as many as we can, especially from those whose contributions have long enriched our collective experiences in entertainment. We want to do this before their stories and advice are lost to us.”

Next in line to participate are Alan Ladd Jr., the former president of 20th Century Fox and producer of “Braveheart” and “Gone Baby Gone”; and producer Larry Turman (“The Graduate,” “American History X”), the current chair of the Peter Stark Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The interviews have been digitally filmed by USC students at the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts.

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