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Creating the Ultimate 49ers Fan Experience

To emphasize and celebrate the ever-growing medium of virtual reality (VR), students and faculty from Academy of Art University’s Schools of Communications & Media Technologies (COM) and Motion Pictures & Television (MPTV) teamed up with Zeality to create the ultimate San Francisco 49ers fan experience.

A Special Year for the Academy's Car Collection

For over a decade, the Stephens family has hosted a reception in honor of the annual San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show, which took place this year at the Moscone Center on Nov. 19–27.

 Linguistics in the Field

You can describe Jessica Coon, the lead linguistics consultant for new film Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, as down to earth. Coon shared a wealth of knowledge about the story and linguistic concepts involved in the film directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Arrival follows the quest of sought out linguist, Dr. Louise Banks (Adams) who joins an elite team of mathmaticians soldiers and astronauts to investigate a mysterious spacecraft. The basics of the language in Arrival is expressed in the short story that the film is based on called, Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. “This is not the next Klingon,” said Coon. The idea of the language being circular and having no end is more of an integral element to the narrative of the film.

From Page to Screen

Brandon Garza, producer and director of photography for the recent film Before the Fall is an Academy of Art University alumnus, whose career is skyrocketing in the film industry. Garza received his B.F.A. from the School of Motion Pictures & Television, with a focus on screenwriting. However, Garza said that he made sure to take a wide variety of courses to give himself “a well-rounded understanding of filmmaking.”

Grammy-Nominated Singer-Songwriter Skylar Grey Visits Urban Knights Radio


The “Love the Way You Lie” songwriter shared her experience of getting back in touch with her authentic self in the Oregon wilderness

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Skylar Grey recently stopped by Urban Knights Radio at Academy of Art University before setting out on her current U.S. tour in support of her new album, Natural Causes. Grey spoke to students about her experience in the music industry and described what it was like to not only be young, but to be a female singer-songwriter, who thought her career was over before it even started. She encouraged students to be creative and true to their inner-voice, to experiment with their sound and said that getting back in touch with her true self was what got her noticed by big names like Eminem, Rihanna, Dr. Dre and Nicki Minaj.

 School of Architecture Symposium Tackles Homelessness

In September, the School of Architecture at Academy of Art University hosted a symposium focusing on the issue of homelessness in the Bay Area and how certain organizations are creating new and inventive ways to build community outreach, architectural concepts that can use the design department’s help, and how this can improve the lives of the homeless in San Francisco. On a panel moderated by Executive Director of the School of Architecture Mimi Sullivan, three guest speakers, Maryann Leshin, Del Seymour and Alejandro Pimentel, shared their personal experiences and how they are making an effort to have a positive impact on this desperate cause. The School of Architecture’s Homelessness and the Built Environment Symposium served as a tie in with the San Francisco Chapter of AIA and the 2016 Architecture in the City Festival: Resilient City.

  Tuesday Tunes x3 Coming Soon to UrbanKnightsRadio.Com at Academy of Art University is bringing back their popular Tuesday Tunes x3 event this fall, and if the last spring's event is any indication, students will be treated to some great live music.

Writer-Director Justin Tipping Talks 'Kicks'

In Justin Tipping’s first full-length feature film, Kicks, the writer-director is enthusiastic to share his message of the cycle of poverty causing egotistical decisions, which ultimately lead to violence and a false message of masculinity. 

 Nourishing Creative Minds

Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Nancy Nigrosh looks to pass on her experience and prepare Academy students for their careers. Academy of Art University recently announced that Nancy Nigrosh has taken on the role of Director of the School of Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media (WRI). Nigrosh first joined the department as an online director in 2015. 

'Southside With You': An Interview With Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter

With the upcoming release of Richard Tanne’s first feature film, Southside With You, Academy Art U News got to chat with actor/producer Tika Sumpter and actor Parker Sawyers, who play Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson—two people that became iconic political power couple. The film, with it’s detailed character development and careful plot beats, takes the audience on a walk with Barack and Michelle, before they were “the Obamas,” during their first “kinda-sorta” date.

 Film Review: 'Suicide Squad'

 With all of the hype this past year promoting Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ release of the long awaited Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (Fury, The Fast and the Furious, Training Day), the film is disappointing most likely due to the speed at which the film was produced. That being said, Ayer’s vision for the film needs to be taken into consideration. 

Film Review: 'Life, Animated' - Strength Through Stories

 Roger Ross Williams’ documentary, Life, Animated, delves into the very specific case of autism for Owen Suskind. Based on the book, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, written by Owen’s father, former journalist Ron Suskind, the film comes from the heart and reveals many close-to-the-chest incidences in the Suskind family’s experiences: how they made a breakthrough with his development, and how they look to the future resilient to the difficulty they have faced. 

A Legendary Contribution to the Art of Filmmaking

Honoring legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, The Contemporary Jewish Museum is displaying about 1,000 objects including memorabilia, letters, personal notes, production photographs, props and scripts. This is the 15th presentation of Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, taking its turn in San Francisco as of June 30 and continuing to be on display until October 30. The exhibit spans the whole career of Kubrick in film from 1945 to 1999, starting from when he was a photojournalist in the 1940s. Some fun relics from the past include the little girls’ twin dresses from The Shining, Venetian masks from Eyes Wide Shut and Joker’s helmet from Full Metal Jacket.

Key & Peele Pay Tribute to ‘90s Action Films in ‘Keanu’ 

On April 20, at the Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, Academy Art U News had the opportunity to sit down with the comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who are behind the hilarious new comedy Keanu. The film follows the very early adventures of a young kitten named Keanu (for the Hawaiian word meaning "cool breeze"), his accidental owner Rell Williams (Peele) and his uptight cousin Clarence Goobril (Key). 

Film Review: 'The Jungle Book'

(4.5 out of 5)


Walt Disney's live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book celebrates the 49th anniversary of the animated film of the same name, which was the last for Walt Disney himself to produce before his passing. Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) and starring a culmination of voice talent: Bill Murray (Baloo), Scarlett Johansson (Kaa), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Lupita Nyong'o (Raksha), Giancarlo Esposito (Akela) and Christopher Walken (King Louie). The film also introduces the real-life performance of Neel Sethi as Mowgli.

Film Review: 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'

(4 out of 5 stars)


Warner Brothers and DC Comics' long awaited feature, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is an exciting combination of superhero fantasy worlds. We are finally viewing a reality where both Batman's Gotham and Superman's Smallville and Metropolis, exist in the same universe. Written by Chris Terrio (Argo) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel and the most recent Batman film trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan), and directed by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, 300, Watchmen), so many of our favorite superhero tropes come into play that the film is explosive from the get-go and is really for the comic book nerd in all of us.  

Visual Development Artist and Alumnus Nick Orsi Shares His Disney Experience 


Academy of Art University alumnus Nick Orsi shared his experience as a character artist for Walt Disney Animation Studios with a group of enthusiastic Academy students last month. Orsi graduated from the Academy with a degree in 2-D animation and continued on as an intern with Walt Disney Animation Studios in Southern California. He assisted on his first feature film, Zootopia, produced by Disney and directed by Byron Howard (Bolt, Tangled), Rich Moore (Wreck-It-Ralph, The Simpsons) and Jared Bush.

Celebrating the Year of the Monkey


Students and faculty collaborate on this year’s float and present a taste of the Academy’s


The Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco was a stunning event on Saturday. Feb. 20 as city streets were blocked off and citizens flocked to the path of the parade where 150 companies and schools participated. Academy of Art University students and faculty were among the excited crowd and participated yet again this year for the Chinese Year of the Monkey. The concept design for the float this year is directly correlated to the Chinese story of the Monkey King. So many people involved with the Academy made a tremendous effort for this year’s parade float and musical number.

Academy of Art Represents the Rebellious Year of the Monkey for 2016


This year Academy of Art University celebrates the Year of the Monkey by exhibiting the infamous legend of the Monkey King (Journey to the West) for San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade. The annual festivities takes place Saturday, Feb. 20.


(4 out of 5 stars)


Tim Miller's directorial debut, Deadpool, will slap you in the face with unrelenting tongue-in-cheek raunchiness, pop culture references and samurai-like violence. The Tarantino level of combative action, along with a Van Wilder-esque performance from Ryan Reynolds as the sarcastic Wade Wilson/Deadpool, is the perfect recipe for "non-superhero" fun.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 

(4 out of 5 stars)


Burr Steers' Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is bold, gory, and you guessed it, filled with zombies. Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who took the basis of the story from Jane Austen's novel, comes Steers' animated, innovative and snarky screenplay, which is a vast improvement from Grahame-Smith's butchering of the classic tale. Steers writes for a modern feminist audience, ready to route for the women in this story and laugh at the men who cower in the shadows of the ladies who are well trained in Asian combat.

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