Azusa Pacific University’s College of the Arts (COTA) is headed to legendary Warner Bros. Studios for the annual Industry Spotlight on May 4, giving graduating students in APU’s highly acclaimed cinematic arts, theater, art, design, and music programs an extraordinary opportunity to showcase their work. Featuring performances in theater, a webseries screening, short films, animation shorts scored with APU’s Studio Orchestra, and an Artist Alley featuring student creations including movie posters and comics, the Industry Spotlight is the perfect opportunity for students to network with agents and land jobs after graduation.

More than 30 talent agents as well as industry representatives from Netflix, Disney, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Warner Bros., Marvel Animation, Bento Box, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, and Ingenuity FX will attend the Spotlight, along with more than 20 VIPs and successful alumni who work in the industry. The schedule for the event is as follows:

  • 6:30 p.m. | BFA in Acting Industry Showcase | Screening Room 12
  • 6:30-9 p.m. | Artist Alley- featuring displays by Art, Design, Games, Communication, and Animation students (open to all attendees) | Steven J. Ross Theater Archive
  • 7:30 p.m. | Cinematic Arts Premiere Night- featuring the APU Studio Orchestra directed by Mark Gasbarro (orchestrator of Jurassic World and Star Wars Rogue One) | Steven J. Ross Theater

The Industry Spotlight gives students the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share their films that they’ve worked on all year at the same place that movie stars like Clint Eastwood and Charlie Chaplin premiered theirs. A recent APU film won the LA Independent Film Festival and another was written about by the Motion Picture Academy as a “new director to watch.” Located just 30 miles outside of Hollywood, APU’s proximity to the film industry offers students unparalleled opportunities. APU Cinematic Arts students have interned at Disney, CBS Television, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Scott Free Productions, and a number of other top entertainment organizations.

“Last year, after the Industry Spotlight, 17 students signed with agents, which led to them being featured in A-list movies, award winning TV shows, and even Super Bowl commercials,” said Jill Brennan-Lincoln (Gilmore Girls), MA, chair of APU’s Department of Theater Arts. “We’re thrilled that our students can experience real world, industry-centric moments like this to kickstart their careers.” APU’s Department of Theater Arts prepares outstanding and influential artists in an ever-growing and multi-faceted performing arts profession. The Hollywood Reporter touts APU’s BFA in Acting for the Stage and Screen as “innovative.”

APU’s animation program, founded by Tony Bancroft (director of Mulan) and headed by Chuck Grieb (Nickelodeon, Disney TV Animation), will premier junior and senior films. The animation showcase attracts recruiters from top animation studios, with two student animators hired by Disney after the Spotlight last year.

Notable alumni from APU’s Theater and Cinematic Arts programs include Ricky Staub ’06, director of Netflix’s Concrete Cowboy and writer for John Wick: Chapter 4; Darnell Abraham ’09, currently starring as George Washington in the Hamilton national tour; Ryan Bowman, manager of current programing at Universal Television (NBCU); Qam Hale, storyboard revisionist for Disney Television Animation; and Amanda Jaros, who starred as Alina in 1883.

Media Note

Although the Industry Spotlight is sold out, press passes are still available for credentialed members of the media. Please contact Frank Minano ([email protected]) if you plan to attend.