USC Cinematic Arts


Creating the physical world surrounding a film story involves not just design but also in-depth research, problem-solving and technical insight. As a creative process of visualising and physically developing an environment, it becomes a key element of the storytelling process. This workshop, for a selected group of production designers, is led by two master craftsmen: Indian filmmaker and producer Shekhar Kapur and production designer and producer Alex McDowell. Shekhar Kapur has made critically acclaimed films like BANDIT QUEEN, the award-winning historical biopic ELIZABETH and its sequel ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, which was nominated for two Oscars. Alex McDowell is one of Hollywood’s most acclaimed production designers with films such as MINORITY REPORT, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, FIGHT CLUB and CORPSE BRIDE comprising his film portfolio. Showing excerpts from their films, the two professionals will examine in-depth the production of a plausible and realistic world on screen. Participating Talents will have the opportunity to discuss their own projects and receive input, insight and guidance.


  • Moderator:
    Alex McDowell RDI
    Creative Director,; Professor, USC SCA; Director, World Building Media Lab, World Building Institute

    Production designer and film producer, he has worked with Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg and David Fincher. His filmography includes FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, FIGHT CLUB, MINORITY REPORT and the upcoming SUPERMAN reboot. He is also founder and director of “5D Institute”, an interdisciplinary network focusing on the impact of technologies in design fields.

  • Moderator:
    Habib Zargarpour
    Creative Director, Microsoft Game Studios

    Acclaimed Indian film director and producer. He rose to popularity with his film BANDIT QUEEN. Among others, he directed ELIZABETH, which was nominated for seven Oscars and ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, starring Cate Blanchett. His future projects include PAANI, to be released in 2011, produced by Danny Boyle.