Moustapha Akkad came to the United States in 1953 with $200 in his pocket, and a dream to share his vision to the rest of the world through the medium of film. Moustapha Akkad earned his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Southern California (USC), where he was given the education, tools, and connections to realize his goals. He would go on to direct and produce films recognized the world over, including "The Message", "Lion of the Desert," and the massively successful "Halloween" franchise.
Moustapha Akkad strived to use visual arts as a way to educate and debate important world issues. He saw himself as an ambassador poised to bridge cultural divides using cinema as his tool. Upon arriving in the United States, he saw a deep lack of understanding towards his own Islamic faith. His response was the epic historical drama, “The Message”, which has gone on to be translated into over 30 languages and is considered a timeless classic. The film’s audience includes a large percentage of people that are illiterate, further bolstering his belief in Cinema’s universal reach and unifying capabilities.
Moustapha Akkad would never forget his humble beginnings, nor his difficulties in pulling himself out of poverty and obscurity. It was his profound humility, and a deep appreciation for the opportunities offered to him, that compelled him to consistently give back to those in need. He would never turn away an aspiring filmmaker that sought his advice. He supported numerous causes and organizations that promoted the arts, and on many occasions even contributed directly to projects and filmmakers in need. Unfortunately, when Moustapha Akkad’s life was tragically ended in 2005, the world lost a noble and tireless champion for this cause and pursuit.
The Moustapha Akkad Endowment for The School of Cinematic Arts will be a vehicle to continue his dream, and allow future filmmakers to have an opportunity that they would otherwise never have. In this way, we continue his work, and honor his memory.
The University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts is the oldest and largest of its kind, established in 1929 as a joint venture with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The school is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious film programs. The USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program offers 30 intensive and creative filmmaking classes to students from around the world. Courses cover all aspects of filmmaking, including Directing, Cinematography, Screenwriting, Computer/Hand-Drawn Animation and Gaming, as well as, the business of flm & television. In the USC Summer Program students will be learning how to use state-of-the-art equipment within the up-to-date cinematic facilities.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program is committed to enabling women and men from around the globe, to explore the world of film, television, and interactive media. The classes take place during two separate six-week sessions and are taught by leading industry professionals. Areas of concentration include, feature filmmaking, editing, animation, computer graphics, interactive game design and exposure to the business of the industry, among many others. In addition to having full access to the school’s unparalleled facilities and equipment, summer program students also benefit from the unique opportunity to access industry resources and industry professionals.
Several classes take place on major studio lots, such as Warner Brothers and Disney. The program also offers a rich agenda of events, seminars, meetings, and regular screenings that bring film and television directors, actors, producers and writers together for Q&A sessions. The summer program enrollment is open to all students and does not require acceptance to the University of Southern California or the School of Cinematic Arts. All classes earn college credit as elective units.
The Moustapha Akkad Endowed Fellowship will provide one deserving student complete access to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program, and will be administered as follows:
In 2013, the summer program enrollment included 73 international students, compared with 60 international students in the summer of 2012. Total program enrollment for 2013 was 302.
With a donation to The Moustapha Akkad Endowment for The School of Cinematic Arts you can continue his legacy of giving future generations a chance to improve the world we live in through the experience of cinema. With your donation, you help fund an endowment that will send one deserving young filmmaker each year to the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Program. This one-of-a-kind experience will give voice to a developing talent that would otherwise go unheard. You will be directly involved in helping to build the careers of future visionaries and artists. There is no better way to celebrate and memorialize the life of a true pioneer and trailblazer.