As noted in a recent “Media Decoder” item, former MTV and Viacom head honcho Tom Freston’s current efforts at USC Cinema School are not the first time he has been involved with Afghanistan. But already, the summer intensive is on track to be more successful than his late 1970s clothing company.
Kept under wraps until now because of security concerns, the program, entering its second year, enrolls two Afghan students annually for a crash course in the cinema school’s summer program.
The students are sponsored by Mr. Freston in collaboration with Saad Mohseni of the Moby Group, a media conglomerate in Afghanistan (on whose board Mr. Freston serves). For about seven weeks, the students get a day-and-night education in writing, editing, cinematography and whatever else it takes to make programming for screens, large and small.
A single reader comment notes the work of a Frenchman, Sévérin Blanchet, who did similar work with his Atelier Varan in Paris before being killed in a 2010 suicide bombing in Kabul.