David Desser, Ph.D.

Dean of the Akira Kurosawa School of Film
Film Professor

David Desser is Dean of the Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film. He is also Professor Emeritus of Cinema Studies, University of Illinois, where he was Professor of Cinema Studies, Comparative and World Literatures, East Asian Languages and Cultures and Research Professor of Communication. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Kansai University in Japan, Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Pennsylvania, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Chapman University and the University of Southern California (USC). He received his Ph.D. from USC in the Cinema program with a minor in Japanese and has authored a number of books and served as editor on a number of journals related to Asian cinema.

  • He is the author of The Samurai Films of Akira Kurosawa and Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema
  • Co-author of American Jewish Filmmakers
  • Editor of Ozu’s Tokyo Story (Cambridge Film Handbooks)
  • Co-editor of The Cinema of Hong Kong: History, Arts, Identity; Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History; Cinematic Landscapes: Observations on the Visual Arts of China and Japan; Hollywood Goes Shopping; and Reflections in a Male Eye: John Huston and the American Experience.
  • Published more than fifty essays in scholarly collections and journals
  • Created DVD commentary for the Criterion Edition of Tokyo Story and Seven Samurai.
  • Former editor of Cinema Journal, and the co-editor of The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema.


Greetings from the Dean

Hello and welcome to the Akira Kurosawa School of Film at Anaheim University. In the spirit of the great artist and craftsman of the cinema we are pleased to offer an innovative MFA in Digital Filmmaking. Taking advantage of our proximity to Hollywood — the center of global film production — our unique access to major filmmakers, craftspeople, studio personnel and others in the media production and distribution industry, as well as unique and exclusive video content, our program offers students an unparalled opportunity to experience and learn the varieties of film, video and game production. A highly trained and experienced faculty make distance learning an opportunity for students around the world to interact in real-time yet still take advantage of their own cultural specificities. We are excited to offer this opportunity to students worldwide who want to obtain an MFA that will provide a meaningful exposure to the art of the cinema and train them in its multi-faceted craft and complex business practices.

David Desser, Ph.D.
Dean, Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School of Film