Kathryn Bigelow (BFA Painting, 1972)

The first and only woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, SFAI alumna Kathryn Bigelow’s command of visual narrative, her tenacity and her choice of subjects that have the ability to provoke change, have redefined the landscape of cinema today. Watch Bigelow’s acceptance speech for The Hurt Locker at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010:


Office of Alumni Relations


Save the Date!
Alumni Film Festival

SFAI presents a weekend of films featuring SFAI alumni and additional shorts curated by SFAI students from the archives. On March 28+29, we’ll have film screenings and a panel on SFAI’s film history—open to the public. Please stay tuned for more information!


At SFAI’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony, we honored Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree. One of the most accomplished and culturally relevant filmmakers working today, Bigelow received a BFA in Painting from SFAI in 1972.

In her 2013 Commencement address, Bigelow says:

I encourage truth. I suppose in a way at all costs...My advice to each of you: Make the big gesture.

Watch the entire speech below.