Filmmaker in SCA production killed on set

The School of Cinematic Arts said they are continuing to gather information about a vehicle accident involving three USC students and killing a Chapman University student, Dean Elizabeth Daley said in a statement Wednesday, following an initial email to the SCA community Monday. 

At 1:09 p.m. Friday, a 2022 Can-Am Maverick UTV carrying the four students “was traveling along the side of a sand dune when for reasons still under investigation, the Can-Am began overturning down the sand dune,” according to a California Highway Patrol news release. “All parties were wearing the proper safety equipment” except for the deceased, whom the CHP did not name. 

The accident occurred in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, some 230 miles southeast of campus. USC said in a separate statement that filming activity further than 50 miles from campus or involving off-road vehicles would have required explicit approval from the University. 

“We are unaware of any such approvals having been requested or provided in this tragic matter,” the statement read.

Stephen Galloway, dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, identified the deceased as Peng Wang, a 29-year-old graduate student at Chapman who was working as a cinematographer for an SCA production. Wang, who resided in Walnut, was involved in award-winning films prior to his death — including the short “Daemon,” which won Best Drama Short at the 2020 Los Angeles Film Awards. (At time of publication, Galloway did not respond to requests for comment from the Daily Trojan.)

The surviving students, Bingliang Li — whom CHP identified as the driver of the vehicle — Ziyang Liu and Ting Su, are graduate students pursuing master’s degrees at SCA. 

In her Monday email, Daley said Chapman is “working with the family of the deceased student.” The Chinese Consulate of L.A. also said it will keep in touch with the family, Consulate Spokesman Gao Fei said to the Los Angeles Times. 

The University declined to comment on disciplinary action against the SCA students involved, writing in a statement to the Daily Trojan that “due to student privacy laws, we cannot comment on any pending student conduct matters.”

Attorneys representing the students said to the Los Angeles Times, “We think, before anybody makes any statements, that they should let the investigation play out.”