It was a room full of enthusiastic young students at the Writers Guild Theater on Sunday night as the CSUN Cinema and Television Department unveiled the winners of the documentary and narrative shorts thesis projects from the graduating class of 2017. Earlier this year that department of the California State University of Northridge received a grant of 2 million dollars from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be assigned to their television production studios and for student scholarships. The grant will be recognized in the Fall of 2017 when the Manzanita Hall of the University will be renamed the “Hollywood Foreign Press Association wing”.
But for this night the real winners were the directors, producers, editors, cinematographers and writers who created 19 beautiful short movies out of which a group of judges (including alumni) chose the finalists. Clips of the nominated films were shown during the award ceremony, which was produced, with the help of students and faculty, by CSUN Production Professor Alessandro Jacchia. The clips were followed by inspiring speeches of some of the CSUN professors and alumni: professor Henryk Cymerman remembered how it was the movie The Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci to convince him, as a young man in the Israeli army, to become a writer, while Jon Stahl, chairman of the department, talked about the importance to be kind and respectful with your team members in this often not so kind industry.
Best documentary award, best documentary directing went to Deanna Spinale and her documentary Whose Trauma is it Anyway?. Deanna is a young professional (she produced the half time show with lady Gaga at the recent Super Bowl) who went back to school to finish her degree even though she was already a working producer. Best Narrative short His/Hers, directed by Marla Macarr and Produced by Stephanny Salazar, won 5 awards, while best Directing went to Gonzalo Lomeli for Yo Soy Mujer. Best in Show went to the Documentary Whose Trauma is it Anyway? produced by Kelly Spicer.