University Advancement
News Release

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130

CSUN 'Student Film Showcase' to Premier Works by
Some of Hollywood's Newest Talents

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., April 14, 2005) -- The public can catch a glimpse of tomorrow's hottest filmmakers on Wednesday, May 4, at Cal State Northridge's 15th annual "Student Film Showcase" at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in North Hollywood.

The showcase, which culminates four years of study for the university's senior-level film students, starts at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The academy is located at 5230 Lankershim Blvd.

The showcase highlights some of the university's top student filmmakers. Each of the movies to be screened was written, produced and directed by students under the supervision of faculty members. The projects are designed to prepare students for the world of independent film production.

The evening will be hosted by actor/comedian Sinbad. Sinbad, known for his role on the television series "A Different World" and his popular HBO comedy specials, will be honored that night for his positive image portrayals in the media. Film professor Nate Thomas, coordinator of the showcase, pointed out that much of Sinbad's work is family friendly.

Thomas called this year's showcase entries "an interesting group of films."

"This group of students and their work accents both the diversity of our program and the students' interests," Thomas said. "The films also give us an indication of where movies are headed in the future. These films represent the evolution of our program as our students take on more and more topical subjects."

Four student films will be screened:

  • "Here and Then," directed by Michelle Tung and produced by Nancy Berni and Marc Lennard, is about experience and existence when love comes and goes.
  • "Eagle Spirit," directed by Kevin North and produced by Annie Weichert and Beverly Abbott, is about a white woman raised by American Indians who is returned to her family and attempts to reintegrate with society.
  • "The Wounded Man," directed by Heather Hillstrom and produced by Hillstrom and Joe Shanahan, takes place in 1884 Wyoming and chronicles the lives of two struggling cowboys grappling with the demands of their employer and a dying man's wishes.
  • "Street 16," directed by Patrea Patrick and produced by Bethany Bessler and Valerie Plimpton, follows the trials of a runaway teen.

University officials will also pay tribute that evening to CSUN film alum Darren Grant, who recently directed his first feature film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," which opened to critical acclaim earlier this year. Grant graduated from Northridge's film program in 1995 and made a name for himself as a director of music videos, including videos for Destiny's Child, Ludacris and Ja Rule before moving on to the silver screen.

"Grant was an extremely focused student when he was here," Thomas said. He recalled that when Grant was a student at Northridge he was commissioned to do a video on spec for a band, for about $4,000. "By the time he was done, it looked like he'd made it with $100,000. He was that good," Thomas said.

CSUN's Cinema and Television Arts Department also will recognize the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that evening for its longtime support of the university's film program.

For more information about the showcase, call CSUN's Cinema and Television Arts Department at (818) 677-3192.

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