May 29, 2001 Vol. V, No. 17

Northridge Film Program Named Best in Southern California

Northridge Program Chosen by Independent Film Producers Group Over UCLA, USC and Others

The film program in Cal State Northridge's College of Arts, Media, and Communication has been named the best in Southern California-topping UCLA, USC and others-by the Association of Independent Feature Film Producers (AIFFP).

CSUN President Jolene Koester, AMC Dean William Toutant (right)and Interim Associate Dean Paul Krivonos accepted the 2001 IndiGo Award for Educational Excellence from the 20,000-member AIFFP organization at the Thursday, May 17 opening gala for the college's new Manzanita Hall facility.

"It comes down to how prepared students are to succeed in the industry," said AIFFP President Barry Collin in explaining how his organization evaluated film programs. "You have to not only master the art and craft, but you must know the business. That is truly where Northridge excels."

"I am amazed and proud of the high quality of everything this college produces," said Dean Toutant at the opening of the new building, which will house three AMC departments starting in the fall. "We are limited only by our own imagination, which is to say, there is no limit to what this college can accomplish."

The AIFFP award was the group's first to an educational institution. Collin, who heads the Hollywood-based nonprofit group, which serves as the education and advocacy entity for independent film producers worldwide, said CSUN was chosen from among dozens of evaluated local full-time film programs.

With a focus on undergraduate programs, which train the bulk of the professionals who go on to work in the film industry, the AIFFP considered programs' curriculum, faculty projects, internships, job placements, industry involvement and balance of classroom and practical training.

Based on those criteria, Collin said the Northridge program emerged as the best. "Northridge has alums in the highest levels of the industry, as well as everyone down the line," he said. "Their grads are extremely knowledgeable, competent and flexible. They graduate ready to make things happen."

In his speech during the award presentation, Collin added, "Like those years at the Oscars when we are surprised and pleased at an unexpected winner, we could not be happier to present this award to a campus that quietly, deftly and relentlessly built an institution that produces young professionals who are ready to make things happen.

"In an environment where there is little time for on-the-job training, and less room for error, we need students like those produced by this university. We salute their success, as we watch CSUN develop the next generation of visionaries," Collin said.

"So when next you gaze upon the screen, lost in a world of action and emotion, know that you will increasingly be in the very capable hands of students of California State University, Northridge," Collin added.

In the fall, the college's departments of Journalism, Communication Studies and Radio-Television-Film will operate out of the new 65,000-square-foot Manzanita Hall. The latter department at the same time will change its name to the Department of Cinema and Television Arts.

The state-of-the-art building-the last major new building completed as part of the university's recovery from the 1994 Northridge earthquake-will include a movie theatre, television and film production studios, a foley studio and production and editing rooms.

@csun | May 29, 2001 issue
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