Northridge Student Wins Top Honors at Media
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Dec. 8, 2003) - The images on the CD are tantalizing. The glistening yellow flesh of jackfruit being chopped for a frothy Indonesian sweet drink. Tofu sizzling in a pan filled with crisp vegetables for a popular Indonesian main dish. There are step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the food as well as Internet links to the best places to shop for the ingredients.
Arts Festival with Interactive Cookbook
The interactive cookbook, "Indonesian Food for Two," earned Cal State Northridge graduate student Francisca Utami top honors, the Rosebud Award, at the 13th Annual CSU Arts Festival last month.
"The whole thing was actually a project for my senior interactive media class," said Utami, a native of Jakarta, Indonesia, who graduated from Northridge last spring with her bachelor's degree in cinema and television arts with an emphasis in multimedia production.
She said she is still astonished that her class project took the top prize in a statewide contest.
"I figured that with entries from all the campuses in the CSU I didn't have a chance, and then when they told me I won, I couldn't believe it," she said.
The CSU Media Arts Festival was established in 1991 to give students studying film, video and interactive media within the 23-campus California State University system an opportunity to present their work for critical review.
Distinguished CSU professors and industry leaders choose the student finalists and winners in the film, video and interactive media competition, and all finalists' works are screened during the three-day long festival. Cash prizes and the prestigious Rosebud Award are given to the top entries.
Mary C. Schaffer, an assistant professor in Northridge's Cinema and Television Arts Department, said everyone in the department's multimedia option cheered when Utami was named a winner of a Rosebud Award.
"CSUN's multimedia students have entered this competition only in the last two years," Schaffer said. "The multimedia students work in close collaboration with each other and become fast friends. On the night of the awards ceremony, a number of students who had not entered the competition were in the audience, cheering their classmates. They are a unique group of students, combining talent, motivation and camaraderie."
Schaffer noted that the multimedia option within the Department of Cinema and Television Arts has experienced renewed interest during the last three years. She said students in this option focus their work on creating products for the entertainment industry, using various software packages. Their work includes designing and creating Web sites, CD ROMs and DVDs.
"The goal within the multimedia option is to provide students with both breadth and depth of knowledge," she said. "Our students learn software and computing principles that they use to create interactive products. We currently have graduates in multimedia at the major studios, advertising agencies and video game companies."
News of Utami's new skills has already traveled around the world to her native Indonesia, where a television station has offered her a job, an offer she is seriously considering.
"The universities in Indonesia don't offer you an opportunity to major in television, so the things I have learned here are really valuable back home," she said.
Utami said she loves to cook and the idea of creating an electronic cookbook for one of her last class projects seemed logical.
"I thought doing something from my own culture would be fun," she said. "You can always find recipes on the Internet, but then trying to find an Asian store to buy the food can be hard. And what if you're not sure what the ingredients are or how to put everything together? The CD would make it all easier."
She enlisted friends to videotape her shopping and cooking, took still photographs of the food and scoured the Internet to find links to help readers find places to buy the ingredients, regardless of where they live, as well as learn more about the actual ingredients used in the recipes.
Utami said that in some ways her cookbook serves as an introduction to Indonesian culture.
"I am giving people a little bit of an introduction through our food," she said. "I hope they like it."