In a one-two punch of commendation, entertainment trade publications The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have listed California State University, Northridge among the top universities for cinema and television arts education. This marks the second appearance by CSUN in both publications’ rankings of top programs.
On Aug. 18, The Hollywood Reporter released its rankings of the top 25 film schools in the United States, including the University of Southern California, the American Film Institute and New York University in the exclusive list. At No. 22, CSUN was ranked ahead of such renowned programs as Yale and Florida State.
“I’m extremely proud of the work being done by the Department of Cinema and Television Arts in launching the careers of a diverse and excellent group of future filmmakers,” said Dan Hosken, interim dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of our inclusion on both lists,” said Jon Stahl, chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts (CTVA). “We’ve been offering high-quality instruction for a long time, but even so, we’re always looking at ways to update our curriculum to be forward thinking — so our program has continued to evolve.”
The Hollywood Reporter also mentioned the recent $2 million grant to CSUN from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to help update the department’s facilities, noting, “The school also is fighting the good fight for diversity, devoting the other half [of the grant] to scholarships for students from underrepresented populations.”
“The Hollywood Reporter ranking is a clear sign that we are considered by those in the industry as being among the elite,” said professor Nate Thomas, head of CSUN’s film production option. “There are many, many film schools in this country, some that are private, for-profit entities and those that are at accredited institutions. This ranking continues to give a stamp that CSUN is among the most reputable film schools sending qualified graduates into the workplace.”
With undergraduate concentrations in electronic media management, film production, media theory and criticism, multimedia production, screenwriting and television production, and a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting program, CSUN’s CTVA department offers one of the broadest varieties of options in entertainment education nationwide.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association‘s recent $2 million gift to our program helps make that point and underlines our importance as a film school,” Thomas said. “The HFPA gift will keep our facilities state of the art, as no industry’s tools change as quickly as the tools of the film arts. This allows our students to learn with equipment and facilities that are second to none. This summer, via this gift, we are upgrading the HFPA Senior Film Edit Suite, the HFPA Film Surround Sound Mix Studio, the ADR/Foley Stage and various edit bays. In the summer of 2017, the upgrade of the television studio from standard def to high def will begin.”
Variety’s “Schools on the Move” list features CSUN among other renowned film schools such as USC, UCLA, Chapman University and NYU. Stahl said that CSUN’s strength is rooted in the dedication and professionalism of the CTVA faculty.
“Our faculty are working professionals,” he said. “Everybody who teaches our students teaches not just from an academic understanding of the discipline, but also from a professional and practical understanding of the business.”
In using half of the $2 million grant to fund a scholarship and mentoring program for students in financial need who show a strong potential for success and come from underrepresented populations, CSUN’s CTVA program will make an impact on Hollywood’s future by giving opportunities to students who may not otherwise be able to enter the film industry.
“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizes the need for more diversity in the entertainment industry — and they’re doing something about it,” Stahl said. “The majority of our students are from underrepresented populations, and many of them struggle to stay in school because of financial constraints. The gift will give us the ability to help these students not just stay in school, but also be prepared to succeed in the industry. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is helping us to help the industry diversify.”
Thomas cited CSUN’s HFPA Scholars Program, which was specifically developed to attract and nurture underserved students from various backgrounds to study film, as an example.
“A major component of this program, in addition to financial help, is the industry mentors that will help the scholars with their transition into the competitive film and television industry,” Thomas said.
Institutions and festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Kodak Film School Competition, have recognized CSUN’s CTVA alumni nationally and internationally. They have received Emmy honors and awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Directors Guild of America and the Grammys. CTVA faculty have written, directed and produced award-winning films and top-rated network TV programs, and they have published books that win awards and set the standard for professional and academic excellence in their areas of expertise.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our program and our faculty, who have for years done phenomenal work,” Stahl said. “And I couldn’t be prouder of our students, who continue to help us raise the bar with their creativity, their intelligence and their vision.”