Acclaimed director, screenwriter and producer John Singleton will help shine the spotlight next month on Hollywood’s next generation of movie makers as California State University, Northridge celebrates its 25th annual “Senior Film Showcase” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The showcase, which culminates years of study for CSUN’s senior-level film students, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 4. Screenings of the student films will take place in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater of the academy located at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The showcase is free and open to the public.
The evening’s host will be Singleton, who gained national attention with his directorial debut “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991. The film earned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Director, making Singleton the first African American and youngest person, at age 23, to have ever been nominated for the award. His other films include “Poetic Justice,” “Higher Learning,” “Baby Boy,” “Rosewood,” “Shaft,” “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Four Brothers.” He has also directed an episode of “Empire.”
Cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas, head of CSUN’s film program, noted that this year’s event will take place in the academy’s newly renovated Goldwyn Theater, site of CSUN’s first
senior film showcase.
“This year’s crop of films will be representative of some of the best student film work second to none by industry and academic standards,” he said. “Twenty-five means that we have had time to mature and these films are surely to touch the audience in a special way. I anticipate most will win awards and do well on the festival route. Twenty-five is also symbolic of our recently Hollywood Reporter listing as one of the ‘top 25 film schools’ in the U.S.”
Thomas said it was “only fitting” that Singleton serve as the evening’s host.
“He is an inspiration to our students,” he said. “Many of our film students, a largely working-class constituency, can identify with his career trajectory, his background and the types of films he has made. He represents that with hard work and passion, you can succeed in this business.”
The following five student films are featured in the showcase:
- “¡Corre!” directed by Robert Havonisian and Elmer Zelaya, tells the story of Daniel, a member of a human-trafficking ring. Recognizing an 18-year-old captive, Daniel decides to save her, risking everything to redeem what is left of his broken spirit.
- “The Death of Colm Canter,” directed by Revati Dhomse, is set in 1870s California and explores what happens when a young woman and her son give a tired traveller permission to stay in their barn overnight, only to learn the vagabond is her husband’s killer.
- “The Frequencies,” directed by Sahar El-Ghali, is about a nuclear power plant worker and his younger brother, who set out to prove that experiments conducted by the government are bringing life-draining creatures into this world from a different frequency.
- “Champion,” directed by Kevin Reyes, is the story of Joaquin De La Cruz, a young, amateur boxer who finds that his anger is both his greatest asset and his worst liability. He must learn to control it if he is to win.
- “When a Flame Stands Still,” directed by Michael Canon, is the story of an orthodox Jewish couple who, in the midst of the Holocaust, are separated and go into hiding. Unable to see, hear or touch one another, each reminisces about their love story — from the day they first met to the day they parted — with only their memories and the dim glow of a lamp to soften the darkness.
For more information about the showcase, call CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts at (818) 677-3192.
Hailed by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 25 film programs in the nation, California State University, Northridge’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts, housed in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication, has an international reputation for producing dedicated and talented entertainment industry professionals who recognize the value of hard work as they learn and continue to perfect their crafts. The department’s alumni work in all aspects of entertainment media, from writing, producing and directing to manning cameras and having the final say in what project is made.