Nearly 50 students from the Roybal Film and Television Production Magnet will learn how to turn their Hollywood dreams into reality when they visit California State University, Northridge’s film program on Tuesday, Sept 26.
The students from the downtown Los Angeles high school will have an opportunity to attend a film screening and talk to the filmmaker, tour the university’s various studios and meet with faculty. The daylong visit will end with a brief tour of the CSUN campus.
“We have one of the most diverse film programs in the country,” said cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas, head of CSUN’s film option. “The students come from one of the diverse school districts in the country. It’s important that they see people who look like them, who have stories similar to theirs, going to college and studying fields that they aspire to work in one day.
“If we want an entertainment industry that truly represent all its audiences, then we need to open the doors and provide students of all backgrounds with the tools they need to succeed in Hollywood,” Thomas said. “The visit by the students from Roybal Film and Television Production Magnet is one way to show them that their Hollywood dreams can be real.”
The Roybal Film and Television Production Magnet launched was founded in 2021 by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Don Cheadle, Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Nicole Avant, Eva Longoria, Working Title Films founders Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Co-Chairman Bryan Lourd in partnership with Los Angeles Unified with a mission to build a more inclusive pipeline of historically underrepresented college- and career-ready students interested in the film and television industries.
Thomas has met with the school’s leaders to find out how CSUN can help them support their students’ dreams.
He said one of the highlights of the visit by the Roybal students will be the screening of “Hot Latin Nights at the Granada,” directed by Franco Vidal, one of the five student films selected for CSUN’s Senior Film Showcase last year. Vidal is now a Master of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Southern California’s film school.
“Hot Latin Nights at the Granada,” is the story of The Granada, a nightclub owned by the famed salsa singer Tony “El Tío” Lopez, that is closing.
“Franco not only directed the film, he also wrote it and even wrote some of the music,” Thomas said. “He’s eager to come back to campus to talk to the students about the possibilities for people who look like him and them.”
CSUN’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 craft. The department currently enrolls nearly 1,700 undergraduates and 30 students in its graduate screenwriting program. Its 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. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety regularly rank CSUN among the top universities in the country for cinema and television arts education.