CSUN Professor Receives Emmy for Documenting Organization Serving the Homeless

California State University, Northridge gender and women’s studies professor R. Dianne Bartlow has won a regional Emmy Award for directing a piece spotlighting an organization that serves the homeless in Santa Monica.

The three-segment special, “Santa Monica Cares,” aired Dec. 31, 2014, on CityTV of Santa Monica and was a joint effort by members of the Women’s Steering Committee of the Directors Guild of America, of which Bartlow is a member. The program won an Emmy in the Public, Municipal and Operator-Produced Cable category, competing against four other programs. The winner was announced at the 67th Los Angeles-area Emmy Awards presentation Saturday, July 25, at the Skirball Cultural Center.

CSUN professor R. Dianne Bartlow received her 3rd Emmy for her segment of "Santa Monica Cares," highlighting organizations that help the homeless.

CSUN professor R. Dianne Bartlow received her 3rd Emmy for her segment of “Santa Monica Cares,” highlighting organizations that help the homeless.

Bartlow, an accomplished television director, writer and producer, said she was thrilled her team’s program won the award.

“It was just so exciting,” Bartlow said. “It was a project we all worked on pro bono that came together really nicely. People were stepping up and making original music compositions on our segments. It was pretty phenomenal.”

Bartlow directed a four-minute feature on the Bread and Roses Café at the St. Joseph’s Center, a diner-style eatery providing free, healthy gourmet meals for Santa Monica’s homeless community. The kitchen is run by “Hero Chef” Derek Walker — 2013 winner of the Food Network show “Chopped” — and an all-volunteer wait staff.

Bartlow said the cafe is special because it is not a soup kitchen, but a real fine-dining experience, due to the quality of the food and the respectful service.

“What Walker was doing on ‘Chopped’ is exactly what he is doing at Bread and Roses,” she said. “It’s a place where the homeless can go to eat really good food, and maybe for an hour they don’t feel homeless.”

Beyond the award, Bartlow said, her segment also helped generate public interest in St. Joseph’s Center — which offers other resources such as intervention and culinary education programs. Her feature was shown at a St. Joseph’s fundraiser, and afterward, anonymous donors contributed $65,000, Bartlow said. Within a short time, that sum was matched by more donations.

“It feels amazing to know it made an impact,” Bartlow said. “We’ve got really good citizens out there who are privileged and have the means, who put their money where their mouth is by helping this very vulnerable population.”

Sharing the Emmy award with Bartlow are fellow directors/producers Jerri Sher and Melanie Wagor, executive producers Mary Lou Belli and Robin Gee, and associate producers Al Johnson and Evan Zissimopulos. The team produced three segments featuring Santa Monica-based organizations that work with the homeless: Bread and Roses Café, Step Up on Second and the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC).

“The main directors and producers were all women, and it shows that when you give us a chance to showcase our talents, we deliver the goods,” Bartlow said. “We are still on cloud nine about it, still just reeling.”

Bartlow, chair of CSUN’s Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, has been teaching at CSUN since 2002. She started her career as a magazine, TV and production secretary, and she worked her way up to segment producer. She spent more than a decade in the broadcast journalism arena, garnering a number of Emmy Award nominations along the way.

In 1993, she won an Emmy for a segment called “Pioneer Women,” and another in 1997 for “A Community of Caring.” She worked on the “Two on the Town” magazine show for KCBS through the 1980s.

When the show ended, she worked as a freelance producer for a number of years before returning to school to earn a doctorate in communications, with an emphasis on critical cultural/media studies, gender, race and discourse, cognition and human interaction. Her research focuses on representations of African-American women in popular music, culture and film; 19th-century black feminism; pedagogy and diversity; mothering; and violence against women.

She is currently developing two documentaries: “Justice Denied: Mothers Who Lose Custody” and “New Agenda: African-American Women and Music.”

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