The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) awarded CSUN’s 2011-12 senior film project students with a $50,000 grant for the 16th consecutive year.
“It’s a huge help,” said Jaclyn Moore, film production major. “I don’t know what we would do without it. It would be a struggle.”
In addition to the grant, each student involved in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts’ (CTVA) senior film project must raise at least $1,500 themselves.
“Fundraising is difficult enough as it is to get people to give you money just so you can go off and make a movie,” Moore said.
There are about 30 to 35 members working on a project. Through various fundraisers and having jobs on the side, earning the required $1,500 can be a struggle for students.
With film budgets ranging from $30,000 to $50,000, the grant awarded Aug. 4 at the Beverly Hills Hotel provides a more than helpful amount of money to their budget.
“Help is an understatement,” said Beneyam Wolde-Yohannes, film production major. “Most of us film students are broke, so the money is really important to make our films the best they could be.”
The film major is different from other majors on campus, for which money is not usually needed to complete a project, Wolde-Yohannes said.
Less senior film projects would’ve been possible had the money not been given to them this year, Moore said. That could also result in students not getting the opportunity to try out the position they want to go into professionally, she added.
The HFPA has been awarding grants to universities and other film programs for 17 years, and for all but the first year CSUN has won grants from the organization.
“They’re happy with the kind of work that we’re doing,” said Nate Thomas, a CTVA professor and the head of the film option at the university.
Thomas applies and writes a grant proposal to the HFPA in order for CSUN to win the award. At the end of every school year, he writes an end of the year grant report to the organization, showing proof that the program has met its goals.
“I’ve watched this program grow and flourish and I’ve watched our students be considered in the company of the other major film schools,” he said.
During the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, Thomas was fearful that grant money would not be awarded that year. Much to his surprise, the organization granted money to film schools from their reserve accounts.
HFPA recognized that the money is more important now because of the budget crisis, Thomas said.
“Many of our students are working class, and that’s a constituency that’s in need of help,” he said. “Because making films are expensive. We make real motion pictures here.”
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