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CSUN Grads Take Top Honors at CSU Media Arts Festival

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(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Dec. 15th, 2011) ―

Seven California State University, Northridge recent film graduates took top prizes at the CSU Media Arts Festival last month.

The set of 'Carousel.'

Recent cinema and television arts graduates Travis Marlatt, Guy Bowen, Jason Rotolo, Tomoya Nakamura, Nicole Owen and Rachel Yoder took home Rosebud Awards at the annual event that allows students in the 23-campus California State University system an opportunity to present their work for critical review by CSU professors and industry professionals. The Rosebud Awards are given to first-place winners in each competition category as well as to the Best in Show and Audience Choice winners. The award comes with a $500 cash prize.

Marlatt, Rotolo, Nakamura and Bowen’s film, “GiddyUp, Grandma!” was named Audience Choice while Owen and Yoder’s film, “Carousel,” took first in the narrative division. Recent Northridge graduate Aaron Blum’s film, “Absolution,” earned second place honors in the narrative division, while “GiddyUp, Grandma!” took third in the same division. All the filmmakers graduated from CSUN last May and their work was featured in the university’s annual “Senior Film Showcase” in the spring.

Cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas noted that Northridge students have taken top honors at the CSU Media Arts Festival for the past few years.

“I think that’s a testament to the caliber of our program and the talent of the students who go through it,” said Thomas, head of CSUN’s film option. “All of these filmmakers faced tough challenges. They worked really hard and created works that are both audience-pleasing and demonstrate just how talented they are. While their films are unique, they are all quite good.”

Marlatt, director and writer of “GiddyUp, Grandma!” said winning the Audience Choice award was “incredibly validating.” “It’s nice to be recognized by the judges, but also having the audience genuinely enjoy it is a great feeling,” he said.

Owen, a producer of “Carousel,” said it was “an amazing feeling” to win a Rosebud Award.

“Knowing that ‘Carousel’s’ cast and crew’s hard work was acknowledged was a joy for me,” she said. “I feel so blessed to have been part of this film and was honored to have competed against the talented filmmakers in the narrative category.”

Owen’s co-producer, Yoder, agreed.

“My most memorable moment of the festival was when younger student filmmakers asked questions about our film and told us they were inspired,” Yoder said. “I have been inspired by others my entire life, so to actually inspire someone else is an incredible feeling.”

“Carousel” was written by Erin Condron, who received her master’s in screenwriting from Northridge.

CSU Summer Arts established the Media Arts Festival in 1991. Distinguished CSU professors and industry leaders choose the student finalists and winners in the film, video, and interactive media competition, and all finalist works are screened during the festival. CSU Summer Arts plays a major role in expanding the opportunities for talented film, video and interactive media students. By offering two- and four-week master classes for college credit during the Summer Arts Festival in July, and by offering the Media Arts Festival in November, it gives a voice to the talented CSU students who study at the world’s largest university, the California State University.

Cal State Northridge’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts has an international reputation for producing dedicated and talented 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 the industry, from writing, producing and directing to manning cameras and having the final say in what project is made.


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