The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Alumni win student Emmy award for ‘Dogumentary’

Alumni students Cristina Ramirez-Mares and Kate Ryan pose for pictures after they receive a student Emmy for a documentary that they originally created for their senior project. (Photo by Dylan Miles, Daily Sundial)

CSUN alumni filmmakers won third place for a documentary that began as a senior film project at the 29th Annual College Television Arts held by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Director Kate Ryan and producer Cristina Ramirez-Mares won a “student Emmy” for “Point of View: A Dogumentary” at the ceremony at Culver Studios on March 15.

The other main contenders in the documentary category in the ceremony were the University of Florida Documentary Institute’s “Bismillah in the Name of Allah,” directed and produced by Jolene Pinder and Sarah Zaman and Montana State University’s “Little Mom Full of Color,” directed by Kate Garton.

Nominations and awards for the student Emmys, as they are informally called, are often reserved for graduate schools with reputations of unspoken notoriety and high-end budget filmmaking, said Nate Thomas, a cinema and television arts professor and head of the film production department.

The award has given notoriety to the filmmakers involved and to the institution of higher learning that it represents.

“We kinda got to celebrate for CSUN,” Ryan said. “We were next to USC, UCLA (and) NYU. Everyone was there, so it was very exciting to be placed alongside them and be able to celebrate all of our hard work.”

Ryan said the competition was heavy and that the making of “Dogumentary” was a very arduous but heart-warming experience, and the end result paid off.

“It was an entire year process for me,” 24-year-old Ryan said. “It took a year between the concept and filming.”

Although CSUN is not known as a college that produces lavish and high-end productions that mark the map for filmmakers and the film schools in general, the documentary has changed the way most film professors at CSUN judge the end result of the films that their students produce.

“Sometimes documentaries can be very dull, very antiseptic, very stale,” Thomas said. “That’s why I think that it was one of the reasons that it was chosen. It was clever, unique, fresh. Those are the kinds of things that we are looking for (and) the other students need to take heed,” Thomas said.

The film itself was an in-depth analysis of what it means to have different perspectives on an issue of an object that is fundamentally universal. In this case, the subject was a common household pet, a dog.

“This was something that basically everyone can relate to,” 23-year-old Ramirez-Mares said. “But not necessarily in the same way.”

The film revolves around a group of people that use dogs in different ways and in different circumstances. The idea was that by bringing certain individuals from different backgrounds and from differing points of view together, allowing them to share in their socialized disparity, they might be able to unfurl those distinctions and come to terms with what it is they may or may not believe.

“I wanted the film to be beyond informative,” Ryan said. “I wanted it to make people question themselves. I wanted it to go from informative to thought-provoking.”

Although the documentary did not win first place, it has changed the way people will look at CSUN, Ramirez-Mares said.

“This is carving CSUN’s name deeper into that respective category,” said Ramirez-Mares.

As far as a career is concerned, the filmmakers will be able to use this quantified esteem to gain rank and prominence in their respective circles. The filmmaking experience was time well spent.

Ryan said, “We hope that after people watch this that it sparks a lot of conversation. We hope that this will help our voices be heard.”

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