Student films showcased after pandemic cancellations


Courtesy of CTVA Department.

Isabella Vodos, Reporter

The 2022 CSUN Senior Film Showcase returned to its traditional in-person format to provide aspiring student filmmakers with a platform to present their films, all of which were filmed during the pandemic.

The showcase is sponsored by the CSUN Associated Students Instructionally Related Activities fund and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The HFPA is a nonprofit organization that gives students the opportunity to win a grant at the showcase to both remind them of their achievement and give them recognition in the film industry.

The event took place on Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.

The host of this year’s event was director, writer, producer and CSUN alumnus Mark L. Lester, who has directed films like “Firestarter” and “Showdown in Little Tokyo.”

“We are beyond excited to finally have our thesis projects in our hands,” said CSUN alumnus Ruben Fuentes Jr. “It’s been a long time coming and at times it felt as if it were to never happen. The showcase is the culmination of our college careers as filmmakers and very much like commencement to us.”

Fuentes’ film, “A Más No Poder,” tells the story of a young criminal who must take risks to support his pregnant wife and provide for his family. Fuentes mentions that the story is based on his cousin Octavio Romero’s disappearance after becoming involved with the local cartel, a situation that he says happens to tens of thousands of people.

CSUN student Parker Caston’s film “Cuffed” tells the story of two Black friends in America and the trauma they face being part of the Black community.

Caston explains that he based the movie off of “his own deepest fears.” He used to worry about police violence based on what he saw on the news.

Other CSUN student films that were shown included “A Beautiful Sin,” directed by Ahmad Jack Almazeedi, “El Mozote,” directed by Jasmine Galdamez, and director Franco Vidal’s “Hot Latin Nights at the Granada!”

CSUN cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas said in a recent press release that he’s proud these students are finally able to showcase their achievements.

“I am incredibly proud of what they have accomplished,” Thomas said. “As their films demonstrate, they have the skills to tell those stories effectively. As members of the entertainment industry, they will add new voices and perspectives to those who already entertain and sometimes provoke us with their filmmaking.”