CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts Film Production Option received an $86,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) during the annual summer luncheon for new HFPA officers Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
A total of $1,000,000 in financial grants was donated by HFPA to selected applicant schools and non-profit organizations to celebrate the 2009-10 officers. Executed in true Hollywood style, the event was complete with a slew of actors who presented the grants to the schools and organizations.
“This year’s luncheon announcing and honoring the new Hollywood Foreign Press Association officers of 2009-2010 went fantastically,” said Michael Russell, publicist for the HFPA.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood presented the CSUN film department with this year’s grant. Other actors presenting grant donations included Warren Beatty, Hugh Dancy, Dylan McDermott, Chris Pine, Eva Longoria Parker, Jason Reitman, Jordana Brewster, Carla Gugino, Rex Lee, Kerry Washington and Emmy Rossum. Rose McGowan helped Philip Berk, HFPA president, announce each of the school’s grants.
Many talented actors have been a part of this annual event showing their passion and support for cinema and television arts programs.
“When they announce the officers, it becomes a big event in Hollywood,” Russell said.
“It is a long process,” said Russell, “when it comes down to deciding which schools will receive the grants from the HFPA.”
School’s must sign up online and fill out an application for a grant. A committee then goes through all of the applications and has the task of approving which schools will receive grants.
The HFPA is a major supporter of the CSUN film department. In the past 13 years, a cumulative total of about $500,000 has been donated to the program, said CSUN professor Nate Thomas.
“Last year we got the most money out of all the film schools,” said Thomas, who is head of the film production option. This year CSUN received the second highest money donation right behind UCLA.
Thomas believes the HFPA is especially generous to the CSUN film department because of the strong relationship connecting the university to the association and the quality of work the students produce. Many CSUN alumni have become well-known and respected members of the HFPA community like Donald Petrie who directed films such as “Miss Congeniality” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” said Thomas.
The majority of the $86,000 from the HFPA goes toward the department’s senior film projects. The remaining funds are spent on various upgrades to hardware and editing software, Thomas said. Specifically, the grant money helped improve and upgrade the films and sound mix studio, now known as the HFPA Film Sound Mix Studio.
“Stuff needed to be upgraded,” said CTVA major Daniel Lee, 20.
Associated Students and the HFPA are the main contributors that provide funding for the CTVA department, but students are always participating in fundraisers to raise more money for film projects, Thomas said.
“I think it’s probably one of the more expensive majors,” said CTVA student Brian Parada, who just completed his senior film thesis totaling $27,000. Parada, 22, said his film was one of the least expensive of all the senior thesis projects.
Roughly $4,000 that went into the film was part of a grant from the HFPA, said Parada.
“It helps a ton, it really does,” he said. “If I wouldn’t have been given a grant from them, I probably wouldn’t have made my film.”
With the current budget crisis, the HFPA grants are more helpful to CTVA students.
“It’s even more important,” said Thomas. “They’ve done a lot for us.”