CSUN alumni receive award for student film

Michelle Verne

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Ryan Carmody and Masaki Imai, recent graduates from CSUN, talk about their experiences making their movie “Sounds of Silence” and recieving recognization from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). Photo Credit: Anna Osipova / Staff Reporter

Two CSUN graduates received honorable mention from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) for Directors of Photography in the student film project, “The Sounds of Silence.”

Ryan Carmody, 23, and Masaki Imai, 28, who graduated last May said they were glad to be the first honorees from CSUN. They both showed high regard in the process, from the beginning of the project to attending the awards ceremony.

“It meant a lot because we got to go to the ASC awards and we got to meet the people that we really look up to,” Carmody said.

The accolades were given at the 24th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Century City.

Carmody stated that the highlight of the night was speaking with famous Austrian cinematographer Christian Berger, who won the award that night for the feature film, “The White Ribbon.” Other nominees for Directors of Photography included “The Hurt Locker,” “Nine,” “Avatar” and “Inglourious Basterds.”

“The Sounds of Silence,” by students Joseph Umana and Shirley Kim, was the CSU Media Arts Festival, Best of Show Rosebud Award winner.

“It’s about a traveling circus in the late 1920s, early 1930s,” Carmody said. “The art direction and the production design really lent a lot to the film. The whole New Orleans alley was built at the CSUN soundstage. It was really cool to work on.”

According to the ASC Web site, the ASC has been around since 1919 and is a non-profit association committed to evolving the art of filmmaking. ASC brings the education of the art and craft of cinematography to filmmakers and others interested in this field.

These goals are accomplished through publishing the internationally popular magazine, “American Cinematographer” and the “American Cinematographer Manual.” There are also industry seminars and one-on-one mentoring by ASC members.

Since the ASC is a highly respected organization within the industry, Carmody and Imai did not hesitate to express their gratitude and how it felt to win the award.

“What even made it better was to get the honorable mention in the same year that our favorite cinematographer, Christian Berger, won his award,” Carmody said. “We spent most of the night talking to him, which was all that really mattered.”

“We were a little too nervous to approach everyone,” Imai said. “But it was an honor just to be in the presence of all that talent.”

Carmody and Imai said that winning the award provided confidence and was something they would include on their resume but did not believe it would necessarily help them get their foot in the door.

“Since there’s so much competition in the industry there’s more than an award that needs to be on a resume,” Carmody said.

They both agreed that the award is just the beginning.

“We got a plaque in the mail yesterday and we weren’t expecting it,” Carmody said. “It was uplifting. Knowing that a lot of people don’t get this opportunity or even have achieved this award, made it feel pretty cool.”

Carmody and Imai also expressed advice to other students in cinematography.

“While in school, make as many contacts and work on as many sets as you can so that when you get out of school it makes it that much easier to get a job and start a career,” Carmody said. “It’s a lot harder trying to make contacts after you graduate.”

Imai agreed, and added, “Try hard to achieve your dreams and never give up.”