California State University, Long Beach
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Film, Electronic Arts Department Receives $35,000 from HFPA

The Film and Electronic Arts Department at CSULB has received a $35,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to support student film making.

The HFPA recently announced donations of more than $750,000 in financial grants to film schools and non-profit organizations at its annual installation luncheon honoring its 2008-09 slate of officers at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“This is a fantastic gift for our department,” said Craig Smith, chair of the CSULB Film and Electronic Arts Department. “Like our other students films, our documentary films are becoming more reputable due in part to this grant. We took second and fourth place in the documentary category at the CSU Media Arts Festival, and we had never competed in this category before. That is what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association award has made possible.”

The HFPA hosts the Golden Globe Awards each year and its members are comprised of journalists from around the world who report on the entertainment industry.

“Despite last January’s cancellation of the annual Golden Globe Awards due to the Writers' Guild strike that curtailed the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s income, we’re delighted to honor our ongoing commitment to support entertainment industry-related film school and non-profit organizations,” said Jorge Camara, HFPA president. “Over the past several years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Foundation has presented more than $7.5 million in financial grants to dozens of film schools and non-profit organizations.”

According to Smith, who drafted the proposal for the grant, the way the Film and Electronics Department grows its scholarship program is by showcasing the quality of the work it produces, its growing reputation for producing quality documentaries, and the low cost of tuition to attend Cal State Long Beach.

“Thirty-five thousand dollars at CSULB could benefit 10 students, but only one or two, if that, at more expensive film schools such as Chapman University or USC,” Smith said. “The money goes a long way here. One of the things I like best about this grant is its flexibility. The money is for our student filmmakers alone, not faculty or for buying equipment, and we decide how much money the students need for each project.”

Smith believes one key to the program’s success is the interaction between faculty and students, and he is confident the Film and Electronics Department in general, and the documentary program in particular, will continue to attract similar support.

“Once they have taken all the preliminary courses for the documentary track, our faculty works with the students on their ideas. We try to make sure students undertake projects they know something about and have some familiarity with,” Smith said. “The focus here is on the undergraduate. The CSULB undergraduate gets a lot of attention in this department. Students have transferred to CSULB from the USC and UCLA film programs because they could not get the attention there that they receive here.”