National Student Success for Screenwriting Students

The San Jose State University Department of Television-Radio-Film-Theatre is proud to announce that, once again, our talented students have distinguished themselves in the nation’s largest and most important student screenwriting competition: the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts. 

RTVF major Dylan Sergant took Second Place in Feature Screenwriting with his science fiction script “Romancing Destruction,” about a murderous stalker aboard a spaceship, willing to destroy Planet Earth to dominate the woman he desires.

In the Short Subject Screenwriting category, two of our students received Awards of Excellence: RTVF major Chris Wilson for “The Interrogation,” and RTVF major Nick Harstrick for “Frat Pup.” All awards will be presented in Las Vegas at the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The Broadcast Education Association (BEA) is the nation’s largest association of RTVF academic programs.

The Department has a long history of student success in the BEA Festival, last year having taken first place in Feature Screenwriting, something we look forward to doing again next year.


It’s been a little over year since Kristian Soewardie graduated from San Jose State, and he’s already gotten his career start in the motion picture industry. This past summer he accepted a job offer in Los Angeles at Sony Pictures Entertainment, and this fall was accepted into the University of Southern California Annenberg Masters of Communications (MCM) program. Aside from being well known for cinematic arts, USC also offers among the best communication and media studies graduate programs in the world. The MCM program teaches business organization strategies. “I was a returning student at San Jose State in 2013,” said Kristian, “after failing as a business major due to my lack of discipline in my studies. All my life I wanted to study film, but never had the right opportunity because of my time in the U.S. Marine Corps and other professions. In the fall of 2013, with the help from my academic advisor, Scott Sublett, I was reinstated at SJSU with a major in Radio-Television-film. During my time at SJSU, I encountered great professors who were very influential in my understanding of film. The education I obtained from SJSU, and my military and professional experience, helped me get to where I am in my career and into the USC masters program.”


On Sunday, December the 18th, SJSU’s Film Production Society hosted their biannual FPS Fest at the Camera 3 Theater downtown. Occurring at the end of every semester, FPS Fest collects the finest student-made films produced over the past semester from students across all majors, primarily the TRFT department as well as some films from the Animation and Illustration major and films produced by FPS alumni.

This semester brought the best films from classes such as Babak Sarrafan’s RTVF-130 and Laura Long & Kathie Kratochvil’s TA-100W as well as films produced by the club itself and independent student productions. This semester’s festival also premiered the long-awaited Summer 2014 Spartan Studios’ film Space Nuns by Akos Megyes, after 2 ½ years in production.

The officers assemble a small panel of judges to assign scores and determine award winners assembled from alumni and faculty members. This festival the panel was composed of SJSU Theater Arts professor Laura Long, RTVF Alumnus Liam Goulding, and RTVF Alumus Oscar Arguello who also was a founding member of the club ten years ago.

FPS is led by seniors Ashley Valenzuela (President), Riley Leggin (Vice President), and Jacob Ohlhausen and Officers Rikuto Sekiguchi, Samantha Panganiban, Aaron Griego, Francisco Allan Alvarez, and Kyle McDonald. The club encourages and fosters a student community of filmmakers to make films and cultivate various on-set technical skills, augmenting what is being taught in the classroom by offering enthusiastic students more opportunities to exercise their knowledge.

At this festival, the officer’s introduced a new award to recognize individuals outside of the club who have helped and supported the club achieve their goals. The inaugural award was presented to RTVF Director of Theater & Film Production and FPS faculty advisor Barnaby Dallas for his continued, tireless efforts to assist the club in their filmmaking endeavors.

Award Winners:

Best Picture – Eye Love You – Nikiel Suchit

Audience Choice – Play-Time – David Bui

Best Director – Ambient – Jonathan Olivo

Best Cinematography – Ambient – JD Meyer

Best Actress – Roulette – Amanda Chiapari

Best Actor – Play-Time – Spencer Greene

Best Script – Eye Love You – Nikiel Suchit

Best Editing – Ambient – Jonathan Olivo

Best Art – Four/Four Downpour – Sami Healy

Best Sound – Eye Love You – Nikiel Suchit

Officers Appreciation – Barnaby Dallas     

Vikas Dhurkas’ Play AIRPORT INSECURITY to debut at the Cubberley Theater

Silicon Valley high tech business leader Vikas Dhurka had always wanted to learn screenwriting, so he signed up for Professor  Scott Sublett’s online screenwriting class through Open University. Vikas wrote a hilarious (and autobiographical) feature-length screenplay about a businessman stuck in an airport without a passport. When Professor Sublett suggested that Vikas’s funny, charming screenplay Airport Insecurity might also work as a stage play, Vikas got to work.

Now, Nataak, the biggest and most prominent Indian American company in America, loves the play and will present a production of it February 24 through March 4, 2017 at the Cubberley Theater in Palo Alto.

“I will never forget the day I chanced upon the class,” Vikas recalls. “May 26th, 2016. I had to return some properties we borrowed from the SJSU prop shop. As I was walking back, I saw the flyer for RTVF 160 Screenwriting on the notice board. I always wanted to write. I sent Prof. Sublett an email once I got back to my desk and got his positive response an hour later. Life, as they say, was never the same.”

For more information on the theatre company and the play (including auditions), check out Nataak’s website:

STAGE KISS Event on December 3!

We recently heard from Michael Marlin White:

In the Spring of 2014, SPOTLITE Stage Company (student-run theater club) produced a full-length musical I wrote, in the black box theater. At the time it was performed, it was titled Stage Kiss, but it has now been renamed to Sean Gibbs’ STAGE KISS.

It was received well by audiences (I believe some of you even got to see it–Lindsay Sporleder was the female lead in it) and we were able to have the opening song sung at the opening of a San Jose City Council Meeting where we received a Commendation Award from the City of San Jose/Chuck Reed on this accomplishment and show. 

It was also the first full-length musical this club had ever done, and was the first in many years in which the entire theater department had a full-length musical put on.

I have now gone on to publishing the show–after hiring and working with a SJSU Music Major to arrange and create the show’s sheet music–and will be hosting a Publishing Promotion Party for the musical on December 3rd at the Student Union Theater!

We will be celebrating the accomplishment, as well as having a Cabaret Night of the show, displaying and showcasing the show’s songs–in order to promote the show to hopefully get it picked up by a local high school in the next year.

I wanted to go ahead and extend an invitation to you all, to join us in this fun night of entertainment and the celebration of its publishing. It will be a Premiere/Red Carpet themed event, with a photo backdrop and all of the show’s logo! We will also be having Pitch Please singing in the beginning of the event, a male all-voice singing group on campus, which will be a fun element to the event!

Overall, a performance/theater/music/arts evening!

Tickets are FREE and can be found at:

Show Info:

We have 300 seats to fill, and I want to try and get as full a house as we can! So, feel free to come with family/friends/colleagues and to share with any interested students you may have. : )

I would love to see some of you there! 

Michael Marlin White