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SAN JOSE STATE DOMINATES BEA: NATION’S BIGGEST STUDENT FILM CONTEST

February 17th, 2014 by Kimb Massey

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San Jose State Students and Faculty won the top prizes this year at the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts (the BEA.)

Among the awards: Best in Show; Best Faculty Educational or Instructional Video; second and third in feature-length scriptwriting; and second in short subject scriptwriting. See BEA announcement of winners.

The BEA, established in 1955, is by far the nation’s largest association of Radio-TV-Film programs, with 260 member institutions. Their Festival of Media Arts is the most important student film competition in America.

“No school took more important awards at the festival than we did this year,” said Dept. of TV, Radio, Film and Theatre Chair David Kahn. “It’s time people recognize we have one of the best undergraduate film programs in the CSU system, and maybe the nation.”

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Winner of Best in Show was ”Always Learning,” a feature-length, student-made film about a 17-year-old home-schooled boy trying to persuade his overprotective mother to let him leave for college. Student writer-director Robert Krakower was home-schooled to the age of 14. “I’m so grateful to San Jose State,” said Krakower. “It’s incredible that they take the risk of letting students direct feature length, and I don’t think I could have picked a more amazing place to study film.” [Follow “Always Learning” on Facebook]

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TRFT students on the set of the BEA award-winning "Best in Show" feature film Always Learning

TRFT students on the set of the BEA award-winning “Best in Show” feature film Always Learning

Krakower’s movie was produced by the SJSU Dept. of Radio, TV, Film and Theatre’s feature film production entity: Spartan Film Studios. It was shot over a summer by 60 students in 26 days, with an almost entirely student crew and cast, supervised by faculty and professionals (Barnaby Dallas and Nick Martinez are department leads for Spartan Film Studios.)

Executive producer Barnaby Dallas said, “San Jose State is unique among the nation’s film programs in that it supports feature-length moviemaking, and Spartan Film Studios has had a string of successful indies written and directed by students and faculty.”

Meanwhile, Prof. of Film Production Babak Sarrafan won the Educational or Instructional Video Award of Excellence for “The Green Ninja Episode 4: Styrofoam Man,” the latest installment in his ongoing series about an environmental ninja. Sarrafan said, “My aim is to make environmental responsibility entertaining. Styrofoam Man was one of the Green Ninja’s most nefarious opponents, but he was action-packed and recycled.”

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San Jose State’s nationally recognized screenwriting program took three top awards, starting with Radio-TV-Film major Kamran Sohrabi’s second place in feature-length student screenwriting for his drama, “I Divorce You, I Divorce You,” the story of an Iranian American family torn apart when a divorce threatens the family business.

“For years now, our brilliant student screenwriters win top awards at the most important student screenwriting contests,” said Prof. of Screenwriting Scott Sublett. “We also took 1-2-3 in feature screenwriting at the most recent CSU Media Arts Festival, and for years our screenwriters have won or placed in the BEA in the scriptwriting categories.”

Placing second in the Short Subject screenwriting category was SJSU MFA Creative Writing major Michael Quintana, for “Blind Date,” about a man who learns about himself on a blind date with a sightless woman.

RTVF major Jarrod Hodgdon won third place in the Feature Scriptwriting category for “Things Are Gonna Change Around Here.

BEA RESULTS FOR SJSU:

 STUDENT VIDEO COMPETITION

Best of Festival (Narrative): Robert Krakower (writer-director) & Jon Magram (producer), San Jose State University; “Always Learning”

 STUDENT SCRIPTWRITING

Short Subject, 2nd Place: Michael Quintana, San Jose State University; “The Blind Date”

Feature, 2nd Place: Kamran Sohrabi, San Jose State University; “I Divorce You, I Divorce You”

Feature, 3rd Place: Jarred Hodgdon, San Jose State University; Things are Gonna Change Around Here”

 FACULTY VIDEO COMPETITION

Educational or Instructional Video Award of Excellence:  Babak Sarrafan, San Jose State University; “The Green Ninja Episode 4: Styrofoam Man”

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