National Student Screenwriting Success for SJSU

festivallogoScreenwriting Professor Scott Sublett writes:

Once again, San Jose State students have achieved national recognition for screenwriting excellence.

Lauren Serpa, who received her BA in RTVF from San Jose State and is currently an SJSU MFA Creative Writing student, won second place at the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts in the feature-length screenplay category for Where We Start.

The BEA is the nation’s largest organization of RTVF programs and their Festival of Media Arts is the nation’s most important student film competition.

In the same category, recent RTVF grad Risha Rose received an Honorable Mention for her screenplay Dance With Me.

In the Short Screenplay category, two SJSU students received Honorable Mentions: Rachel Compton for Prosopagnosia  and Kevin Briot for When a Giant Falls.

Congratulations to the faculty in RTVF, Theatre Arts, and English who mentored these exceptional students who have brought us glory, and of course to the students themselves!


[PDF OF THIS PRESS RELEASE]bea_festival2014

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.”


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]



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.”


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.



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


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”


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


Akos Meggyes’ Script SPACE-NUNS Wins 3rd at 2013 CSU Media Arts


Akos Meggyes  (RTVF MAJOR)
SJSU President’s Scholar 2013
SJSU Salzburg Scholar 2012 — U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy: National Top Ten Program
Award Recipient 2012-13 — SJSU Undergraduate Research Grant
Phi Kappa Phi 2012

Akos’ short screen play, Space-Nuns, received third place at the 2013 CSU Media Arts Festival in Fullerton, CA.
Akos comments, “The script actually was a formatting exercise in Prof. Scott Sublett’s screenwriting class. I also received much help in classes of other screenwriting teachers like Professors Barnaby Dallas and David Kahn. To translate the script into a film production great amounts of wisdom came from Professors Harry Mathias, Babak Sarrafan, Nick Martinez, and Amy Glazer Connolly. For the creation of a meaningful project it is very important to have skills in film and media criticism, and I could not have done it without Professors Apryl Berney, Drew Todd, and Alison McKee. I really enjoy film-making and being an RTVF student at SJSU just made it even more a passion of mine.”

Akos Meggyes

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