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HPFA Awards $105K To Film and Electronic Arts Department

Published: August 22, 2016

Christian O'Keefe working on
Film and Electronics’ film student Christian O’Keefe working on “The Tragic Fall of Valley Rob,” written and directed by Michael Priestley. Priestley received an HFPA scholarship award of $3,000 to produce the film.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HPFA), which hosts the annual Golden Globe Awards, recently presented CSULB’s College of the Arts (COTA) with $105,000, continuing a decade-plus-long relationship with the campus. The donation will provide $60,000 to the Department of Film and Electronic Arts (FEA) for student scholarships, $40,000 for equipment and software upgrades to its sound mixing suite, and $5,000 to support the HFPA Scholarship Endowment.

The HFPA handed out nearly $2.4 million in grants at its annual grants banquet in August and over the course of its history has committed more than $25 million in grants and supported more than 1,500 scholarships.

“This year marks the 12th year we have received support from the HFPA, something for which the Film and Electronic Arts Department (FEA) and the College of the Arts (COTA) are immeasurably grateful,” said Arléna Kauppi, director of development for the College of the Arts.

At CSULB, the scholarship money will be used to support approximately 20 student film productions, with recipients selected during the Fall semester by committees of faculty and industry professionals who review student scripts (for narrative films) and pitch presentations (for documentary films).

According to Kauppi, room UTC-236 in the Film and Electronic Arts Department will be named the “Hollywood Foreign Press Association Sound Mixing Suite” to recognize the organization’s commitment to the department, which has approximately 700 students and offers two B.A. programs in Film and Electronic Arts.

“Filmmaking is the most collaborative of art forms, and also the most expensive,” said Jerry Mosher, chair of the FEA Department. “Over the past decade, the HFPA scholarships have enabled more than 150 of our student directors to realize their visions, tell their stories, and complete their films. The HFPA’s support has been essential to the success of our film production program.”

The HFPA-CSULB relationship began in 2004 when a COTA colleague first noticed the association’s scholarship support for another CSU campus in a newspaper article and mentioned it to Kauppi, who was a development coordinator at the time.

“I thought, ‘We’ve got a Film and Electronic Arts Department too,’ so I communicated with their grants officer, submitted a proposal and we received our first grant for $20,000 the following year; they also came through with $8,000 for equipment,” said Kauppi. She is diligent about letting the association know every year how the students used their support funds through both letters from students to the HFPA board and samples of the documentaries and narratives of students who have received the coveted HFPA scholarships. Since that first gift in 2005, the HFPA has shown its support to the film students at CSULB with more than $600,000 in scholarship and programmatic funding.

The reason for the HFPA’s on-going support for COTA is simple.

“They love what our film students do,” said Kauppi. “Our students write, produce, direct, and shoot fiction films and documentaries. The HFPA members are very interested in that. Add to that the diversity all over the CSULB campus, which is especially so in our Film and Electronic Arts Department with students from all over the world. They come specifically to CSULB for the opportunity to tell their stories via film through these documentaries and narratives and to hone their skills in the art of filmmaking.”

Kauppi predicts continued growth in the HFPA-CSULB relationship.

“The sky is hopefully the limit here,” she said. “There are plenty of naming opportunities in the College of the Arts and I would love to have the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s name be on one of our buildings. Keep in mind, ours is a film school where students often must plan on using their own equipment. It’s wonderful that they are able to do so very much with so little. Can you imagine what our students could do if they had state-of-the-art equipment?”

Kauppi believes the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s support works to reinforce the university’s commitment to student success.

“Look at the COTA faculty members who often come here from careers in all of the arts,” she said. “But whether it is the Film Department, Design Department or the Department of Theater Arts, all of our faculty are top notch. With the Film and Electronic Arts Department in particular, we bring in industry heavyweights to teach and interact with our students. With the support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, our students are on their way to getting what they need to make the documentaries and create the narratives that tell their own very unique stories. This is what tugs at the heart of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Board of Trustees and the association’s members. Then, they talk about us to others and the word spreads. It’s all good.”

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