By Megan Spencer |Staff Writer|
Kati Russo came to CSUSB and found her passion. She has been rewarded for her dedication to film-making.
Russo was recently granted the Gold Award for her student film “23 Hours.”
The Gold Award, presented by California Film Awards, is a nationally recognized award that provides a forum for talented filmmakers to be recognized for their work, creativity and achievements.
The California Film Awards held a red carpet dinner event this year on Jan. 26 at Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego.
The event was marked by red carpets and speeches, “All of the winners got to walk the red carpet and the press asked about our film,” said Russo, “during dinner, people were giving speeches and the winners got to go up and accept their award.”
Although Russo maintains the credit for the project, she did not work alone.
To create this film, Russo worked with a group of five other students–Carissa Constantine, Paul Lopez, Shannon Luster and Daniel Ladd.
“23 Hours” won its award for being categorized as a dark comedy/ interrogation.
The premise is about a girl who gets interrogated for being a compulsive shoplifter.
When I watched it for the first time, I was surprised to see the quality that came from students. I definitely give this short film two thumbs up!
Despite the film’s genre, the competition is no laughing matter, Russo reflects on the underlying process by stating, “Our group had to submit our film and fill out paperwork listing everyone who worked on it and how they participated.”
The California Film Awards jury panel watched all the submissions and chose who won. There were hundreds and hundreds of submissions, making the competition pretty tough.
“We were all competing for the most prestigious title you can receive for a film, so it was a challenge to say the least,” said Russo.
As challenging and fierce as the competition was, this project relied heavily on the direction of Russo and her abilities to lead.
“Before I came to CSUSB I didn’t see myself as a filmmaker. It wasn’t until I started taking basic film courses my freshman year that I fell in love with it. Never would I have thought I could come this far with film making. It is crazy how something you do in a college class could allow you to win such an amazing title,” said Russo.
She expresses how it does not matter where you receive the education but how you apply what you have learned. You can receive education from anywhere, but it is how you put it in to action that makes the difference.
Russo gives her advice for students who are interested in pursuing film-making as a career.
“Even if you have the smallest interest in film-making, pursue it! It was the best decision I ever made and it has taken me so much farther then I ever imagined. Don’t be afraid to do something different and if you give it one hundred percent, your work will pay off.”
If you’re interested in watching this short film you can view it under “23 Hours” on YouTube.com.