Student cameraman holding a camera and filming in a grocery store.
A student cameraman on the set of “Your Weapons,” one of five films selected for CSUN’s 33rd Annual Senior Film Showcase at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Photo courtesy of the filmmaker Joanna Zhang.

Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler,, (818) 677-2130

Whether it’s star-crossed lovers dealing with the fallout of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a young couple fleeing the antisemitism that accompanies the rise of the Soviet Union or a star athlete faced with choosing between his sister or the biggest game of his career, these are stories that tug at your heart, force you to confront uncomfortable situations and think about the power of love. 

Four young men standing on an outdoor basketball court. One is holding a basketball
A scene from • “Your Weapons,” directed by Joanna Zhang.

The public is invited to explore these cinematic stories and preview the talents of the next generation of filmmakers on Tuesday, April 30, at California State University, Northridge’s 33rd Annual Senior Film Showcase at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The showcase, which concludes years of study for the university’s senior-level film students, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

Cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas, who heads CSUN’s film production option, said the films in the showcase represent the best of the program.

An woman holding a knife to another woman's throat while a police office looks on.
A scene from “Union Avenue,” directed by Gino Cazzali.

“Our students tell stories that are personal and reflective of the realities of their lives and, to be honest, the realities of the people who go to the movies, the people who live in this country,” Thomas said. “As their films demonstrate, they have the skills to tell those stories effectively. As members of the entertainment industry, they will add new voices and perspectives to those who already entertain and sometimes provoke us with their filmmaking.”

The showcase’s host will be two-time Academy Award winner Nick Vallelonga. Vallelonga won an Oscar in 2019 as producer of that year’s “Best Picture” awardee “Green Book,” the critically acclaimed film starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. He also took home an Oscar that year for “Best Original Screenplay’ for the movie, which was based on his father’s life story. The film also earned Vallelonga an Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.”

The following student films will make their premiere at the showcase:

A man making a funny face while looking over the shoulder of a woman.
A scene from “Ikigai,” directed by Maren Emiko Elardo.
  • “Ikigai,” directed by Maren Emiko Elardo, is the story of a Japanese American girl who, in the 1970s, is trying to survive her first week of third grade in a primarily white school when her mom plans a surprise visit to her class.
  • “Your Weapons,” directed by Joanna Zhang, takes place a year after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when long-standing racial tensions between the city’s Korean and African American communities are still running high. It is only a matter of time before worlds collide for two star-crossed lovers.
A man holding a girl in the air and laughing.
A scene from “5 Star,” directed by Jerald Flowers.
  • “5 Star,” directed by Jerald Flowers, takes place during a crucial week of five-star recruit Hakeem Hamilton’s high school basketball career. His sister’s championship game coincides with his final game as a high school senior, the biggest game of his career so far. Conflicted about how to support his sister, whom his parents refuse to support, Hakeem finds himself in a challenging position.
  • “Union Avenue,” directed by Gino Cazzali, follows Anne Davis, a young social worker, who runs into trouble conducting a wellness check on a couple with a history of drug abuse. When Anne turns to the police for help, dispatch sends Keith Adams.
A woman and a man in period clothes as seen through a train window.
A scene from “Nerot Shel Shabbat,” directed by Lital Mizrahi.
  • “Nerot Shel Shabbat,” directed by Lital Mizrahi, is the story of a young Jewish couple, expecting their first child, who flee the Soviet Union to escape persecution and ongoing antisemitism as the Iron Curtain begins to rise.

For more information about the showcase, call CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts at (818) 677-3192.

CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts, housed in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, has an international reputation for producing dedicated and talented entertainment industry professionals who recognize the value of hard work as they learn and continue to perfect their craft. Its alumni work in all aspects of entertainment media, from writing, producing and directing to manning cameras and having the final say in what project is made. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have regularly ranked CSUN among the top universities in the country for cinema and television arts education.


Media Contact: - (818) 677-2130

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