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On Friday, California State University, Northridge’s south wing of the Cinema and Television Arts Department in Manzanita Hall was renamed in honor of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s continued commitment to the university.
Jenna Elfman, a CSUN alum, hosted the ceremony and moderated the panel of HFPA former presidents and journalists including Jorge Camara, Noel de Souza, Mahfouz Doss, Philip Berk and Aida Takla-O’Reilly.
A Northridge-area native, Elfman was a declared Theater major before “Hollywood swept her up,” as Nate Thomas, CTVA Film Option Head, noted during the ceremony.
The actress praised the HFPA for “their questions [that] always come from a place of real human interest. They ask real questions my aunt or uncle would ask me.” She also added that “they know how to throw a good party,” as Camara and Doss jested about how people generally like the Golden Globes ceremony better than “that other awards show.”
As The Hollywood Reporter had exclusively reported, the HFPA donated $2 million to CSUN. The result of their philanthropic efforts particularly benefited the HFPA Scholars Program, which provides financial support to underrepresented students and gives them unique opportunities like interning with the Golden Globes.
In a video screened for attendees, Thomas noted: “Studying filmmaking isn’t only for the privileged. It’s for people that have stories to tell. And many times, they’re very diverse stories.”
Each year, students in the film option pitch movie ideas and four are selected as Fellows. The four selected from last spring had the opportunity before the ceremony for a private meeting with panelists.
Of the HFPA’s involvement with CSUN, Fellow Niko Ren noted how the organization made his childhood dreams come true, as “[his] film is about a Chinese guy flying all the way [to America] to play basketball. This is actually my story. The HFPA gave me the opportunity to make films here.”
Once the ceremony began, CSUN president Dianne F. Harrison thanked the HFPA for their extended support as an organization that actually “walks the walk.”
After the panel was underway, Elfman probed the panelists about their beginnings in Hollywood. Camara joked about an encounter with Bette Davis’ publicist, who warned him that “she eats little boys like you for breakfast.” But luckily: “The publicist got me an interview with her … and she didn’t eat me.”
Recalled de Souza: “I remember one year Marilyn Monroe was being honored. She was walking three feet away from me and was being helped by Rock Hudson. I think she was either nervous or slightly inebriated.”
Camara also recognized how much easier it is to send in an article in 2017: “I used to mail in my stories that I’d written on my typewriter, and sometimes the deadlines wouldn’t work out. So, my editor thought that I should go to the airport, look for the people who were flying to Mexico City, and to please ask to take the story with them. Most of them agreed, and then when they got into Mexico City, there was somebody waiting to pick it up.”
The CSUN wing dedication ceremony is part of the HFPA’s celebration of 75 years of the Golden Globes. Upcoming festivities will include a Sept. 21 screening of A Face in the Crowd introduced by Steven Spielberg, screening of The Red Shoes on Sept. 22 with Christopher Nolan, a panel discussion with television showrunners through the decades including Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and David E. Kelley at the Paley Center and a planned two-hour NBC special honoring the past 75 years.
The Golden Globes are set to air Jan. 7, 2018.
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