Dreams of Hollywood Within Reach for CSN Students

Class with filmmakers at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (photo credit: John Aliano)

By Taylor Cayro

Hollywood cinematographers and directors hosted College of Southern Nevada’s film students this summer during a five-day trip.

During the summer semester every other year, media-technologies Instructor John Aliano takes his Cinematography II students to Los Angeles to meet with several filmmakers.

This year’s lineup included Peter Moss, cinematographer on the movie “Tell the World,” and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the directors of the critically-acclaimed “Little Miss Sunshine” and the new movie “Battle of the Sexes.”

Several others from the American Society of Cinematographers including Karl Lindenlaub, Dean Cundey, George Mooradian and Chuck Minsky took part in a panel discussion with students.

The discussion was held at ASC Clubhouse with moderator George Spiro Dibie, cinematographer, where students got to ask questions about some of the biggest challenges in shooting films. Many answers centered on themes of being innovative to overcome issues and using movie magic to make scenes believable.

“There was so much to see and experience,” Aliano said. “From the film archives to meeting very successful filmmakers to watching an experimental film to holding an Academy Award, these were some of the nicest and smartest people in the industry and they cared deeply for filmmaking as both art and craft.”

Cristina Di Gioia, CSN student, said her favorite part of the trip was visiting Mole-Richardson Co., a motion-picture lighting-manufacturer, for a studio workshop to set up shots with Moss. “Mole-Richardson … felt like we were on a real set with a cinematographer. The ability to watch his process, see him solve lighting problems that arose and ask him questions along the way was incredible.”

Fang Chia Hsu, CSN students, said, “My favorite part was working with Peter, the cinematographer, in the studio. It was a very special experience to work with a Hollywood DP and being able to show him our abilities on set.”

Students also visited The Tiffen Co., leading manufacturer and supplier of filters and lens accessories, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who runs the Oscars, Canon Inc., which develops cameras, and FotoKem, a film-development company. Students also had a chance to view an exhibit on “American Horror Story” at The Paley Center for Media.

“The most important thing I gained from the trip was a familiarity with LA—emotional to geographical,” Di Gioia said. “Before the trip I had only imagined what a studio, the Academy, etc. would look like. After being there, being in those spaces professionally, it felt real and attainable. I now feel like [my goals] are within my reach.”

To learn more about CSN and Aliano’s award-winning video-production program, visit https://www.csn.edu/programs/videography-film.

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