Communication studies student wins filmmaking award


Cal State San Bernardino communication studies student Kati Russo has won a Gold Award in the Student Film Competition Category from the California Film Awards for her film, “23 Hours,” which she directed as part of a communication studies class last winter.


Kati Russo

“The California Film Awards honors new and cutting-edge American and foreign independent films in several competition categories,” the California Film Awards website said. “Partnering with notable film industry companies, film educators, directors, producers, and writers, the California Film Awards provides a forum for talented filmmakers to be recognized for their work, creativity, and achievements.”

Other CSUSB communication studies students contributing to the film were Carissa Constantine (videography), Shannon Luster (talent/writer/editor) and Paul Lopez (production assistant). Daniel Ladd (sound), a student majoring in theatre arts, also worked on the film.

Communication studies professor Rod Metts, who teaches advanced TV and video production, expressed pride in the students’ accomplishment and the communication studies program.

“This is an especially significant accomplishment, in that the work comes out of an intermediate level production course,” Metts said. “Because our students are able to gain access to the equipment and experience of video and filmmaking early on in their time here, they are able to get up to speed more quickly in our program than they would be able to at the larger, more recognized – and overcrowded – programs in the area.”

Russo and the other students who worked on “23 Hours” join a growing list of award-winning CSUSB communication studies students and alumni, a list that includes Alexandria Gales, Class of 2008, who won two Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards in 2009 for her work on the documentary “Inside Locke High.”

Communication studies department chair Michael Salvador said the latest award is one more piece of evidence that the program is moving in the right direction.

“The budget problems that impacted the entire California State University system over the past few years slowed our progress,” Salvador said. “But those challenges also helped us to refocus our priorities. We are reorganizing our undergraduate program and reducing the number of concentrations from five to three.  We have become leaner and more efficient, and as a result we can reinforce what we do best for our students.”

For information on Russo’s award and the CSUSB communication studies department, e-mail Michael Salvador at

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit