River Planet | Spotlight

‘River Planet’ documentary overflows with accolades

Film project, by CSULA faculty members and others, garners Award of Merit

Described as a “poetic feature of six major world rivers,” River Planet is the result of an ongoing project focused on the environmental, cultural and social issues around the Ganges, Amazon, Rio Grande, Danube, Los Angeles and Mekong Rivers.

Co-produced by Cal State L.A.’s Professor Suzanne Regan and part-time instructor Karla Berry, River Planet recently received the Award of Merit at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) Conference in Boston. The juried prize is the association’s top award for documentary filmmaking.

The award-winning documentary was created by a multidisciplinary team—including Melinda Levin of University of North Texas—as part of the Global Rivers Project. The collaborative project was funded by Panasonic, Avid Technologies, UFVA and The International Congress of School of Film and Television.

“The Global Rivers Project’s ability to bring together students and faculty documentarians from film schools across the globe to give their personally enriched vision of their native rivers gives our documentary a uniquely situated relevancy and energy,” said Regan. “I am pleased and proud that the University Film and Video Association recognized and honored our efforts.”

Photo of both CSULA faculty in front of the Music Building. Pictured: (l-r) Suzanne Regan and Karla Berry

Regan is an expert in documentary history and production, film and television history, theory and criticism. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the University’s Television, Film and Media Studies program, and has served as editor of the Journal of Film and Video.

Berry, whose background is in experimental, documentary and interactive media, said, “The Global Rivers Project was a remarkable opportunity to collaborate with filmmakers around the world. With the support of Panasonic and Avid Technologies, our teams worked together to test high-definition video practices in extreme conditions: from subzero winter on the upper Mississippi River, to heat and humidity on the Ganges River in India. Our project garnered goodwill and generosity all along the way.”

River Planet also recently won a Telly Award in the film/video category and the top award for environmental film at the Breckenridge Festival of Film. It is an official selection of the 2011 Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the 2011 Estes Park (Colorado) Film Festival.

Founded in 1947, the UFVA—formerly called the University Film Producers Association—is an international organization of more than 1,000 professionals and institutions involved in the production and study of film, video, and other media arts.

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