Jan. 22, 2021
Students in Biola’s Cinema and Media Arts (CMA) program know that one of the elements of a successful film is telling an authentic story that connects with the audience. One of their recent projects, Jitensha (The Bicycle), was able to do that as the film won best mixed video and overall Best of Competition for a short film and emotionally resonated with professionals at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Conference and its Festival of Media Arts. Dean Yamada, director of the film and CMA professor, also won the BEA Best of Festival Faculty Chair’s Award.
“As a professor here at Biola, I feel extremely privileged to be able to collaborate with my students on a film produced overseas,” said Yamada. “But it's truly amazing to actually be recognized for our work by other university professors who specialize in media.”
Yamada was proud of the work produced by the students and even more ecstatic to win the grand award.
“My wife and I were shocked when they announced that the last award of the evening would be the inaugural Chair's Award and that it would go to Jitensha,” said Yamada.
With the collaboration of 14 CMA film students and 5 film industry professionals, the crew was successful in producing an award winning film. As an award recipient, Yamada on behalf of the crew, was honored with the presentation of a tribute video and a $1,000 award from the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation.
Jitensha is a short film surrounding the story of Mamoru Amagaya, a character struggling to find meaning in life. Alone and without work, Mamoru continues to deal with difficulties as parts of his bicycle slowly disappear until the only remaining piece is left with a clue to where the bike can be retrieved.
As Mamoru reassembles the bicycle parts, he goes through a process of healing and mends the broken pieces of his life.
“We hope that people are moved after viewing the film, that they are inspired and challenged,” said Yamada.
The film has won various film festival awards and was screened internationally at the Venice Film Festival in Italy, the Starz Denver Film Festival and Heartland Film Festival, where it received the Vision and Crystal Heart Award. This year’s award adds to the list of many accomplishments Yamada and the Biola crew have reached.
Other student films have also been screened and awarded at festivals, such as the Old Man and the Ceiling and Suburban Tea. Through the actions of the students and faculty, Yamada sees the CMA program heading in a positive direction in the film industry.
“With each new year, the students are more technologically savvy and more passionate about storytelling,” said Yamada. “The freshmen this year have such good hearts and are so teachable. We are hoping to make an impact with our films as well as how we carry ourselves-- both globally and in Hollywood.”
At the Las Vegas Convention Center in April, more than 1,000 media educators gathered in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters to discuss balancing form and content in the media world. The CMA program showcased their talent through faculty members who did presentations at the conference. Yamada, along with Biola professors Mike Gonzales and Gerald Fisher, presented on topics such as finding the right path to take in Hollywood and understanding the infrastructure behind the social media network.
The BEA Festival of Media Arts provides a venue for exhibiting the work of students and educators in media. The festival gives participants the opportunity to “enhance and extend creative activities, teaching and professional standards in broadcasting and other forms of electronically mediated communication,” according to the festival’s mission statement. As an organization for 50 years, the BEA stands near to their mission of helping college professors interact with professionals to gain further knowledge to equip students with the practical skills essential for employment in the film industry.
Written by Jennifer Thach, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna dot l dot bartlo at biola dot edu
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu