Film student wins national honor

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Film student wins national honor

Courtesy of Ben Brahem Ziryab

Courtesy of Ben Brahem Ziryab

Courtesy of Ben Brahem Ziryab

by Alex Piscatelli, Contributor

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Television, Film and New Media senior Ben Brahem Ziryab won the 2015 KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Award this semester.

He received a $1,000 academic scholarship and a $3,000 grant from KODAK for his film “Wake.”

Brahem’s film is a science-fiction romance about a man reconnecting with a lost love through his dreams. The film was shot abroad in Budapest, Hungary, where Brahem aimed to make a film that could be enjoyed by an international audience.

“It’s a really unique film because there’s no dialogue,” Brahem said. “It’s all images and sound. … We wanted to make a film that everyone could watch. Dreams are universal and independent of language. I wanted to find something everyone in the world could relate to.”

Brahem beat out competition from 54 other film schools from around the world. He said he feels like the underdog who took home top honors.

“All these big film schools out there are competing for the same award that we are (as) a fairly small film program,” Brahem said. “Yet we won this big award. I think it’s part because our school has the support of our faculty and students and we put a lot of emphasis on storytelling.”

He’s also grateful for the unique experiences he’s had through the San Diego State film program.

“I love going abroad and shooting,” Brahem said. “We do that in our program. We go abroad and shoot projects, and that’s something really great that I love about this school.”

He credited TFM department head Greg Durbin with continuous guidance and support.

Brahem said his success resulted from a few fundamental lessons of filmmaking that he encourages others to use.

“Work on as many projects as (you) can and network,” he said. “Learn storytelling. … Don’t be afraid to take risks.”

Brahem will graduate from SDSU in spring 2016. He looks forward to going onto a graduate program and continuing with his art in cinematography.

“Wake” will be screening Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Don Powell Theater as part of the Best of the Best Film Fest student showcase.

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