words that make a difference: "Focus Features: A New Safe Haven for Queer and Gay Cinema"

Kim Behzadi, recipient of the 2012 Dean's Writing Award in Cinema and Screen Studies

Producer Andrew Miano, Kimberly Behzadi, Director Paul Weitz, Assistant to Director Dan Balboa

I graduated in 2012 from Oswego with a BA in Cinema & Screen Studies and English, and afterwards wrapped on my first film as a set production assistant. The film is called Admission, and I had the great pleasure of working under the producer, Andrew Miano, who is an alumnus of SUNY Oswego.  (Pictured above:  Admission producer Miano, Kim, film director Paul Weitz [American Pie, About a Boy] and assistant director Dan Balboa.  Pictured on the previous page:  Kim and fellow production assistant Daniel LaPook.)

Prior to my senior year at Oswego, I was an intern for Focus Features in New York City. I spent a summer absorbing as much as I could about a mini-major production company dedicated to quality storytelling, with the ability to bring people together with those stories. As a requirement of my internship, I was instructed to write an essay, and thus, "Focus Features: A New Safe Haven for Queer and Gay Cinema" was created. I came to appreciate their dedication to accurate storytelling, and stumbled upon the trend of queer and gay cinema depicted through their various films. I felt touched, and appreciated even more how carefully the company works, not to push a political agenda, but to remind audiences of the human inside each of us.  (The essay will appear in Film Matters magazine.)
What I hope for my writing is that someone learns more about this particular film company, and the world of film in general. I hope that my paper sheds light on Focus's ability to remain current with the changing depictions and evaluations of the LGBT community and still create a strong emotional connection with its audience.On the set with Admission star Tina Fey

I attribute my growth as a writer to the amazing faculty and friends I have met in my four years at SUNY Oswego. As an English major and a Cinema & Screen Studies major, I had access to a wide range of faculty who helped me develop my writing.  Often, the culminating papers in our critical theory courses were written on topics chosen by the students.  By being given free range, I was able to write about what interested and influenced me, like the trends in lower-budget, independent-based film. The paper is a testament to my love of film in all mediums.  (Pictured right:  Kim with Admission star Tina Fey.)