Fine Cut

Welcome to Fine Cut 2013 -- An Open Letter from Bohdan Zachary

When I was a kid, Christmas was about finding great surprises under the tree. The sense of discovery treasures continues albeit in a slightly different form: I derive great pride and joy producing Fine Cut, KCET's long-standing annual series showcasing the best student short films from Southern California.

In early September, submissions from local film students start showing up on my desk in the form of old-fashioned DVDs and as online links. Over the next six weeks I get to open up presents from students at the American Film Institute, CalArts; ChapmanUniversity Dodge College of Film and Media; Columbia College Hollywood; Idyllwild Arts Academy; Loyola Marymount University; UCLA School Of Theatre, Film And Television; AND USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Over the next five weeks on KCET and at, you'll get to experience outstanding new student short films. They're a mix of narrative, documentary, and animation. They'll provoke you; make you laugh, and I guarantee a few will bring tears to your eyes. And each of the women and men who create the films deserve our attention and appreciation.

On Tuesday night, January 15, KCET held its annual Fine Cut preview event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. KCET members, the school advisors from our participating schools, and the filmmakers packed the Academy of Television Arts & Science to watch this year's films on the big screen. A reception was held afterwards in the theater lobby and the filmmakers gathered for a photo with longtime Fine Cut funder Jack Larson of the Bridges/Larson Foundation. The famous actor and producer congratulated the filmmakers.

I promise you, the filmmakers' inventiveness will surprise you.

How did Ian Samuels create such a haunting lifelike creature for "Caterwaul"? What prompted Jules Nurrish to make a tough-hitting film about boxing in East Los Angeles, while tackling the issue of sexuality in her film "Kiss Me"? And how did Gursimran Sandhu come up with the haunting story for her family drama "Homecoming"?

I invite you to watch Fine Cut tonight on KCET. And let me know what you think.