New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
On Saturday October 6 2018, the Shawna Shea Film Festival announced its winners. The top award in the Documentary category went to California State
University Northridge (CSUN) professor and award-winning filmmaker Dr. Luciana Lagana, who earned the Best Director
award for her social impact feature documentary OFF THE STREETS FOR GOOD. This film -- written, directed, and produced by her -- was chosen as the movie to screen for free as a public service at the festival.
"It was very exciting to find out that OFF THE STREETS FOR GOOD was screened as a public service and resonated with the judges of this film festival," said Dr. Lagana. "Homelessness is a serious and growing problem and is considered an epidemic in many U.S. cities. Both Los Angeles, where the movie was made, and the greater Boston
area, where the film festival took place, are highly impacted by this challenging situation."
Lagana has been working hard on her social impact films and has been self-financing their production. Regarding this film in particular, she is thankful for having received two small nonprofit-focused grants to offset some of the filmmaking costs. OFF THE STREETS FOR GOOD is being used in experimental research at CSUN by Prof. Lagana and includes interviews with the directors of some Los Angeles-based nonprofits that help the homeless. Thus, this film was eligible to be sponsored by Isabelle Walker Endowment for Nonprofit Organization Studies and by Valley Nonprofit Resources (VNR) at CSUN. As further specified on the VNR website, VNR was created in 1961 and was originally operated until 2014 by the nonprofit Human Interaction Research Institute
(HIRI) under the leadership of President Dr. Thomas
Randomized controlled trials are in progress in Dr. Lagana's "CSUN Behavioral Medicine Laboratory" to test the potential anti-bias impact of viewing this feature documentary as well as her other anti-bias films.
Dr. Luciana Lagana is a caring clinical and experimental psychologist. She is also an established professor of psychology, gerontology, sexuality, and women's health at CSUN, where she teaches classes and mentors many undergraduate and graduate students from several departments. Additionally, she conducts government-funded research on ethnically diverse, mainly low-income older women's physical, psychological, social, and sexual health. Concerning her artistic pursuits, since 2006 she has been studying acting and hosting in Los Angeles (in her teens, she was part of a touring theatrical company in Italy). Moreover, after studying film production under the mentorship of Prof. Nate Thomas, Director
of the Film Production Option in the CSUN Department of Cinema and Television Arts, she has been producing several social impact films and series. She is an actor/screenwriter/director/producer with over 30 film festivals' wins listed on IMDb and more than 50 IMDb film, TV, and web series' credits. For instance, she created, hosted, and directed the award-winning educational project Dr. Luciana Show - Aging and Falling. At CSUN, Prof. Lagana won the 2017 Exceptional Creative Accomplishments Faculty Award for her anti-bias feature films and shows, as well as the 2011 Preeminent Scholarly Publications Faculty Award and the 2008 Visionary Community Service Learning Faculty Award.