The California State University

Entertainment Industry Initiative

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CSULA alumna wins Emmy statuette for outstanding casting!

Los Angeles, CA –- California State University, Los Angeles’ award-winning alumna, Carmen Cuba, won an Emmy in the category of casting for a miniseries, movie or a special for the HBO film, “Behind the Candelabra.”

Cuba garnered her Emmy during the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony last weekend at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.

The ceremony honors the people behind the shows in addition to talent like guest stars ahead of the televised 65th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony this Sunday, Sept. 22, on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

“Winning the Emmy for ‘Behind the Candelabra’ is just icing on what was a fantastic cake to begin with,” said Cuba, who received her bachelor’s degree in television, film and media studies (TVFM) at CSULA. “Part of why I think it was so well-received is that everyone involved loved the project so much and had so much fun putting it together that the viewers could feel it.  It didn’t hurt that we were able to get such amazing actors to play everything from the biggest to the smallest of roles.”

“Behind the Candelabra,” starring Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Rob Lowe, and Debbie Reynolds, is a 2013 American drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh about the last 10 years in the life of pianist Liberace and the secret affair he had with the younger Scott Thorson. The film is based on Thorson’s memoir,Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace (1988).

Cuba established herself as an independent casting director through her work with controversial filmmaker Larry Clark on the films, Bully and Ken Park. She launched her career working with the legendary casting director Margery Simkin on such films as Fear and Loathing in Las VegasBowfinger, and Erin Brockovich.  She also has been collaborating with Academy Award-winning Steven Soderbergh for over nine years on films, such as Magic MikeHaywireContagion, and The Informant!

Outside of her work with Soderbergh, Cuba cast Now You See MeButter, and The Butterfly Effect as well as Dark Places and Hidden, both to be released next year. She also cast the television projects, Full Circle and Killing Kennedy.

Currently, she is casting Open, a one-hour HBO drama series pilot, executive produced and directed by Ryan Murphy; The Knick, a Cinemax/HBO series executive produced and directed by Soderbergh; and an upcoming HBO comedy series, entitled Looking, executive produced and directed by Andrew Haigh.

Cuba attributes CSULA Professor Robert Vianello’s “Business Practices in the Entertainment Industry” class for playing an important role in her storied career.

“Prior to transferring to CSULA, I had focused only journalism and had been working actively as a news reporter for a Univision Station in New Mexico,” said Cuba. “At CSULA, even though my degree was in journalism and Spanish, I wound up somehow taking Professor Vianello’s class. He made it so interesting that I made the connection that maybe I would be able to use my journalism background in the entertainment industry. It was only one of a series of happy accidents that led me to this—my absolute dream job.”

The TVFM department at CSULA offers students an excellent education in media studies. It comprises an undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree in television, film and media studies, with options in telecommunications and film and broadcast journalism. Both M.A. and M.F.A. degree programs are also available.