Cyrus Kowsari, Chapman Alum, May Have Oscar-Worthy Film in The Color of Christmas

Categories: Film, School Daze

Note: The following is by a freelance writer you've read in our Music section.

By Rishabh Bhavnani

Cyrus Kowsari, a Chapman University alum, has been living the aspiring filmmaker dream. The Color of Christmas, which he wrote, directed and edited, began as a short student film project during his junior year in 2012, went on to win three top prizes on the festival circuit and is now generating Oscar buzz as an early underdog candidate.

The Color of Christmas is the story of Walter (Nathan Lucas), a young, humble and caring widower who is determined to surprise his 5-year-old daughter with the present of her dreams on Christmas. In the urgency to fulfill his request, Walter almost overlooks a very concerning matter: His daughter is a racist.

Friday, Kowsari made his Hollywood debut at the 17th LA Shorts Fest at the Laemmle North Hollywood 7 Theaters, where The Color of Christmas faced stiff competition from short films featuring A-list actors such as Sir Ian Mckellen, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett and Gérard Depardieu. But a win there would solidify Kowsari's chances at a nomination at next year's Academy Awards. Over the past 16 years, 13 Oscar winners and 44 nominees have screened at the LA festival.

Funny, captivating and unconventional, The Color of Christmas first won the top audience prize for best short film at the Palm Beach Film Festival. Next, the Boston native received the Golden Remi Award at the 46th annual WorldFest in Houston, where Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Ang Lee won the same award as young filmmakers. Kowsari next traveled to Las Vegas for the inaugural Vegas Indie Film Fest, where he collected a trophy in the form of a silver bulb pulled from the original "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.

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