Campus: Northridge -- October 4, 2006

Northridge Film/Television Student Wins Industry's Top Award for Music Video

Brandon Bonfiglio has more than youth in common with the pop-punk outfit Panic! at the Disco, whose wildly popular music video, "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies," he produced.

On Aug. 31 in New York City, Bonfiglio won the MTV Music Video of the Year Award--the most prestigious professional award in the field--for the "I Write Sins" production. Finishing up his last three classes in Cal State Northridge's Department of Cinema and Television Arts, he and the fresh-out-of-high-school punk band now share both youth and success.

Because of the band's "heat" on airwaves and television screens, the nomination did not surprise the 22-year-old Bonfiglio, a Thousand Oaks resident. But his win was something different. "I was floored," he admitted. "We were just excited to be there and get to go to all the after parties!"

In fact, Bonfiglio and "I Write Sins" director Shane Drake had left the awards show early, before actress/singer Jennifer Lopez even announced the winners in their category.

"We thought there was no chance for us to win," said the young producer. "We wanted to avoid the hour-long taxi wait that was sure to ensue. We figured we'd rather win from afar than lose again from up close anyway."

The two had left Radio City Music Hall and were headed down Fifth Avenue when they had a change of heart and turned back. "We had just made it into the lobby when Jennifer Lopez called our names," Bonfiglio groaned.

As it happened, the Bonfiglio/Drake video was among the most nominated at the event, competing in a total of five categories against such videos as Madonna' "Hung Up."

Thelma Vickroy, head of the television program at CSUN and Brandon's professor, was "shocked" when she heard her student had won."This is the highest award you can achieve in the field of music videos," she said. "It's like winning an Oscar or an Emmy." The win may have been a shock, but Vickroy had long been confident of Bonfiglio's potential, having witnessed his hard work both as a student and as a creative professional.

"I'm so happy for him," she said. "Brandon is not only book smart but creative and practical."

Bonfiglio's career has exploded since he first began working with Drake on music videos two years ago, said Vickroy. "I am now just trying to keep him in school to finish the three classes he has this semester so he can graduate in December."

After graduation, Bonfiglio will focus on adding to an impressive 30-plus music video credits, including another for Panic! at the Disco, entitled "But It's Better If You Do."

Fellow CTVA senior television student Erin Wieczorek, who also worked on the video, was nominated for Best Art Direction.

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