DGA members and their guests attended a ceremony for the 18th Annual DGA Student Film Awards at the DGA Theater complex in Los Angeles on November 8. The Awards are designed to honor, encourage and bring attention to outstanding African American, Asian American, Latino and Women Filmmakers in film schools and select universities across the country.
The ceremony began with a welcome message and introductions by DGA Past President Gene Reynolds and Aaron Saffa of Awards sponsor Eastman Kodak before director Carl Weathers announced the presenters. Director Arlene Sanford presented the awards to Women Student Filmmaker Award Winner Caylee So of Chapman University for Paulina and to Jury Award Recipient Melanie Wainberg of The American Film Institute (AFI) for Dr. Gutman’s Eulogy. Director Jeff Byrd presented the awards to African American Student Filmmaker Award Winner Dallas King of The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for Most Wanted . Robert Rosen, former dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, accepted the Jury Award on behalf of recipient Anthony Onah for Dara Ju. Director Lou Diamond Phillips presented the awards to Asian American Student Filmmaker Award Winner Justin Tipping of AFI for Nani and to Jury Award Recipient Lu Lu of AFI for An Early Summer. Director Jesús Treviño presented the awards to Latino Student Filmmaker Award Winner Ryan Velásquez of AFI for Ojalá and to Jury Award Recipient Julio O. Ramos of UCLA for Detrás del Espejo.
The winners of each category received a prize of $2,500 from the DGA along with a product grant valued at $1,000 provided by Kodak’s Worldwide Student Film Program. The winners were selected by blue ribbon panels comprised of DGA members and each of the winning films was screened during the awards ceremony.
The awards rules and procedures mandate that competing films must have been made in the 2011/2012 school year (September 2011 through August 2012), and must have been produced as a student project under the supervision of a faculty member. Dramas, comedies and documentaries are all eligible – animated and experimental films are not. Applicants must be enrolled in, or be a recent (one-year) graduate from, an accredited post-secondary institution in California or DGA-selected university offering a degree in film or television. Eligible films are those in which a student held every major crew position. Productions in which a non-student, professional or a faculty member served as cinematographer, camera operator, sound recordist, editor, lighting designer or screenwriter may be disqualified.