On November 7, DGA members and their guests attended a ceremony for the 19th Annual DGA Student Film Awards. Held at the Guild’s Theater complex in Los Angeles, these 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.
Following screenings of the winning short films, the awards ceremony began with a welcome message from DGA Student Film Awards Committee Chair Gil Cates Jr. Then director Carl Weathers, who served as the evening’s voice-over announcer, introduced the presenters and winners.
Director Greg Plotkin presented the certificates of achievement to Women’s Jury Award recipient Melissa Hickey of AFI for Ni-Ni, African American Jury Award recipient Steven Caple Jr. of USC for A Different Tree, Asian American Jury Award recipient Puja Maewal of UCLA for JAYA, and Latino Jury Award recipient Melanie D’Andrea of USC for Stand.
Director Janice Cooke presented the award to Women Student Filmmaker Winner Tara Atashgah of The Brooks Institute for For the Birds. Director Tim Story presented the award to African American Student Filmmaker Winner Dehanza Rogers of UCLA for Sweet, Sweet Country. Director Karen Gaviola presented the award to Asian American Student Filmmaker Winner Margot Ye of UCLA for Out of the Blue. Actor Carlos Bernard presented the award to Latino Student Filmmaker Winner Aaron Martinez of AFI for Dirty Laundry.
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 2012/2013 school year (September 2012 through August 2013), 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.