May 11, 2012
Student Director Monely Soltani of the University of Southern California (USC), is the recipient of this year's John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship.
Named for the late DGA Vice President, the fellowship was established in 2003 by the Guild and John's wife, Evans Frankenheimer, and is awarded to a graduate student majoring in film directing chosen by the directing faculty on the basis of artistic merit. The student receives $5,000.
"I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Directors Guild of America and especially supported by the John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship," said Soltani. "As a filmmaker, I strongly recognize the beauty in supporting each other to grow and I hope to give back by telling stories that need to be heard."
Soltani was born in post revolution Iran and grew up amidst the first Gulf War. Her family moved to California where she received an undergraduate degree in Global Studies and Conflict Resolution and is currently pursuing an MFA in Film and Television Production. A strong advocate of empowering women and youth, Monely’s short film Of Truth A Canvas won the awareness prize for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues from USC’s Lambda Association. She has made several other short films with a social justice message and served as a film mentor to youth from South Central and East Los Angeles.
The John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship alternates annually between the Schools of Theater, Film & Television of both USC and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Previous USC recipients are Jerry Chan (2004), Michael Flores (2006), Valen Hernandez (2008), and David Chen (2010). Previous UCLA recipients are Mitchell Gettleman (2003), Zachary Godshall (2005), Walter Richardson (2007), Mira Lew (2009), and Carlos Marques-Marcet (2011).