May 13, 2013
Student Director Vanita Shastry of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is the recipient of this year’s John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship. The Fellowship is named in honor of the late DGA Vice President and noted director of feature films such as The Manchurian Candidate, movies for television including Path to War, and early live television productions like Playhouse 90, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
The Fellowship — established in 2003 by John’s widow Evans Frankenheimer — alternates annually between UCLA and the University of Southern California (USC), 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 $5000 from a fund established by the Frankenheimer family in 2002 following John’s death, and administered by the Directors Guild Foundation.
“In the decade since the John Frankenheimer Memorial Fellowship was established, this award has helped establish the foundations of the careers of several talented young filmmakers,” said Directors Guild Foundation Chair Donald Petrie. “I think it is only fitting that John’s name is linked with these schools of higher learning to carry his dedication to film and television forward into the next generation. We believe that this year’s recipient, Vanita Shastry, is representative of the best of that tradition.”
Born in Bihar, India, Shastry grew up in eastern Pennsylvania. She received a BS in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University and a MBA in Entertainment & Media from NYU before pursuing her dreams of becoming a filmmaker and enrolling in classes at NYU. At NYU she directed two short films: The Gift and Gone, and received the Technisphere Award for excellence in 2008. Since being accepted into the MFA program at UCLA in 2010, Shastry has directed three shorts: Armor, Green Eyed Girl, and Trespasses.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be the recipient of this year’s prestigious DGA fellowship commemorating the life and career of John Frankenheimer,” said Shastry. “As a filmmaker drawn to the suspense genre, I’m especially inspired by Frankenheimer’s incredible legacy in action/suspense films. With the generous support of this fellowship, I hope to one day achieve that level of craftsmanship and nuance in my own work.”
Previous Frankenheimer Fellowship recipients include student directors Jerry Chan (2004), Michael Flores (2006), Valen Hernandez (2008), and David Chen (2010), and Monely Soltani (2012) of USC; and Mitchell Gettleman (2003), Zachary Godshall (2005), Walter Richardson (2007), Mira Lew (2009), and Carlos Marques-Marcet (2011) of UCLA. Most of these recipients have gone on to build careers in the entertainment industry. Mitchell Gettleman, the first recipient of the Frankenheimer Fellowship, is currently the sound supervisor on the Showtime series Californication; Zachary Godshall’s first feature, Low and Behold, premiered at Sundance in 2007; Mira Lew is a field producer for the series Intervention; and Carlos Marques-Marcet directs and produces short films and documentaries.
In addition to being an extraordinary director for over 50 years, John Frankenheimer was one of the most active and important members of the DGA. His Guild service included three terms as Vice President, membership on the DGA National Board and Western Directors Council, and Co-Chairing the Creative Rights Committee.
Frankenheimer received DGA Award nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television for Path to War (2002), George Wallace (1997), Andersonville (1996), Against the Wall (1994); and nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Grand Prix (1966), The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). His other works include the feature films Ronin (1998), Black Sunday (1977), Seven Days in May (1964); the movies for television The Burning Season (1994), The Rainmaker (1982), and The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1960); and live television productions such as Studio One in Hollywood “The Last Summer” (1960), Danger “No Passport for Death” (1955), and You Are There “The Plot Against King Solomon [965 B.C.]” (1954).
Donations to the John Frankenheimer Fellowship Fund should be sent to:
The John Frankenheimer Fellowship Fund
c/o The Directors Guild Foundation
7920 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Or call 310-289-2038 for more information.