sfa la 2015

21st Annual DGA Student Film Awards in Los Angeles

November 12, 2015

On November 12, DGA members and their guests attended a ceremony for the 21st 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 universities across the country.

The 2015 West Coast awards ceremony began with a welcome message from DGA Student Film Awards Committee Chair Gil Cates, Jr. Director Carl Weathers served as the evening’s voice-over announcer, introducing the presenters and winners.

After a screening of clips from the jury prize winning short films, Cates presented the certificates of achievement to Latino Category Jury Award recipient Jazmin Diaz of University of Texas at Austin for Carne Seca, Women’s Category Jury Award recipient Westin Ray of Chapman University for The Listening Box, Asian American Category Jury Award recipient Thy Riedel of Chapman University for Long Lost, and African American Category Jury Award recipient Dehanza Rogers of UCLA for The Youth.

After a screening of her winning short film Mandala, Asian American Student Filmmaker Winner Xi Guan of USC took home the first award which was presented by Director James Wong. Director Zetna Fuentes presented the award to Latino Student Filmmaker Winner Keegan Mullin of Chapman University after a screening of his winning film The Last Words. Director Reginald D. Brown took on double duty as he presented and accepted the awards on behalf of African American Student Filmmaker Winner Meja Shoba of UCLA for her film Dear Pearl; and Women Student Filmmaker Winner Margaret Anderson of Chapman University for her film Casey and the Death Pool as both were unable to attend the ceremony.

The winners of each category received a prize of $2,500 from the DGA  and the Jury Award recipients received an award of $1,000. The winners were selected by blue ribbon panels comprised of DGA members. These awards have highlighted dozens of African American, Asian American, Latino and Women filmmakers over the years. A number of past winners have gone on to enjoy successful directing careers, including: Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Justin Bieber: Never Say Never; The LXD: The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers; Step Up 3D), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Nicole Kassell (The Following; The Killing; The Americans; Suits; The Closer; Cold Case; The Woodsman), Patricia Riggen (The 33; Lemonade Mouth; Under the Same Moon), and Sylvain White (Hawaii Five-0; Person of Interest; Covert Affairs; CSI: Miami; Stomp the Yard).

The East Coast ceremony will take place at the DGA Theater in New York on December 10.


DGA Student Film Awards rules and procedures mandate that competing films must have been made in the 2014/2015 school year (September 2014 through August 2015), 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.

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