WC Student Film Awards 2016

22nd Annual DGA Student Film Awards in Los Angeles

November 10, 2016

On November 10, DGA members and their guests attended a ceremony for the 22nd 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.

The 2016 West Coast awards ceremony began with a welcome from DGA Executive in Charge of Diversity Programs and Committees Frank Bennett Gonzalez who introduced Student Film Awards Committee Chair Gil Cates, Jr.

Cates served as the emcee for the evening with 2nd AD Redelia Shaw serving 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 Santiago Paladines of AFI for The Fare, Women’s Category Jury Award recipient Mia Niebruegge of AFI for Snowplow, African American Category Jury Award recipient Rachel Bass of Chapman University for Black Magic, and Asian American Category Jury Award recipient Yizhou Xu of Art Center College of Design for Shop of Eternal Life.

Latino Student Filmmaker Winner Juan Martinez Vera of USC took home the award for his film SPARK, which was presented by Director Douglas Spain. Director Mary Lou Belli presented the award to Women Student Filmmaker Winner Kelly Pike of UCLA for her film Owen. Director Ted Lange presented the award to African American Student Filmmaker Winner Jackson Young of AFI for his film Trouble Man. Asian American Student Filmmaker Winner Auden Bui of USC took home that category’s award for her film The Lost City of Tomorrow, which was presented by Director Cellin Gluck. Each of the winning films were screened before the presentations.

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)
  • Sylvain White (Hawaii Five-0; Person of Interest; Covert Affairs; CSI: Miami; Stomp the Yard).

The East Coast ceremony took place at the DGA Theater in New York on December 15, 2016. Click here for photos from that event.


DGA Student Film Awards rules and procedures mandate that competing films must have been made in the 2015/2016 school year (September 2015 through August 2016), 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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