Student Film Awards 2022

28th Annual DGA Student Film Awards

December 15, 2022

The presentation ceremonies for the 28th Annual DGA Student Film Awards were held in the Guild’s New York Theater on December 14, and the DGA Los Angeles Theater on December 15. The awards were created 28 years ago by the DGA’s National Board to address the severe underrepresentation of directors of color and women in feature filmmaking by honoring, encouraging and bringing attention to exceptional diverse directors in film schools and universities across the country. This year, the DGA introduced a brand-new Documentary Award to further enable exceptional filmmakers new opportunities.

To date, the program has grown to encompass over 200 schools nationwide, including historically black colleges and universities, and is a hallmark of the DGA’s efforts to recognize the talents of emerging women and people of color, supporting their entrance into the film industry and eventually into the Guild.


New York Ceremony:

28th Annual DGA Student Film Awards in New YorkThe New York event on December 14 began with a greeting from DGA Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and Focus on Women Committee Co-Chair Joyce Thomas, who welcomed the attending DGA members, winning students and their guests to the first live Student Film Awards ceremony since the advent of the Covid Pandemic.

“We are happy to be back in our theater to celebrate in person with you all!” said Thomas. “Our first presenter tonight is a former Student Film Award recipient, winning the award in 2009 for his short film Premature. Since then, as a DGA member, he has gone on to turn Premature into a feature length film and directed on a number of television series including The Chi, Luke Cage, and Being Mary Jane. Please welcome Director Rashaad Ernesto Green!”

After acknowledging the fact that the Student Film Awards have recognized over 300 emerging filmmakers, including other past recipients such as DGA members Channing Godfrey Peoples, Jon M. Chu, Nicole Kassell, Ryan Coogler, and Patricia Riggen, Green explained how the competition includes five categories: African American, Asian American, Latino, Women, and a new category this year to recognize Documentary directors, and how DGA member panels review the submissions and select the winning films and the Jury Awards recipients.

After a screening of clips from the jury award-winning short films, Green congratulated the East Region recipients: Clarke Phillips of University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the African American category for Suga Brown; Maryam Mir of New York University in the Asian American category for Sweet Refuge; Kainoa Presbitero of City College of New York in the Documentary Category for A Hui Hou (Until We Meet Again); Vyky Saiz of Florida State University in the Latino category for Our Terminal; and Lensa Jeudy  of Florida State University in the Women’s category for Dream City.

Following a screening of each of the winning short films, Eastern Diversity Steering Committee Co-Chair April Smith presented the award to the East Region winner in the African American category, Ralph Parker III of University of North Carolina School of the Arts for Sammy, Without Strings. Focus on Women Committee Representative Lyn Pinezich presented the award to the East Region winner in the Asian American category, Minkyu Kang of Columbia University for Children of Light. Director Marilyn Agrelo presented the award to the East Region winner in the Documentary category, Tayton T. Troidl of Rochester Institute of Technology for A Life in Boxes. Eastern AD/UPM Council Chair and Eastern Diversity Steering Committee Co-Chair Canella Williams-Larrabee presented the award to the East Region winner in the Latino category, Anthony Fins of Florida State University for Mi Hija. And Focus on Women Committee Co-Chair Maggie Greenwald presented the award to the East Region winner in the Women’s category, Gonnie Zur of School of Visual Arts for Lemons.

The New York ceremony was concluded by DGA Assistant Executive Director Mary Hatch, who thanked the judges and presenters for taking time out of their very busy schedules to be a part of this year’s awards selection and presentation, then invited everyone to celebrate during the reception.


Los Angeles Ceremony:

25th Annual DGA Student Film Awards in Los Angeles The Los Angeles event on December 15 began with a welcome from DGA Student Film Awards Committee Chair Gil Cates, Jr., who said. “The Directors Guild of America has a long history of supporting the preservation of the directorial craft and supporting efforts to increase representation in our industry through our work as a labor union. We have seen the impact of storytelling on our society when underrepresented voices are given space to tell stories; today we celebrate your unique vantage points and how they enhance our view and understanding of the world around us.”

Before welcoming Master of Ceremonies Carl Weathers to the stage, Cates acknowledged the work of dedicated Student Film Awards Committee members: Abdul Malik Abbott, Henry Chan, A.P. Gonzalez, and Betty Petitt, adding, “We are grateful for your invaluable leadership and commitment to DGA Student Film Awards.”

Addressing the West Region Jury Award receivers, Weathers said, “I’d like to take a minute and congratulate this year’s recipients, and their supportive family and friends who are with us tonight. It has not been an easy journey these past couple years, but your work proves your resilience and dedication to your craft.” Following a screening of clips from their films, he handed out the certificates to West Region recipients: Andy Yi Li of USC in the Asian American category for After Sunset, Dawn Arrives; Guillermo Casarín De la Cabada of USC in the Documentary Category for Bad Hombrewood; César Velasco of Chapman University in the Latino category for Song of the Land; Diya Correa of USC in the Women’s category for The First Day of Being Black; and presented in memory of Student Film Awards Committee Member Reginald D. Brown, Danny Rogers of USC in the African American category for The Fairchild.

Following screenings of each of the winning short films, Director Neema Barnette presented the award to the West Region winner in the African American category, Christian Kamaal of USC for Blackifier. Director Michael Goi presented the award to the West Region winner in the Asian American category, Sachin Dheeraj Mudigonda of The University of Texas at Austin for Men in Blue. Director Ilana Peña presented the award to the West Region winner in the Latino category, Nicole Chi Amén of The University of Texas at Austin for Comadre. Director Carmen Marrón presented the award to the West Region winner in the Women’s category, McKenzi Vanderberg of USC for Morse Code. And Director Patrick Creadon presented the award to the West Region winner in the Documentary category, Kelsey McGee of USC for Danceable.

Weathers closed out the ceremony by again congratulating all the winners and jury award recipients and thanking all the presenters for taking the time to be part of the event.


About the Student Film Awards

The DGA Student Film 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:

  • Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II; Grown-ish; Rapture; The Land)
  • Jon M. Chu (In the Heights; Home Before Dark; Crazy Rich Asians; Now You See Me 2)
  • Ryan Coogler (Black Panther; Creed; Fruitvale Station)
  • Rashaad Ernesto Green (Premature; The Chi; Looking for Alaska; Luke Cage)
  • Nicole Kassell (Watchmen; Castlerock; Westworld; The Americans)
  • Patricia Riggen (Dopesick; Surveillance; Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan; Miracles From Heaven)
  • Sylvain White (The Rookie; Fargo; The Umbrella Academy; Amazing Stories)

Eligible films were made in the 2020/2021 school year (September 2020 through August 2021), and produced as a student project under the supervision of a faculty member – with students holding every major crew position. Dramas, comedies and documentaries are all eligible – animated and experimental films are not eligible. Applicants must be enrolled in, or be a recent (one-year) graduate from, an accredited post-secondary institution located in the United States.

Pictures

photos by Marcie Revens (New York) and Elisa Haber (Los Angeles)

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