DGA Announces Winners of 25th Annual Student Film Awards

DGA Student Film Awards 2019

December 3, 2019

Los Angeles, CA – The Directors Guild of America today announced the winners of the 2019 DGA Student Film Awards for African American, Asian American, Latino and Women directors. The awards are designed to honor, encourage and bring attention to exceptional diverse directors in film schools and select universities across the country.

“We are honored to recognize the next generation of filmmaking talent as we celebrate the 25th Annual DGA Student Film Awards,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “These Awards are part of our ongoing efforts to encourage inclusion in the filmmaking community, and we’re proud that a number of our past winners have found success in film and television. We congratulate all of our awardees, and look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.”

The 2019 winners, selected by blue ribbon DGA member panels, are:

Best African American Student Filmmakers:

West Region

  • Award Winner: Darius D. Dawson of AFI – A Rodeo Film
  • Jury Award: Khaled Ridgeway of USC – Night Diner

East Region

  • Award Winner: Adewale Olukayode of Columbia University – Home
  • Jury Award: Justin Fairweather of Towson University – Dog Person

Best Asian American Student Filmmakers:

West Region

  • Award Winner: Jing Ai Ng of AFI – Fleck
  • Jury Award: Yubo Song of California College of the Arts, San Francisco – A Winter Without Snow

East Region

  • Award Winner: Yuan Yuan Zhang of New York University – Heading South
  • Jury Award: Kevin Wang of New York University – Secret Lives of Asians at Night

Best Latino Student Filmmakers

West Region

  • Award Winner: João Felipe Dall'Stella of AFI – Día De Las Carpas
  • Jury Award: Samir Oliveros of AFI – Cactus Blossom

East Region

  • Award Winner: Gustavo Milan of New York University – Under the Heavens
  • Jury Award: Natalia Luque of Columbia University – Soy Sola

Best Women Student Filmmakers:

West Region

  • Award Winner: Sabina Vajrača of USC – Variables
  • Jury Award: Caroline Friend of USC – Under Darkness

East Region

  • Award Winner: Kyra Gardner of Florida State University – Phoebe
  • Jury Award: Addison Dlott of Ithaca College – Queen of the Dinosaurs: A Wrestler's Story

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 (Crazy Rich Asians; Now You See Me 2; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Step Up 3D)
  • Ryan Coogler (Black Panther; Creed; Fruitvale Station)
  • Nicole Kassell (Watchmen; Westworld; The Americans; The Following; The Killing)
  • Patricia Riggen (Jack Ryan; Miracles From Heaven; The 33; Lemonade Mouth)
  • Sylvain White (The Rookie; Slender Man, The Americans; Hawaii Five-0; Empire; Stomp the Yard)

Eligible films were made in the 2018/2019 school year (September 2018 through August 2019), 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 (within one year) graduate from an accredited post-secondary institution in California or DGA-selected university offering a degree in film or television.

West Region award-winning films are being screened as part of today’s awards presentation ceremony at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles. The East Region screenings and ceremony will take place at the Directors Guild of America Theater in New York on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333