Eye on the Prizes

The 2013-14 academic year is still young but the awards are already rolling in for some talented TFT students

DGA Student Film Awards

On Nov. 1, the Directors Guild of America announced the winners of the 2013 DGA Student Film Awards for African American, Asian American, Latino and Women directors in the West Region. The awards are designed to honor, encourage and bring attention to exceptional minority and women directors in film schools and select universities across the country. UCLA TFT had three winners: MFA directing candidate Dehanza Shreen Rogers was named the Best African American Student Filmmaker for her film “Sweet, Sweet Country”; Margot Ye, MFA ’12, was named Best Asian American Student Filmmaker for her film “Out of the Blue”; and the Jury Award went to Puja Maewal, MFA ’12, for “JAYA.”

Samuel Goldwyn Awards

Grad student Rocco Pucillo walked away with a $15,000 prize on Nov. 4, when he was named the first-prize winner of the 58th Annual Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. His script, “Inspector Sun and the Curse of the Black Widow,” was chosen from a pool of five finalists.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr., president of The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, announced the winners during the ceremony at UCLA’s Faculty Center.

Second place went to Jared Robbins (UC Riverside) for his script “Farang” and carried a prize of $7,500. Jeffrey Baker (UCLA, “Dr. Acker’s English Elixir”), Sean Harrigan (UC Irvine, “Dust Red”), and Turner Hay (UCLA, “Broken Grey”) tied for third place ($4,000).

The judges for this year’s ceremony were Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood awards columnist and Movieline film critic; Jennifer O’Kieffe, writer and 2007 Samuel Goldwyn Award winner; and Tom Rothman, chairman, TriStar Prods.

Previous winners of the Goldwyn Award include filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola, Allison Anders, screenwriters Pamela Gray, Colin Higgins, Eric Roth and novelist Jonathan Kellerman, among others.

AbelCine Documentary Grant

The documentary “A Better Life,” directed by second year MFA student Steven Liang, has been named one of three recipients of the AbelCine Documentary Grant, which provides $33,000 in equipment rentals to go toward the completion of the documentary. From a pool of 89 submissions, a panel of established filmmakers, including Ellen Kuras (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), Mark Benjamin (“Brick City”), and Peter Schnall (“National Geographic Explorer”) chose 10 finalists and then selected the three winners from that group.

Liang gives credit to UCLA TFT for his success.

“My education at TFT has been instrumental to my growth as a filmmaker,” he says. “I am infinitely grateful for the level of support provided by the faculty.”

— Noela Hueso

TAKING THE PRIZE: First-place winner Rocco Pucillo is flanked by film producer John Goldwyn, left, and his father, Samuel Goldwyn Foundation president Samuel Goldwyn, Jr.

Posted: Nov. 25, 2013