DGA Announces Diverse Student Film Winners

The Hollywood Sign - Getty - H 2016
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AFI, Columbia and USC were among the schools represented in this year’s cohort of honorees.

The Directors Guild of America on Tuesday announced the winners of the 2016 DGA Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino and women directors, the 22nd annual installment of an awards program intended to highlight diverse directors in film schools and select universities across the country.

“The DGA Student Film Awards recognize talented new student filmmakers, and we congratulate this year’s exceptional recipients,” DGA president Paris Barclay said in a statement. “The DGA is committed to calling attention to new talent and encouraging greater inclusion in the entertainment industry. It’s not an accident that many of our past winners have made their marks on our business. We look forward to seeing what these awardees do next.”

A number of past winners have gone on to enjoy successful directing careers, including John M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), Nicole Kassell (The Following, The Americans), Patricia Riggen (The 33, Under the Same Moon) and Sylvain White (Hawaii Five-0, Person of Interest, Covert Affairs, CSI: Miami, Stomp the Yard).

In other DGA news, the union and the AMPTP, representing studios and producers, began formal negotiations Monday on renewed contracts covering motion picture, television and online work, as previously announced.

The 2016 student award winners, selected by DGA member panels, are:


West Region — Award Winner: Jackson Young (AFI, for Trouble Man), Jury Award: Rachel Bass (Chapman University, Black Magic)

East Region — Award Winner: Kevin Giles (Drexel University, The Blaise EP), Jury Award: Daniella Hobbs (Ithaca College, The City of Good Neighbors)


West Region — Award Winner: Auden Bui (USC, The Lost City of Tomorrow), Jury Award: Yizhou Xu (Art Center College of Design, Shop of Eternal Life)

East Region — Award Winner: Yudho Aditya (Columbia University, Pria), Jury Award: Christina Liao (School of Visual Arts, My Grandma's House)


West Region — Award Winner: Juan Martinez Vera (USC, Spark), Jury Award: Santiago Paladines (AFI, The Fare)

East Region — Award Winner: Jimmy Keyrouz (Columbia University, Nocturne in Black), Jury Award: Ivo Huahua (Florida State University, Stutter)


West Region — Award Winner: Kelly Pike (UCLA, Owen), Jury Award: Mia Niebruegge (AFI, Snowplow)

East Region — Award Winner: Ugla Hauksdóttir (Columbia University, How Far She Went), Jury Award: Hannah Engelson (Emerson College, Jonah Stands Up)

The awards require that competing films must have been made in the 2015-16 school year, and produced as a student project under faculty supervision, with students holding every major crew position. Dramas, comedies and documentaries were eligible, but not animated or experimental films. Applicants must have been enrolled in, or have been 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 were screened as part of the awards presentation ceremony at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 10, while the East Region screenings and ceremony will take place at the DGA Theater in New York on Dec. 15.