USC Dominates DGA Student Film Awards Honoring Diverse Filmmakers

David Robb
·3 min read

Student filmmakers from USC dominated the 26th Annual DGA Student Film Awards for African American, Asian American, Latino and women directors, which are designed to honor, encourage and bring attention to exceptional diverse directors in film schools and universities across the country. A national awards ceremony will take place virtually on Tuesday.

The DGA gives out 16 awards – eight in the West region and eight in the East – and USC students won all but two of the western regional honors. Student filmmakers from Columbia University won four of the eight eastern regional honors. Other schools whose students were honored include New York University (two awards), and with one each, the American Film Institute, UC Berkeley, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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“Congratulations to all of the talented awardees for this year’s DGA Student Film Awards,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. “As part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusion across the industry, we’re honored to recognize these promising young filmmakers as examples of the vibrant and diverse talent coming from film schools and universities across the country. We look forward to following their careers.”

Here’s the full list of winners:

Best African American Student Filmmakers:
East Region
• Award Winner: Natalie Jasmine Harris of New York University — Pure
• Jury Award: Tramaine Raphael Gray of University of North Carolina School of the Arts — Kindred Kings
West Region
• Award Winner: Allison A. Waite of University of Southern California — The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins
• Jury Award: Dagmawi Abebe of University of Southern California — The Ball Method

Best Asian American Student Filmmakers:
East Region
• Award Winner: Karishma Dev Dube of New York University — Bittu
• Jury Award: Constance Tsang of Columbia University — Beau
West Region
• Award Winner: Olivia Hang Zhou of American Film Institute — Apart, Together
• Jury Award: Shuang Li of University of California, Berkeley — The Long Wait

Best Latino Student Filmmakers
East Region
• Award Winner: Esteban Garcia Vernaza of Columbia University — Silento
• Jury Award: Mariana Saffon of Columbia University — Entre tú y Milagros
West Region
• Award Winner: Felipe Vargas of University of Southern California — Milk Teeth
• Jury Award: Tiffany Kontoyiannis-Guillen of University of Southern California — Welcome Back

Best Women Student Filmmakers
East Region
• Award Winner: Shae Xu of Columbia University — Duet
• Jury Award: Victoria A. Williams of Savannah College of Art and Design — Windchimes
West Region
• Award Winner: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone of University of Southern California — For Rosa
• Jury Prize: Star Victoria of University of Southern California — La Ruta

The DGA Student Film Awards have highlighted hundreds of African American, Asian American, Latino and women filmmakers since 1995, many of whom have gone on to 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)
• Nicole Kassell (Watchmen; Castlerock; Westworld; The Americans)
• Patricia Riggen (Surveillance; Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan; Miracles From Heaven; The 33)
• Sylvain White (The Rookie; Fargo; The Umbrella Academy; Amazing Stories)

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