DGA Announces Winners of 9th Annual West Coast Student Filmmakers Awards

DGA Student Film Awards

October 29, 2003

Directors Guild of America President Michael Apted today announced the winners of the DGA 2003 Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino and women filmmakers. The awards, which bring the winners prizes of $2,500 from the DGA along with a product grant valued at $1,000 provided by Kodak's Worldwide Student Film Program to the winner in each group, and a product grant valued at $500 to each honorable mention, are designed to honor, encourage and bring attention to outstanding minority and women film students in California film schools and other select universities. This is the eighth year the DGA Student Film Awards have been handed out.

"The DGA presents these Awards to honor the outstanding work of women and minority film students," said Apted. "Their films prove what the DGA has long contended, that it is vision and talent that makes a filmmaker, rather than gender or ethnicity. We are hopeful these films mark the beginnings of some promising careers, and we will continue in our ongoing commitment to seeing more diversity in the entertainment industry."

The award-winning films will be screened and the awards presented at the 2003 DGA Student Film Awards on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 at 7:30 p.m., in Theatre 1 at DGA Headquarters, 7920 Sunset Boulevard. The screenings and awards presentation are open to the public. To RSVP, please call 310-289-2033.

The winners in each category are:


  • Winner: Leona Whitney Beatty of Loyola Marymount University for Last Chair
  • Honorable Mention: Jerry A. Henry of the University of California Los Angeles for I Promise Africa


  • Winner: Mun Chee Yong of University of Southern California for 9:30
  • Honorable Mention: Rajshree Ojha of the American Film Institute for Badger


  • Winner: Gustavo Hernandez-Perez of the American Film Institute for The Mexican Dream
  • Honorable Mention: Joel Juarez of the University of California Los Angeles for Pelea de Gallos


  • Winner: Michelle Oznowicz of the American Film Institute for Sour Mix
  • Honorable Mention: Stacey Kattman of Chapman University for Change of Heart

The awards rules and procedures mandate that competing films must have been made in the 2002/2003 school year (September 2002 through August 2003), and must have been produced for course credit or under the supervision of a faculty member. Dramas, documentaries and experimental films are all eligible -- animated films are not. Applicants must be enrolled in or be a recent (one year) graduate from an accredited post-secondary four-year institution in California or other selected university offering a degree in film or television. Eligible films are those in which a student held every major crew position. Productions in which a non-student, professional or a faculty member served as cinematographer, camera operator, sound recordist, editor, lighting director or screenwriter may be disqualified. Panels consisting of DGA members from the respective groups (African-American, Asian-American, Latino and women) reviewed the entries and selected the winners.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333