DGA Announces Winners of 27th Annual Student Film Awards


February 16, 2022

Los Angeles, CA – The Directors Guild of America today announced the winners of the 2021 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 student filmmakers from film schools and universities across the country.

“We are so honored to spotlight the next generation of directors as we celebrate the 27th Annual DGA Student Film Awards,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter. “Recognizing emerging talent through these Awards is one part of our ongoing efforts to encourage inclusion in the industry, and we’re proud that a number of our past recipients have found success in film and television. We congratulate these extraordinary student filmmakers, and look forward to seeing their future creations.”

The 2021 winners, selected by blue ribbon DGA member panels, are:

Best African American Student Filmmakers:

East Region

  • Award Winner: Sarah Gambles of Florida State University – Fairydust
  • Jury Award: Yasmeen Purvis of City University of New York – Who Was Lee Edwards?

West Region

  • Award Winner: Omar S. Kamara of AFI – Mass Ave.
  • Jury Award: De’Onna “Tree” Young-Stephens of USC – Not Just a Name

Best Asian American Student Filmmakers:

East Region

  • Award Winner: Bohao Liu of NYU – Eagles Rest in Liangshan
  • Jury Award: Justin Li of Ithaca College – Moments Fleeting

West Region

  • Award Winner: Jun Hee Han of UCLA – Uncle
  • Jury Award: Sining Xiang of UCLA – Foreign Uncle

Best Latino Student Filmmakers

East Region

  • Award Winner: Mackenzie Rosario of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale – Forward Journey

West Region

  • Award Winner: Jorge G. Camarena of AFI – Spaceship
  • Jury Award: Joe Perry of USC – Niño de Nadie

Best Women Student Filmmakers:

East Region

  • Award Winner: Lamu Shangchoo of School of Visual Arts – Walk Alone
  • Jury Award: Chloe Sarbib of Columbia University – Jensen

West Region

  • Award Winner: Kay Niuyue Zhang of USC – Mother in the Mist
  • Jury Award: Afton Quast Saler of USC – Neurodivergent

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 (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 (Dopesick; Surveillance; Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan; Miracles From Heaven)
  • Sylvain White (The Rookie; Fargo; The Umbrella Academy; Amazing Stories)

Eligible films were made in the 2020/2021 school year (September 2020 through August 2021), 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 (one-year) graduate from, an accredited post-secondary institution located in the United States.

A national awards ceremony will take place virtually on Thursday, February 17th.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333