2014 Awardees

Frances Bodomo

Frances Bodomo is an award-winning Ghanaian filmmaker. She grew up in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong before moving to New York to study film at Columbia University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her first short film, BONESHAKER (starring Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), premiered at Sundance 2013 and played at over 20 film festivals including Telluride & SXSW. Her second short, AFRONAUTS, premiered at the 2014 Sundance,  READ MORE

Frances Bodomo is an award-winning Ghanaian filmmaker. She grew up in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong before moving to New York to study film at Columbia University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her first short film, BONESHAKER (starring Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), premiered at Sundance 2013 and played at over 20 film festivals including Telluride & SXSW. Her second short, AFRONAUTS, premiered at the 2014 Sundance, Berlinale and New Directors/New Films Festivals. It received the Grand Jury Prize at IFFBoston, Dallas International Film Festival, and NYU’s First Run Film Festival (where it also picked up the James Richard Janowsky Award). She is currently developing the feature version of AFRONAUTS, which is supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, Alfred P Sloan Foundation, and Spike Lee Fellowship.

Demi Chen

Demi Chen recently graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she represented the Film & TV department as flag bearer during the Tisch Salute. Under her Presidency, the NYU Student Animation League received the 2014 “President’s Service Award” for inspired and outstanding programming. Passionate about illustration, she is an aspiring visual development/storyboard artist and hopes to inspire audiences with her visual storytelling the way her favorite films have inspired her!

Lauren Ciaravalli

Lauren Ciaravalli counts Woody Allen and John Hughes as her filmmaking heroes. Nothing makes her happier than a good story, but she’s been known to play favorites with teen movies, romantic comedies, and film noir. Her first short film, a teen comedy called TRYOUTS, was warmly received by festivals, premiering at the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival. Her senior thesis, DREAM DATE, was honored as a Finalist for  READ MORE

Lauren Ciaravalli counts Woody Allen and John Hughes as her filmmaking heroes. Nothing makes her happier than a good story, but she’s been known to play favorites with teen movies, romantic comedies, and film noir. Her first short film, a teen comedy called TRYOUTS, was warmly received by festivals, premiering at the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival. Her senior thesis, DREAM DATE, was honored as a Finalist for Directing at NYU’s First Run Film Festival and received a screenwriting award. While at NYU, Lauren served as Co-Director of the Fusion Film Festival, studied under Courtney Hunt and Susan Seidelman. She graduated with a BFA in Film & Television and a minor in Spanish in May 2013. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles on NBC’s upcoming one-hour dramedy, “Mysteries of Laura”.

Casey Drogin

Casey Drogin is a Brooklyn based director, animator and compositor. He is a recent graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He works as a freelance studio animator in New York City. His previous clients include the NBA, Google, Morgan Stanley, Ted, PBS, Cigna, Labyrinth Theater, Atlantic Records, Bal Harbour Shops, and Vh1.

Casey Drogin is a Brooklyn based director, animator and compositor. He is a recent graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He works as a freelance studio animator in New York City. His previous clients include the NBA, Google, Morgan Stanley, Ted, PBS, Cigna, Labyrinth Theater, Atlantic Records, Bal Harbour Shops, and Vh1.

Zachary Kerschberg

Zachary Kerschberg is a New York/Berlin based filmmaker. Raised in California, Kerschberg graduated from UC Berkeley with an honors B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures. He later received an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU and is currently pursuing his second M.F.A. in Film Directing at NYU.

He has screened his work at various international film festivals, including Cannes, SXSW, Rhode Island, Rain Dance, Woodstock, Nashville,  READ MORE

Zachary Kerschberg is a New York/Berlin based filmmaker. Raised in California, Kerschberg graduated from UC Berkeley with an honors B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures. He later received an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU and is currently pursuing his second M.F.A. in Film Directing at NYU.

He has screened his work at various international film festivals, including Cannes, SXSW, Rhode Island, Rain Dance, Woodstock, Nashville, Marbella and Oaxaca. His documentary films have screened at the United Nations, the World Bank and the Paralympics. In 2008 he was a Fulbright Scholar to the United Arab Emirates, where he taught screenwriting at the Dubai Men’s college.

Kerschberg is also active as a playwright, most recently with the experimental show “Bird Shit” at Moma PS1, starring James Franco and Marina Abrahmovic, as well as the interactive performance art piece “Snow White”, which premiered in Berlin’s historic water plant, and “Stronger Than Death”, a Guy de Maupassant adaptation.

He was recently awarded a National Board of Review student grant and is currently preparing his thesis film, BETWEEN DAY AND NIGHT, a narrative feature that looks at the recent artistic gentrification of Berlin’s Turkish neighborhood Neukölln.

Giuliana Montiero Pinheiro

Giuliana Monteiro was born in São Paulo. She studied Visual Communication at Pontifícia Universidade Católica in São Paulo. After working as producer and assistant director for eight documentaries and TV shows in South America, she moved to New York in 2009 to complete her post-graduate studies at the New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. Giuliana is currently working on her first feature film script that will be shot in South America.

Jesse Rosenberg

Jesse Rosenberg is a 2014 graduate in filmmaking at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, with a concentration on documentary films that focus on social justice and human rights. His thesis film, LIFE SENTENCES, chronicled the effect of the California prison system on families of prison inmates. The film received the 2013 NYU Kanbar Institute of Film and Television Landsburg Documentary Post-Production Award, a craft award for documentary filmmaking at the NYU First Run Festival, and was a regional semifinalist for the Student Academy Awards in May 2014.

Micaela Silberstein

Micaela Silberstein was born and raised a New York City artist, music maniac, and travel junkie. She is a 2014 graduate from the School of Visual Arts film program. She recently finished her thesis film, SHARP SHOOTER, about an adventurous, imaginative, and determined 5th grade tomboy, inspired by Annie Oakley, who learns to understand her dyslexia as a difference instead of a learning disability. She hopes with her films to open many eyes and minds, making her world yours, your world hers, all of ours to share.

Kate Tsang

Born in California and raised in Hong Kong, Kate Tsang spent most of her childhood either terrorizing her cousins or watching Cantonese dubbed episodes of Looney Tunes. She attended UC San Diego with the intention of studying medicine, but fell head first into film and visual arts instead. Since graduating from NYU’s MFA Film program, she’s worked as a makeup artist on numerous films and as an editor/animator for clients such  READ MORE

Born in California and raised in Hong Kong, Kate Tsang spent most of her childhood either terrorizing her cousins or watching Cantonese dubbed episodes of Looney Tunes. She attended UC San Diego with the intention of studying medicine, but fell head first into film and visual arts instead. Since graduating from NYU’s MFA Film program, she’s worked as a makeup artist on numerous films and as an editor/animator for clients such as Dom Perignon, Vans, and Opening Ceremony. Her award-winning shorts have screened at festivals all over the world, and she’s currently developing her first feature film and a cartoon show. Kate’s most recent film, SO YOU’VE GROWN ATTACHED, was a 2014 National Finalist for the Student Academy Award and won Best Narrative Short at San Francisco International FF 2014.

Javier Valdez

Javier Valdez is an animator, born in Mexico City, Mexico, and lived there until moving to New York City in 2010. He received his BFA in Film and TV at the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with honors in 2014. He is currently job-hunting to further his career as an animator, as well as working freelance illustration, design, and animation in the interim.

Mitchell Zemil

Mitchell Zemil is a filmmaker and animator, and enjoys bringing the strange, oddball ideas in his head to life through art. Born and raised in Sarasota, Florida, he has pursued a variety of creative efforts which also include drawing, music, and (a little bit of) acting. The projects he’s currently working on range from a mashup-based musical act to a feature-length experimental documentary revolving around his hometown. His recent animation, THE GHOST IN THE SCARF, will play in Greece this fall at the Corfu Animation Festival. Mitchell likes to keep his ideas expansive and untamed (not unlike his hair).