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67th Annual First Run Film Festival Winners Announced

March 31, 2009
N-374, 2008-09

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television Winners Share More Than $50,000 in Cash Awards

Finalist and Winning Films to be Screened at DGA in Hollywood, June 2

The winners of New York University’s 67th annual First Run Film Festival, which premieres the work of some of the country’s top student films from the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts, were announced last night at a ceremony at the Cantor Film Center presided over by Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School. In all, this year’s Festival screened over 130 films, videos, multimedia, and animation projects. Six outstanding student films were singled out for the Kanbar Institute’s top film prizes and over $50,000 in cash awards.

The winners of the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation Awards for Excellence in Filmmaking are: 1st prize ($10,000) - Kim Spurlock (Graduate Division) for Down in Number 5 and Stephen Neary (Undergraduate Division) for Chicken Cowboy; 2nd prize ($7,000) - Rashaad Ernesto Green (Graduate Division) for Premature and Andrew Simkiss (Undergraduate Division) for Sane Jules Blaine; 3rd prize ($5,000) - Carlo Mirabella-Davis (Graduate Division) for Knife Point and Razan Ghalayini (Undergraduate Division) for Noor.

In addition, the winners of the King Award for Best Screenwriting ($3,000) are: Rashaad Ernesto Green (Graduate) for Premature and Stephen Neary (Undergraduate) for Chicken Cowboy. The winners of the Wasserman Award for Best Directing ($2,000) are: Kim Spurlock (Graduate) for Down in Number 5 and Stephen Neary (Undergraduate) for Chicken Cowboy.

The winners join past recipients Spike Lee, Ang Lee, and Nancy Savoca, among many others. A panel of industry professionals selected the winning films from a group of 14 finalists.

First Run Festival 2009 (March 24-30) was a week-long series of events featuring four days of public screenings of advanced and intermediate student projects. Underwriting support was provided by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation. The Wasserman Awards Ceremony is named in honor of the late Lew Wasserman and his wife, Edie, generous benefactors of the Tisch School of the Arts.


The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. The program shared first place in recent U.S. News and World Report rankings of the nation’s film programs; since 1992, sixteen Student Academy Award gold medals have been presented to NYU student filmmakers by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. And at the Sundance Film Festival, the premiere showcase for independent film, not only is Tisch consistently represented among the approximately 200 films screened every year, but in 2005 and 2006 Tisch alumni’s films took home nine prizes. Moreover, at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, thesis student Cary Fukunaga won the Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic competition for his film Sin Nombre, which also received the Excellence in Cinematography Award. Approximately 150 graduate and 1,050 undergraduate film students pursue degrees in film and television production, photography, cinema studies, dramatic writing, and interactive telecommunications. Distinguished alumni of the Kanbar Institute include Joel Coen, Chris Columbus, Billy Crystal, Martha Coolidge, Ernest Dickerson, Amy Heckerling, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Brett Ratner, Nancy Savoca, Martin Scorsese, Susan Seidelman, and Oliver Stone, among many others.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Tisch School of the Arts

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Richard Pierce | (212) 998-6796


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