Two Recent Graduates of the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television Share $175,000 to Make First Feature Film

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts has announced the winners of the 2006 Richard Vague Film Production Fund awards for alumni filmmaking. The awards-$100,000 for 1st place and $75,000 for 2nd place-go to two recent graduates to make their first feature-length films.

The winners are: 1st place-Sarba Das, ‘03 Graduate Film Division alumna, for Mausi, a story about love and family in the age of outsourcing; 2nd place-Joe Leonard, ‘02 Undergraduate Film Division alumnus for How I Got Lost, which looks back at New York after September 11 and two disillusioned 27 year-olds who have lost direction.

“Once again, we want to thank Richard Vague for his generous and far-sighted support of this pioneering fund named in his honor,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts and vice provost of the arts at NYU. “For emerging filmmakers to get this kind of support is extremely rare, and yet it’s crucial as an important early step in starting a career. We commend Richard for his vision as well as his faith in the future of young artists.”

In addition, 15 finalists will each receive $1,000. The 2006 Richard Vague Film Production Fund finalists from the Graduate Film Division are: Ben Bowman ‘03, Untitled Brooklyn Project; Oliver Cheetham ‘04, Safety in Numbers; Rafael Del Toro ‘05, Mullet; John Krokidas ‘01, Untitled Beat Project; Henry Lee ‘04, A Blue Ridge Morning; Mitch McCabe ‘04, My Mother’s Beauty Cream; Andrij Parekh ‘02, Cold Souls; and Gabriella Spierer ‘05, Raising Inmate 3851.

The 2006 Richard Vague finalists from the Undergraduate Film Division are: Andrew Bui ‘05, Intimations; Nicholas Georgiou ‘02, Seven Miles North of Nicosia; Jonathan Labes ‘05, Waste; Xiao Li Tan ‘03, Our Beijing Days; Matthew Manson ‘03, Spandex: A Father’s Tale; Keith McQuirter ‘01, The Watts Project; and Robbie Pickering ‘03, Natural Selection.

The Richard Vague Film Production Fund, established in 1999, is the first and largest financial assistance award for feature-filmmaking by alumni at a film school. This year’s winners and finalists were selected from 54 entries submitted by graduate and undergraduate alumni of the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.

To be eligible, the 2006 applicants must have graduated between 2000 and 2006 and have demonstrated exceptional talent and ability in film production. In addition, each must have a feature screenplay and demonstrate their ability to complete the project. Required supporting materials included a feature screenplay or documentary outline, comprehensive budget, production schedule, and preliminary cast and crew list.

Applications for the 2007 Richard Vague Film Production Fund awards will be available in October of this year. For further information, or to receive an application, contact Patti Pearson, Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, at 212.998.1713; or email

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, fifteen Student Academy Award gold medals have been presented to NYU student filmmakers by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. At the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Kanbar Institute students and alumni walked away with an unprecedented seven awards in virtually every top-prize category. And at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival Kanbar Institute graduates and faculty won nine out of the 19 awards. 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.

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Richard Pierce
Richard Pierce
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