Alumni and students from the Tisch film program were awarded over $200,000 in grants and prizes at the 73rd Annual First Run Film Festival Wasserman Awards, held Monday night at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

Tisch Dean Allyson Green (far left) presents 2015 King Awards for best undergraduate student films to (l-r) Leo Gilbert (3rd prize), Williams Naranjo (2nd prize), and Emma Carlson (1st prize), together with Sheril Antonio (far right), associate dean for film, television, and new media.

Foreign language films shot outside the United States earned four out of the six top prizes for best student film at the 73rd Annual First Run Film Festival Wasserman Awards, held April 20 at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Tisch alumni also received production grants in the amount of $175,000 at the ceremony, which wraps up the five-day First Run Film Festival showcasing the best work of students at the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

An Crann, an Irish language film directed by Emma Carlson, and Felipe Prado’s Partiu, which explores the lives of reckless young people in Rio de Janeiro’s high society, both won First Prize $10,000 King Awards for best undergraduate and graduate film, respectively. Second prize awards of $7,000 went to two Spanish language short films – MFA program graduate Raisa Bonnet’s Luna Vieja, which explores a girl’s relationship with her grandmother in Puerto Rico, and BFA program graduate Williams Naranjo’s A New Civilization, a political drama inspired by Venezuela’s 2013 election.

Undergraduate 3rd Prize King Award of $5,000 was awarded to Leo Gilbert for Journeyman, about a soon-to-be Ex-NBA player who has to choose between his family and his career. Taking home the Graduate 3rd Prize King award was Reinaldo Marcus Green for Stop, a tale of a young, promising African-American man who has a chance encounter with the police.

In addition to the best film categories, Evan Ari Kelman was awarded the $2,000 Undergraduate Wasserman Directing Award for his film, Bandito, a drama about a young boy who stows himself away to join his older brother on a highway truck heist. Eli Shapiro won the Undergraduate King Screenwriting award in the amount of $3,000 for his film That Friend You Hate, about a loser who tries to distance himself from his annoying childhood friend.

The ceremony also included the Richard Vague Film Production Awards, which provide grants of up to $75,000 to select Tisch alumni to enable the completion of a promising project in development. Winners of $75,000 grants included Abu Bakr Shawky (MFA, ’10) for his narrative feature project Yomeddine, about a young man fleeing a leper colony in Egypt; and James Darling (BFA, ’06) for his docu-drama on Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Where No Man Has Gone Before. The Vague Production Fund also awarded a $25,000 grant to Ellen Martinez (BFA, ’10) and Steph Ching (BFA, ’10) for their documentary project, After Spring, about a Syrian refugee camp.

The awards were presented last night by Allyson Green, Dean of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts; Joe Pichirallo, chair of the undergraduate film program; Barbara Shock, chair of the graduate film program; and benefactor/businessman Richard Vague.

The 2015 Wasserman King award winners join past First Run award recipients Spike Lee, Ang Lee, and Nancy Savoca, among many others. A panel of industry professionals selected the winning films from a group of 16 finalists. The winners and finalists will have their films screened at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood on June 9.

The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts provides an intensive and professional education in filmmaking. Approximately graduate and 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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