MAY 2023

Congratulations Class of 2023! 

Logan Matthew Allen 
Sabrina Beach 
Alene Naltchayan Boghosian
Ryan William Burke 
Jordyn E. Caldwell 
Alyssa Grace Chandler 
Hannah R. Dowgiallo 
Stephanie M. Faura 
William R. Fochtmann 
Aqwia Harris 
William Chandler Herr Jr. 
Mya Simone Kenton 
Gene Su Kim 
Steven King Jr. 
Damien Krzesinski 
Paul I. Lee 
Cullen A. Livingstone 
Tyler A. Means 
Hintsa G. Mehari 
Amber E. Menifee 
Raquel M. Murray 
Haley E. O’Neill 
Elisabeth A. Padula 
Michelle Pan 
Jakob Elliot Peters 
Sophie Potts 
Alexander Rodriguez 
Joshua P. Rudolph 
Blake Tiberius Smith 
Sarah Strunk 
Daija Marie Sykes 
Daniel Taylor 
Alaejha Nicole Brianna Thomas 
Jennifer Vu 
Tiffany Vu 
Wenhao Wang 
EJ Ward 
Jaiden E. Williams 
Ty Wright 

Mason Film Festival 

Thank you to everyone who came out for the annual Mason Film Festival. Congratulations to all students on your screenings, pitches, and staged readings. Your work is inspiring, and we look forward to seeing what you create next. 

The Festival is made possible because of the hard work of Film at Mason staff and faculty: we appreciate all of you. We also thank our Film at Mason Advisory Board, FAVS alumni, and film community members who participated on our juries. We are grateful for the time you spent watching student films and providing them with supportive feedback. 

Congratulations to the 2023 Award Winners: 

Academic Excellence Award 

This award goes to students with the highest GPA with 120 credits at Mason. 

Jennifer Vu  
Sabrina Beach  
Tiffany Vu 
Ryan Burke 
Ty Wright

Academic Achievement Award 

This award goes to students with the highest GPA with credits transferred to Mason. 

Sarah Strunk 
Daija Sykes 
Professional Achievement Award 

This award honors outstanding achievements in professional preparation for the field of film and video studies. 

Daniel Taylor 
Sophie Potts 
Paul Lee 
Mya Kenton

Service Award 

This award recognizes outstanding service to the Film and Video Studies Program. 

Hintsa Mehari 
Capstone Awards 
Olivia Cunningham (Producing) 
Cullen Livingstone (Cinematography) 
Sabrina Beach (Editing) 
Tyler Means (Screenwriting)

Showcase Awards 
Best of Fest: "Surrender," Tiffany Vu 
Best Drama: "We're Only Strangers," Jennifer Vu 
Best Comedy: "Side Bi Side," Will Fochtmann 
Best Horror/Thriller: "Oscuro," Wenhao Wang 
Best Fantasy Sci-Fi: "Countdown," Jaiden Williams 
Best Romance/Rom-Com: "Ms. Understanding," Damien Krzesinski 
Best Experimental/Non-Narrative Film: "Jazz," Andrew Opitz 
Story Changes the World: "Transcendent Love," Ty Wright 
Audience Award Block 1 
Jennifer Vu, "We're Only Strangers" 

Audience Award Block 2 
Tiffany Vu, "Surrender"

Technical Awards
Best Producing:  Iana Lee, "Jazz" and Daniel Zaitoun, "We're Only Strangers" 
Best Co-Producing:  Tariq Ismail, "Ms. Understanding" 
Best Editing:  Sabrina Beach, "We're Only Strangers" and Elissa Padula and Paul Lee, "Countdown"
Best Cinematography: Jessilee Pollet, "Side Bi Side" 
Best Sound Design: Paul Lee, Justin Tyler Bowers, and Laim Tipler, "Oscuro" 
Best VFX: Julian Pryce, "Ms. Understanding" and Wenhao Wang, "Oscuro" 
Best Color Grading: Sidney Mullins, "Ms. Understanding" and Wenhao Wang and Matthew Baltar, "Oscuro" 
Best Original Score: Martha Molinaro and An Tran, "Surrender" 
Best Costume: Jae Villatoro and Angel Lee, "Invoke" 
Best Make-Up: Jennifer Vu, "Welcome to Grailwood" 
Best Production Design: Mat Ross and Olivia Williams, "We're Only Strangers" and Olivia Williams, "Surrender" 
Pitch Awards 
Best Digital Pitch: Sarah Heaton, "She Shot That"
Best Lookbook: Sarah Heaton, "She Shot That" 
Best Pitch Delivery: Spencer Phillips, "Found and Lost" 
Best Pitch Story: Michael Rivera, "History 101" and Mauricio Alarcon, "La Vida" 

Faculty Awards 
Outstanding Directing:
Tiffany Vu, "Surrender" 
Exceptional Performance: Kayla Stephens, "Countdown"; Kiara Lu, "We're Only Strangers"; Catarina Kim, "Surrender"; Zoe B Winter, "Transcendent Love"; Justin Bowers, "Side Bi Side"; Miju Kim Pascual, "Surrender" 
Exceptional Ensemble Performance: Jennifer Vu, "We're Only Strangers" 
Best Screenplay: Jennifer Vu, "We're Only Strangers" 

A Successful Fundraiser 

We are happy to announce that we raised $7,594.77 to go toward Film at Mason scholarships for the coming academic year. Thank you to everyone who contributed gifts, especially our Alumna and Film at Mason Advisory Board member, Clara Kelly, who initiated our successful match challenge.  

Thank you to our generous supporters of Film at Mason 

Gifts are recognized from Jan 1, 2022- May 6, 2023
Producer ($2,500 and above)
Clara and John Kelly
Willy Meaux

Director ($1,000-2,499)
Dr. Joy R. Hughes and Mr. Kenneth Lee
Melanie Sams and Thomas Sulek
Paul and Virginia Singh
Kathleen and John Kehoe

Screenwriter ($500-999))
Dr. Rick Davis and Ms. Julie Thompson

Leading Role ($250-499)
G. Chesler
Ms. Melissa J. Houghton

Supporting Role ($100-249)
Theodore Adams, Red Zeppelin Productions
Vicki and John Salmon
Michael and Susan Kehoe
Justin Plakas
Mr. Jim Folliard
Cynthia and Thomas Judge

Friend (up to $99)
Ryan Braaten
Amanda Kraus
Shawn Malangyaon
Catherine Morse
Stanford Morse
Robert and Ida Portland
Samantha Sinagra
Unified Home Industries, Inc.
Lewis and Anne Wright
Mrs. Lorriz Anne A. Yi

Fall 2023 Course Spotlight 

Are you looking for a fun class to take in the Fall? Consider FAVS 399: Podcasting: Audio Storytelling with Professor Amanda Kraus. In this class, you will learn how to develop and produce a podcast step-by-step. From writing and casting to recording and editing, students will be responsible for the concept and completion of two episodes. This course is scheduled on Mondays, 10:30am-1:10pm, in the Art and Design Building AB 1005. To register, enter CRN 83572. 

Student Academy Awards Application 

The Student Academy Awards (SAA) recognizes and honors student filmmakers who demonstrate excellence in the creation of motion pictures. By awarding these outstanding achievements, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences strives to support and inspire emerging filmmakers and to foster growth and education in the art and science of motion pictures. 

The deadline for the Student Academy Awards is June 1, 2023. Get your project ready for submission and read the rules carefully. For more information, visit:

Virginia Screenwriting Competition 

The Virginia Screenwriting Competition was established in 1988 as an opportunity for Virginia writers to have their work read and evaluated. Part of the Virginia Film Festival, an award of $1,000 is given to three prize winners each year. For rules and eligibility, visit

Deadline to apply is May 29, 2023

Undergraduate Research Grants 

Need funding for your senior film or individualized research projects? 

Apply for George Mason university’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP). Students can receive anywhere from $1,500-$5,000 to be used on their project or film.  

For more information, visit

Application deadline is June 2, 2023

Faculty Achievement 

Professor Samirah Alkassim is a recipient of the Center for Humanities Summer Research grant at Mason to work on her book, A Journey of Screens in 21st Century Arab Film and Media. She will be giving a talk, "History and Memory in the Landscapes of Theeb and The Infiltrators," at the Film Criticism Forum in Abha, Saudi Arabia in June.
Professor Tommy Britt contributed a chapter, "'The Imagination of Disaster' in End of the World", to the new book Attack of the New B Movies: Essays on SYFY Original Films

Alumni Spotlight

Rodrigo Vasquez (FAVS '19) is an Associate Producer at the National Geographic Society. He works on projects that illuminate National Geographic's mission, projects, and explorers. Working in a new department at NGS, Rodrigo is responsible for setting up many processes and procedures. In addition to his many duties, he has also had the opportunity to shoot and edit films and select film equipment for the department. Rodrigo has enjoyed working on projects related to the climate crisis and environmental conservation. Committed to making a difference in the world with his work, he is helping to make these struggles increasingly visible.  

Film Opportunities and Resources   

Festival Submissions:  
Fellowships and Grant Opportunities: 
  • GMU’s URSPDeadline: June 2, 2023 
  • Detroit Narrative Agency is inviting BIPOC metro-Detroiters to create short films around Environmental Justice. Eight films will win a $3,000 grant. Submission Deadline: June 2, 2023 
  • Firelight Media invites mid-career nonfiction filmmakers from underrepresented communities to apply for the William Greaves Research & Development Fund. The fund offers grants up to $40K each to support research and development on a feature-length nonfiction film and any essential need grantees have, including healthcare and childcare costs. Application Deadline: June 6, 2023 
  • The Black List and GM Incubator Fund are accepting applications for the Writer-Driven Shorts Program, which will grant two emerging filmmakers with $100,000 in production funds to shoot a short film based on their feature scripts. Submission Deadline: August 15, 2023. 


Job Opportunities: 
  • Sundance is hiring a Content Producer to develop and manage organized systems, production workflows, and schedules that allow for streamlined creative output and media production. 
  • The Los Angeles Times is seeking an Assistant Editor to join their growing Latino Initiatives team. The role will be responsible for assigning and editing staff and freelance stories and will work with the editorial director and the design director to ideate, produce and execute on storytelling that will engage with the Latino community in Los Angeles and beyond. 
  • Film at Lincoln Center is hiring a contract Partnerships & Advertising Assistant for the New York Film Festival. 
  • Who What Wear is hiring a Podcast Producer
  • The 2023 BlackStar Film Festival is looking for volunteers to provide support before and during this year’s fest. ⁠ 
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Film and Video Studies
College of Visual and Performing Arts
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