Camera Ambassador announces Community Builders Grant 2022 winner

George Ellzey Jr., Hannah Schierbeek, and Linh Tran

Following another competitive season, the Community Builders Grant, in association with Camera Ambassador, has announced its annual film winner naming Video Funeral as its 2022 award recipient.

This year the annual short-form film fund and production resources grant organization’s endowment was sponsored by Camera Ambassador.

The equipment rental house is one of only three nationwide owned and operated by a woman and is devoted to helping create a vibrant community of artists and supporting them with first-rate tools and service. With the mission to help build bridges between Midwest filmmakers and the community, Community Builders Grant supports by elevating filmmakers’ productions by arming them with the necessary resources to create.

In addition to Camera Ambassador, this year’s grant was also sponsored by Yakkety Yak, Motion Source, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and On the Set Headset.

“We’re so excited to be working with such a wonderful production,” says Camera Ambassador Founder and CEO Erica Duffy, “and with the high level of engagement this year, we know that the community is thrilled as well.”

Community Builders Grant

Video Funeral is a touching story centering around Lam, a Vietnamese international student who welcomes her younger sister, Phuong, to her Chicago home. Reuniting the two sisters is the bringing home of a DVD of their father’s funeral by Phuong, which Lam could not attend.

By winning the grant, Video Funeral gains $10,000 in prize money, half of it in cash and the other half in Camera Ambassador gear credit. Previous winners have gone on to create award-winning works that have screened at the Midwest Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, the Chicago South Asian Film Festival, and Cannes Indie Shorts and more.

Forty projects were initially submitted to the grant. With the help of a group of community judges and the internal grant team, the pool was narrowed down to ten Semi-Finalists and then three Finalists. These Finalists then shared their vision and plans to execute their story at a Pitch Event that took place on May 25th, 2022. Finally, the decision process was released to the public, who were asked to vote based on the strength of the Finalists’ pitches.

“This year, we had a record-breaking 900+ votes,” says Camera Ambassador Marketing and Client Relations Associate Rey Tang. “We’re truly so grateful to the community for coming out and being supportive of the grant.”

Each of the finalists had worked hard on their projects and were equally deserving of a win. After the votes were tallied, Video Funeral emerged with the highest vote and was declared the winner through an announcement video. Moreover, the other two finalists, “GLO,” written and directed by Adhana Reid, produced by Adia Ivey, and “Cottage Grove,” written and directed by George Ellzey Jr., will be awarded a $500 Gear Credit and a spotlight on the Camera Ambassador blog.

“This is such an honor to be the winner of the 2022 Community Builders Grant,” says Linh Tran, director of Video Funeral. “I’d like to thank the sponsors, everyone who was also in the same application process as I was, my amazing producer Hannah Schierbeek…and lastly, I’d love to thank my family and my community, both in Vietnam and in the United States.”

“We are so honored,” Linh concludes. “We can’t wait to make this happen. Thank you so much.”

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