Gotham announces winners of Focus Features and JetBlue

The Gotham Film & Media Institute announced the winners of its third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase.

The five winning filmmakers of the third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase are Evan Bode (Thine Own Self, Syracuse University), Jorge G. Camarena (Spaceship, American Film Institute), Akanksha Chawla (Close Ties to Home Country, Columbia College), Jun Hee Han (Uncle, University of California, Los Angeles), and J. Sean Smith (#Whitina, University of Southern California).

Along with returning partners JetBlue and Focus Features, The Gotham is thrilled to continue this program designed to discover and empower a diverse group of emerging filmmakers and foster multi-platform distribution of their work. 

The third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase received projects from more than twenty graduate film schools. A special jury of filmmakers, curators, and critics selected the five winning filmmakers, who will be recognized during the 2021 Gotham Awards Ceremony on Monday, November 29, 2021. Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant and have their films shown for twelve months on JetBlue’s seatback entertainment systems under the “Gotham Selects” movie category and on Focus Features digital streaming platforms. Throughout 2022, winning filmmakers will also receive ongoing mentorship and workshopping opportunities from The Gotham.

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“The Short Film Showcase has introduced us to an incredible array of talent, and we’re delighted to be working with even more universities this year. As we operate this program year over year, it’s thrilling to witness the continued success of the young filmmakers we support – for example UCLA’s Kristi Hoi, whose short No Law, No Heaven was one of last year’s Showcase winners and a recent winner of a 2021 Student Academy Award,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. “The Gotham is proud to provide mentorship and facilitate distribution through this inclusive program, and to be joined by our returning partners, JetBlue and Focus Features.”

This year’s participating schools include AFI Conservatory, Chapman University, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Emerson College, Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema (Brooklyn College), Florida State University, Howard University, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, New York Film Academy, New York University, San Francisco State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts, Syracuse University, Temple University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Austin, and Vermont College of Fine Art. 

“We’ve been so inspired by the bold and innovative work we’ve seen from students and recent graduates,” said Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski. “It’s an honor to be able to bolster such talented and diverse filmmakers at the start of their careers and to provide a platform for them to reach a wider audience.”

“As New York’s hometown airline, we could not be prouder to support the prolific and diverse talent this city champions,” said Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue. “We are excited to continue our partnership with The Gotham Film & Media Institute, and look forward to continuing to use our library of inflight entertainment as a discovery platform for the next generation of filmmakers.”

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