Film students receive awards, grants from Kanbar Institute

Rachel Kaplan/WSN
Rachel Kaplan/WSN

Many Tisch students saw the success of their films when the winners were announced for the annual Wasserman Awards on April 11.

Hosted by the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television in the Tisch School of the Arts, the ceremony highlighted students’ dedication to and passion for filmmaking.

Every year, three undergraduate and three graduate students are given Wasserman Awards, which include grants from the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation. The first-place winner is awarded $10,000.

Four additional prizes were given, recognizing excellence in screenwriting and directing.


The award-winning films will be shown at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles on June 6.

The Wasserman Awards are named after the late studio executive Lew Wasserman, who is known for creating the studio system used in filmmaking.

Undergraduate winners were pleased with the reception of their films and plan to use their grant money for future productions.

“So many people poured endless amounts of time and energy into ‘Bombshell,’ and it’s so gratifying to see everyone’s work appreciated,” said Tisch senior Erin Sanger, the first-place undergraduate winner.

“[I can] pay off some debt, pay for film festival fees, buy myself some time for rent and living expenses to write a feature,” Bruce Li, a fellow Tisch senior, said about the grant money. Li’s film “Caught” placed third in the undergraduate category.

Faculty members of the Kanbar Institute said the Wasserman Awards give students a great opportunity to further their careers.

“I was happy to see Erin’s hard work and creative instincts publicly recognized,” said Kanbar professor Susan Seidelman, who oversaw the filmmaking process of Sanger’s film “Bombshell.” “This recognition will be extremely helpful to Erin’s career as a film director in terms of opening doors to future opportunities.”

Kanbar professor Christine Choy said the awards are a good way for students to keep making their products even better, as well as inspire a little competition.

“I think it’s giving the students the opportunity and a window to study the industry,” Choy said. “Every year the works are getting better.”

Sheril Antonio, associate dean for film, television and new media in the Kanbar Institute, expressed her gratitude for NYU’s relationship with the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation.

“The King Family is a vital relationship for the school, and these grants are an essential step for our students toward their career goals,” Antonio said. “I really can’t even imagine where we would be without them.”

Fellow Kanbar film student and senior Eli Shapiro said the Wasserman Awards are very generous.

“The students spend so much of their own money on these projects, so an award like $5,000 or $10,000 will just cover the budgets of these films, allowing people to keep making movies,” she said. “Plus, it’s nice to know good work can be rewarded.”

Tanay Hudson is a staff writer. Contact her at [email protected]



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