New Filmmaker Los Angeles is an organization devoted to showcasing innovative films by emerging film makers. Throughout the year, the non-profit organization hosts a monthly film festival for the public and for industry professionals, showcasing the innovative cinematic works of talented rising filmmakers. On Saturday, April 6th it presented the 6th Annual Best of NFMLA Awards, announcing 16 winners from 132 nominees.
The nominees, largely comprised of films from NFMLA’s InFocus diversity initiative, included directors, writers, producers and performers who represent the absolute best in independent filmmaking from around the globe. Among the winners, announced at NFMLA’s home at South Park Center in Downtown Los Angeles, were Alaska Is A Drag (Best Feature) by Shaz Bennett, and Rise: The Story Of Augustines, by Todd Howe (Best Documentary).
“I love NFMLA!,” said an excited Dinh Thai after receiving his award as best short for his film Monday. “All their team, including their volunteers, have greatly supported my career as well as the careers of numerous filmmakers who come through their festivals. Their passion for storytellers is a key sign of how much they actually care about us. And for this, I am in debt to all of them! I am truly honored to be part of the NFMLA family and I hope to make them very proud.”
NFMLA’s InFocus program celebrates a multitude of quality works from distinct diverse communities, including Women, LGBTQ+, Asian, Latino and Hispanic, African-American, Veterans, Native filmmakers and more, all of which make up the filmmaking community and its audiences.
This year’s nominees in 16 categories included Academy Award Winner Period. End of Sentence., the Academy Shortlisted My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes, official selections for Sundance, SXSW, and the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as Hooves of Clay, the directorial debut of Blake Harrison. Winners from each category were selected by nearly two dozen notable jurors, a list of which includes heavyweight industry professionals such as Variety’s Andrew Barker, HBO’s Axel Caballero, Edith Mendoza of CBS, Karen Toliver from Sony, Claire McCabe from Disney, and Penelope Essoyan from Netflix, Moira Griffin of 21st Century Fox, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Gary Shapiro, as well as Hollywood Foreign Press Association members Silvia Bizio, Ana Maria Bahiana and Katherine Tulich and notable NFMLA alumni Independent Spirit Award Winner Debra Eisenstadt and FX American Horror Story director Rachel Goldberg.
NFMLA works with strategic partners, including film schools, organizations and businesses, as well as the Los Angeles city government, and media partners. It also puts together panels, competitions, Q&A sessions, and additional educational and networking opportunities. The HFPA provides a $15,000 annual grant to support NFMLA's On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project, a community outreach initiative that celebrates and enlists LA's remarkable pool of filmmakers. The HFPA also provides a $21,000 annual grant to support Student Memberships to NFMLA for LA County College and University Students. Furthermore, the HFPA purchased 600 annual student memberships to provide college and university students with access to NFMLA's Monthly Film Festival programs.