The winners of the 2016 Horizon Award have been announced. This year's recipients are emerging filmmakers Macarena (Macqui) Gaona, Shanice Malakai Johnson, Juliette Gosselin and Florence Pelletier.
Independent film producers Cassian Elwes ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Lynette Howell ("Mississippi Grind") and Christine Vachon ("Carol") created the Horizon Award last year in an effort to diversify the male-dominated field of directing.
Gosselin (University of Quebec, Montreal) and Pelletier (Concordia University, Montreal) won the Horizon Award First Place for jointly directing "Mes Anges à Tête Noire."
Gaona (New York University) and Malakai Johnson (Scottsdale Community College) were named Horizon Award Runners-Up for "Channel 999 and Channel 1000" and "End to the Suffering," respectively.
In addition to receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to the Sundance Film Festival and screening their films for industry insiders, the winners will receive grants from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, networking opportunities and mentorship.
Gosselin, Pelletier, Gaona and Johnson were selected by a jury comprised of 38 directors, producers and executives. 483 short films were submitted for consideration from over 200 colleges and universities around the world.
"I’m so excited to announce the winners of the second annual Horizon Award. This year’s overwhelming number of submissions and caliber of work made it very hard indeed to pick just one winner -- the jury identified one grand prize winner, and two runners-up," said Horizon co-creator Elwes. "Additionally, we have added new partners to our already formidable team -- proving that not only is the move towards gender equality in the zeitgeist, but that there are very real advocates amongst our peers. After the recent summit for systemic change (hosted by Sundance and Women in Film), I am more convinced than ever that we can make a difference and that history is on our side. I remain steadfastly committed to the idea that, one day soon, women will have exactly the same opportunities as men to direct movies."
The four student directors were honored at The Horizon Award ceremony and reception in Park City, Utah, on January 24.