I have just returned from Minneapolis with the most amazing news. This Friday I was honored with this year's University Film and Video Association's Award of Teaching Excellence for Senior Faculty. It is the most important teaching award I could possibly win in my field and, to me, the highest honor as a teacher I can dream of.
The UFVA is the international organization for the entire field of filmmaking teachers across the world. It is the largest and oldest academic organization for filmmaking professors who teach anything related to film or video production like screenwriting, cinematography, directing, sound or editing, and it also consists of film studies professors who teach history, theory, philosophy and criticism of film.
It all feels insane, unreal. Like a dream.
"Senior faculty" doesn't sound like me (I just turned 36), and I wasn't sure if the UFVA would give credence to a small college in Connecticut. I decided to try to stand out by emphasizing my commitment to social justice through filmmaking and I was thrilled to see in their letter to me: "The committee was impressed with the rigor, thoroughness, and thoughtfulness of your materials and teaching philosophy and your work toward creating an inclusive classroom in your teaching."
I’m sharing a video of my acceptance speech. At the end of the video, I hug a former student and friend, Matt, and I love that that’s how the video ends.
Thank you to all my friends and family, and my students and teachers who have given me so much to live for and so much love to give back.