Julie Dash, TheWrap Founder Sharon Waxman Among This Year’s Horizon Awards Winners

Sundance 2020: Annual award recognizes two emerging female filmmakers and industry figures who champion women in entertainment

Julie Dash Sharon Waxman Horizon Award
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Filmmaker Julie Dash and TheWrap CEO and founder Sharon Waxman are among the recipients of the 6th Annual Horizon Awards presented at the WME Lounge during the Sundance Film Festival, it was announced on Sunday.

The Horizon Awards are presented by co-founders Cassian Elwes, Lynette Howell Taylor and Christine Vachon. They provide grants and mentorship to two emerging female filmmakers and also recognize other industry figures who have championed women in entertainment.

Waxman is one of the winners of the Horizon Champion Award, which was also presented to MACRO, the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles. Dash won the Pioneer Award.

“Black Bear” star Aubrey Plaza, “Wander Darkly” co-stars Diego Luna, Sienna Miller and Franklin Leonard presented the Horizon Award to Viviane Charlestin and Zawan Mahmoud, with Eaza Shukla receiving the Animation Award. Both Charlestin and Mahmoud submitted their self-directed short films of two minutes or less through the Horizon Award’s website and were honored at the event on Sunday.

“This year, we continue to lift up underrepresented women, both in front of and behind the camera,” Howell Taylor said in a statement. “We are eternally grateful for all the companies and individuals who support the Horizon Award for all that it stands for. It is an honor to be a part of this for the past six years, and I am humbled and inspired by everyone who generously gives their time and money towards this endeavor.”

“I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished with the Horizon Award. Each year it goes from strength to strength both in the quality and quantity of the submissions. One day there will equality for female directors in our business. Until then we will keep trying to make a difference,” Elwes said in a statement.

This year’s judges included leading industry executives, actors and directors Dee Rees, Ekwa Msangi, Justine Bateman, Lina Roessler, Sarah Broom, Alison Emilio, Ane Crabtree, Arianna Bocco, Cathy Schulman, Claudine Sauvé, Emma Fleischer, Helen Estabrook, Helen Lee Kim, Huriyyah Muhammad, Kirsten Schaffer, Laura Lewis, Laura Rister, Pam Dixon, Pam Williams, Poppy Hanks, Rosson Crow, Susan Carter Hall, and Tova Laiter.

Working from this list, the final two filmmakers were decided by the Horizon Award co-founders Cassian Elwes, Lynette Howell Taylor, Christine Vachon and Sundance feature film director Michelle Satter.

Charlestin is a first-generation Haitian-American director, writer, producer, and actor originally from Florida. For undergrad she attended the University of Florida where there was no real program for film, therefore she constructed her own degree and earned a B.A. in English with a concentration in Film and also graduated with a minor in Interdisciplinary Studies in Fine Arts in the span of three years, completed in 2019. Currently, she is a first-year graduate student at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles where she is earning her MFA in Writing and Producing for Television.

Mahmoud is a 2019 Adobe Creativity Scholar and student at the University of Washington. Originally from Sudan, she lived in several countries, including Yemen and Ethiopia, before relocating to the United States. Her filmmaking is focused on personal documentaries inspired by migration and the experience of living between cultures.

Horizon Award organizers reached out to schools worldwide resulting in close to 300 submissions from a broad range of leading film schools and regional community colleges including: NYU, USC, UCLA, LMU, Yale, Columbia, Emerson, Brown, BU, Australian Film Television and Radio School, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia State, Florida State, Lebanese University (Lebanon), London Film School, Los Angeles Community College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Polish National Film School in Lodz Poland, Tel Aviv University, and Columbia College in Chicago.

Horizon Award founders thanked sponsors Adrienne Shelly Foundation, The Black List, Carnegie Mellon University, Creative Mind Group, Endeavor Content, HBO, MPAA, ReFrame, ShivHans Pictures, Sundance Institute, Alexander White Agency, and Women In Film Los Angeles.

The Horizon Award welcomed back founding supporter, The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, who returned with a $6,000 grant for the two winners.