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Sundance 2016: Four Female Directors Win Horizon Awards

Macarena Gaona, Juliette Gosselin, Shanice Malakai Johnson and Florence Pelletier cited as emerging young talent

Four up-and-coming filmmakers were named winners of the 2016 Horizon Award at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Thursday.

The awards, now in their second year, aim to identify and mentor talented, emerging female directors and help them overcome career hurdles.

Juliette Gosselin (University of Quebec in Montreal) and Florence Pelletier (Concordia University, Montreal) took top honors for “Mes Anges à Tête Noire” (photo top).

Macarena (Macqui) Gaona (New York University) took the runner-up honors for “Channel 999” and “Channel 1000,” along with Shanice Malakai Johnson (Scottsdale Community College) for “End to the Suffering.”

The winners will receive $5,000 in grants to the college of their choice from the Shelly Foundation Award, which honors those who have most successfully made the transition from actor to director.

Academy Awards nominee Chloe Sevigny will present the honors during a gathering at 6 p.m. on Sunday in the WireImage Portrait Studio at Village Horizon in Park City. Award co-founders Christine Vachon, Lynette Howell Taylor and Cassian Elwes also will be on hand.

“I am more convinced than ever that we can make a difference and that history is on our side,” said Elwes in announcing the winners. “I remain steadfastly committed to the idea that, one day soon, women will have exactly the same opportunities as men to direct movies.”

The jury was comprised of 38 influential directors, producers and executives from the filmmaking community who viewed 483 short film submissions from over 200 colleges and universities worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, India, China, South Africa, Scotland, France, Mexico, Portugal, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Sponsors and partners for the 2016 Horizon Award are: The Black List, CreativeFuture, The Creative Mind Group, Done To Your Taste Catering, FilmLA, Indiegogo, MPRM Communications, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, Sundance Institute, Twitter, Verge, Vimeo, WireImage, Adina Design and Women in Film.