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Frieze Announces Shortlisted Filmmakers for the 2023 Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award (Exclusive)



Frieze, the global art platform and international fair producer, has announced that nine emerging filmmakers have been named as finalists for the 2023 Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, in addition to revealing its jury for the prize.

The short list of Los Angeles-based filmmakers for the award, first given in 2019, includes Aidan Bae, Matthew Cotom, Shandrea Evans, Eugina Gelbelman, Irene Gil-Ramon, Tiffany Y. Lin, Jessica Liu, Byron Mason II and Malik Sims. .

During the upcoming Frieze Los Angeles art fair, taking place Feb. 16-19 at Santa Monica Airport, one winning film will be awarded a $10,000 prize with a $2,500 prize given to the winner of the audience award, with voting running from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12 and open to the public at (Frieze is part of IMG, which is a subsidiary of Endeavor.)

Designed to create a pathway to Hollywood for next-generation talent, the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award is given in partnership with independent studio Fifth Season and nonprofit academy Ghetto Film School. Applicants for the award must be based in LA and between the ages of 18 and 34. The nine fellows who have been selected have taken part in a three-month program led by Ghetto Film School and Fifth Season in which they have each produced a short film that, according to a release, reflects “on the meaning of identity and its representation in film.”

Explains Montea Robinson, CEO of Ghetto Film School, “Filmmakers were asked to submit an application which showcased samples of their work, their personal background, a statement of their interest in the program, and a description of the film they were eager to bring to life We aimed for filmmakers with strong voices and unique stories to tell.”

Aidan Bae - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

A still from Aidan Bae’s short film.


Choosing the winning film will be a jury composed of Robinson, actor Jay Ellis (Top Gun: Maverick), Fifth Season senior vice president Cristina Garza, producer Matt Jackson (I wanna dance with Somebody, The Trial of the Chicago 7), Frieze director of Americas Christine Messineo, The Kitchen executive director and chief curator Legacy Russell and Claudio de Sanctis, Deutsche Bank CEO of EMEA and head of the international private bank.

Said de Sanctis in a statement, “The year 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of our relationship with Frieze as Global Lead Partner. On this special occasion, it remains an honor to work with Fifth Season and the Ghetto Film School for the fourth year to support emerging artists in Los Angeles, as they expand their careers in a medium that is very close to my heart. This year’s theme, ‘exploring identity’, is a timely and fascinating brief and I can’t wait to see how this group of talented filmmakers tackle the subject.”

  Shandrea Evans - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

Still from Shandrea Evans’ short film.


Ghetto Film School CEO Montea Robinson spoke further with THR about the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award and the impact it can have on young filmmakers.

What goes into choosing the shortlist as well as the jury for the award?

At GFS, we educate and develop the next generation of great storytellers, so when we put out the call to artists in our community, we can be sure that any of our members — fellows or roster — will deliver quality work. When looking towards a specific partnership like Frieze, we want to ensure that the individuals selected are passionate about telling stories that both engage with, and are best supported by, the framework.

Similarly for the jury, our goal was to compose a panel of representatives from Fifth Season, Deutsche Bank, Frieze, GFS and the larger Los Angeles community, who feel a sense of connection to the prompt and theme, and would be the ideal participants to review the submissions.

Eugina Gelbelman - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

Still from Eugina Gelbelman’s short film.


What are a couple highlights of the award to date as far as the impact it has had?

The individualized mentorship and enriching curriculum that filmmakers receive as part of this program extends well beyond the award itself. Previous participants in this fellowship have screened their films at further festivals, had their work featured on notable streaming services, and secured fellowships with companies like Audi, BlackHouse Productions, REI and more.

While this award is an incredible achievement in itself, it opens doors and presents opportunities to our filmmakers that are invaluable in their own right.

Byron Mason II - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

A still from Byron Mason II’s short film


What kind of difference can it make for an emerging filmmaker to receive this recognition?

Receiving this recognition can have a profound impact on an emerging filmmaker. This platform places students and filmmakers into positions of creative leadership, allowing them to hone their skills against real-world experience, guided by the knowledgeable mentorship of the Frieze staff.

In addition to creative growth, there’s a wide opportunity for professional exposure here — for some filmmakers, this is the largest audience they’ve had to date. Various websites, social media and direct Frieze channels amplify this impact.

Beyond creative and professional development, it’s impossible to overstate the personal impact this platform can have on emerging filmmakers. To have their work recognized by so many, or even to have just one moment of meaningful connection with an audience member after the screening, can change a filmmaker’s world.

Tiffany Y. Lin - - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

Still from Tiffany Y. Lin’s short film.


What are the resources that this program provides that are so essential to filmmakers who are starting out?

The program invites filmmakers to take part in a well-researched and expertly crafted curriculum, with notable guest speakers, one-on-one coaching, and access to the professional filmmaking tools necessary to bring their visions to life. This fellowship is more than a standalone program — it’s an incubator that allows talent to develop their skills while encouraging them to reach beyond themselves and create unique works of art.

Below are more stills from the short-listed films.

Matthew Cotom - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

A still from Matthew Cotom’s short film.


Malik Sims - - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

Still from Malik Sims’ short.


Jessica Liu - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

A still from Jessica Liu’s short film.


Irene Gil-Ramon - Short - Deutsche Frieze Los Angeles Film Award - Short List

A still from Irene Gil-Ramon’s short.


Interview edited for length and clarity.

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