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The Gotham Announces Winners of 3rd Annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase

by Gotham on November 12, 2021

NEW YORK, NY (November 10, 2021) — The Gotham Film & Media Institute announced the winners of its third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase. The five winning filmmakers of the third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase are Evan Bode (Thine Own Self, Syracuse University), Jorge G. Camarena (Spaceship, American Film Institute), Akanksha Cruczynski (Close Ties to Home Country, Columbia College), Jun Hee Han (Uncle, University of California, Los Angeles), and J. Sean Smith (#Whitina, University of Southern California). Along with returning partners JetBlue and Focus Features, The Gotham is thrilled to continue this program designed to discover and empower a diverse group of emerging filmmakers and foster multi-platform distribution of their work. 

The third annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase received projects from more than twenty graduate film schools. A special jury of filmmakers, curators, and critics selected the five winning filmmakers, who will be recognized during the 2021 Gotham Awards Ceremony on Monday, November 29, 2021. Each winner will receive a $10,000 grant and have their films shown for twelve months on JetBlue’s seatback entertainment systems under the “Gotham Selects” movie category and on Focus Features digital streaming platforms. Throughout 2022, winning filmmakers will also receive ongoing mentorship and workshopping opportunities from The Gotham.

“The Short Film Showcase has introduced us to an incredible array of talent, and we’re delighted to be working with even more universities this year. As we operate this program year over year, it’s thrilling to witness the continued success of the young filmmakers we support – for example UCLA’s Kristi Hoi, whose short No Law, No Heaven was one of last year’s Showcase winners and a recent winner of a 2021 Student Academy Award,” said Jeffrey Sharp, Executive Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. “The Gotham is proud to provide mentorship and facilitate distribution through this inclusive program, and to be joined by our returning partners, JetBlue and Focus Features.”

This year’s participating schools include AFI Conservatory, Chapman University, Columbia College Chicago, Columbia University, Emerson College, Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema (Brooklyn College), Florida State University, Howard University, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, New York Film Academy, New York University, San Francisco State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts, Syracuse University, Temple University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Southern California, University of Texas, Austin, and Vermont College of Fine Art. 

“We’ve been so inspired by the bold and innovative work we’ve seen from students and recent graduates,” said Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski. “It’s an honor to be able to bolster such talented and diverse filmmakers at the start of their careers and to provide a platform for them to reach a wider audience.”

“As New York’s hometown airline, we could not be prouder to support the prolific and diverse talent this city champions,” said Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue. “We are excited to continue our partnership with The Gotham Film & Media Institute, and look forward to continuing to use our library of inflight entertainment as a discovery platform for the next generation of filmmakers.”

About The Gotham Film & Media Institute
The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition. The organization, under the leadership of Executive Director and award-winning producer Jeffrey Sharp, fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Gotham Week, Gotham Labs, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Awards, Gotham EDU, Owning It, and Expanding Communities.

The Gotham Awards, one of the leading honors for independent film and television, provides early acknowledgement to groundbreaking independent films and television series. Selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film, the Gotham Awards are the first honors of the film awards season. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that The Gotham Film & Media Institute does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

Focus Features acquires and produces specialty films for the global market and holds a library of iconic movies, with 136 Academy Award Nominations and 26 wins from fearless filmmakers. Upcoming and current releases from Focus include Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain from acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Neville, the BAFTA® nominated Limbo from director Ben Sharrock, Edgar Wright’s supernatural thriller Last Night in Sohofrom Working Title and his documentary film debut The Sparks Brothers, Robert Eggers’ Viking epic The Northman starring Alexander Skaarsgard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke and Björk, Justin Chon’s powerful drama Blue Bayou and the highly anticipated Downton Abbey 2 including the return of the original cast with new additions Dominic West, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock and Nathalie Baye. Universal Pictures International has led distribution in select markets for titles including Last Night in Soho, Roadrunner, Blue Bayou, Tom McCarthy’s Stillwater starring Matt Damon, Paul Schrader’s thriller The Card Counter starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe; Wolf starring George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp; the supernatural horror You Won’t Be Alone, and Kenneth Branagh’s humorous, tender and intensely personal Belfast starring Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds and Jude Hill.

Focus is part of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), which produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms.  UFEG’s global division also includes Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and DreamWorks Animation.  UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.  NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.  

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JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue carries customers across the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America, and between New York and London. For more information, visit


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