Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Award Reveals Shortlisted Filmmakers

On Jan. 25, eight emerging filmmakers were shortlisted for the 2024 Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, presented in collaboration with the Ghetto Film School and Fifth Season, the global art platform.

Octavia Anderson, Jonathan Estrada-Salazar, Celine Eva, Jeanine Fiser, Kaylen Ng, Miguel Ramirez, Kat Torres and Britt Williams make up the short list of filmmakers chosen by a jury of leaders in arts and entertainment that includes vp, television development and production at Fifth Season Mina Baban; artist Jose Dávila; Deutsche Bank Management board member Claudio de Sanctis; director of Americas at Frieze Christine Messineo; writer and director Julio Quintana; head of content for 1Community Ameet Shukla; and CEO of Ghetto Film School Montea Robinson.

Now the winner has been announced: The 2024 Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, now in its fifth year, was given to Ng and announced at a private invitation-only ceremony on March 1 during Frieze Los Angeles 2024, where the filmmaker was presented with a $10,000 prize. The accompanying Audience Award, which carries a prize of $2,500 for the most popular film, was given to Britt Williams.

Ng’s film, titled The Metamorphosis Project, portrays a main character, Eric, who has the chance to test out an experience in virtual living after receiving a troubling diagnosis, while Williams’ film, Soft Launch, focuses on a controversial CEO of a tech company, who, amid a software launch, defends her work to a journalist.

“Thanks to the Frieze Art Fair and Deutsche Bank, each of our filmmakers has had the opportunity to be inspired by and debut original work within a world-renowned international art fair,” says Ghetto Film School’s Robinson. “In a moment where storytelling continues to cross medium and format, this program offers a unique relevance and visibility for their talents. This union of personal exploration and broadened horizons invariably results in films that push boundaries, challenge expectations and inspire audiences.”

The selected filmmakers, chosen from an open casting call of applicants between the ages of 18 and 34 in the Los Angeles area, participated in a three-month program led by the Ghetto Film School to create a short film that tackles the subject of “technological transformations,” a theme that Robinson tells The Hollywood Reporter, “Feels apt for the moment in which we’re living.”

“We’re facing questions about the unprecedented convergence of art and technology, where conversations regarding their overlapping roles can bring an entire industry to a halt. In that sense, our theme addresses ideas and concepts that will have an indelible impact on the future of storytelling. We are excited to present a group of talented and ambitious filmmakers who are tackling these questions in their work, engaging with the topic on both a personal and a collective level. Because at its core, the relationship between art and technology is something that necessitates exploration in both the individual and the societal spheres in order to be fully appreciated.”

To that end, Robinson stresses the importance of the Frieze art fair, and Deutsche Bank’s 20-plus-year commitment to it, in providing a platform for thought-provoking creatives whose work can shape the future of the industry.

Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award Fellows, from left, Kat Torres, Britt Williams, Jonathan Estrada-Salazar, Octavia Anderson, Jeanine Fiser, Kaylen Ng, Miguel Ramirez, Celine Eva

Courtesy of Michael Rossetti

“The opportunities offered by the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award take root long before the announcement of the award recipient,” she says. “Through this program, filmmakers assume positions of creative leadership, utilizing the inspiration afforded by a unique collection to hone their skills — then tempered against real-world experience.

“To be recognized on a global scale, alongside such a historic collection in the context of fine art, can elevate a filmmaker’s reference and network,” adds Robinson. “This opportunity does not stand alone. It’s a jumping-off point for adept creatives and a chance for them to ascend to even greater levels of efficacy, in order to create works which none of us could have imagined.”

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