Frieze and Deutsche Bank announced the winner for their second annual Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award, a $10,000 prize awarded to an emerging L.A.-based filmmaker.
The award, presented in association with Endeavor Content and Ghetto Film School, went to John Rizkallah, while Jane Chow earned the initiative’s first-ever audience award, which was voted for by the public. The news was announced during a virtual ceremony, during which all 10 of the initiative’s fellows — Tayo Amos, Alyse Arteaga, Giselle Bonilla, Jeremy Burkett, Chow, Ashley Chrisman, David Liu, Rizkallah, Andres Vazquez and Ciara Zoe — had their films presented.
“John Rizkallah and Jane Chow’s unique, deeply personal films that highlight their respective communities, made under challenging COVID-19 conditions, showcase the caliber of the next generation of innovative storytellers,” said Dan Guando, Endeavor Content’s senior vice president of film development and production, while announcing the winners. “We salute all of the amazing films from this year’s group of talented fellows.”
Rizkallah was selected as the winner of the $10,000 prize by a panel composed of Emmy-nominated producer Stephanie Allain; Thelma Golden, The Studio Museum in Harlem’s director and chief curator; Orion Pictures president Alana Mayo; and actor, musician and producer Naomi Scott. Representatives from Deutsche Bank, Frieze and Ghetto Film School also served on the selection committee, including Guando; Claudio de Sanctis, Deutsche Bank’s head of international private bank and CEO EMEA; Frieze co-founder Amanda Sharp; and Sharese Bullock-Bailey, Ghetto Film School’s chief strategy and partnership officer.
On behalf of the jury, Mayo added: “I want to extend my congratulations not only to John Rizkallah and Jane Chow but also all of the fellows this year, for their brilliant and accomplished films. It was incredible to see how each of the fellows honed their voice and vision in their storytelling and I can’t wait to see how their generation will shape and define the film industry.”
Rizkallah is a first-generation Palestinian American filmmaker from Southern California, whose film “Dear Mama” portrays a young woman from the Middle East recounting her first experience in L.A. to her mother back home.
“I decided to make a film about my mother’s first experience in Los Angeles after leaving her home in Palestine and how the ocean was a consistent reminder that her mother was just on the other side,” he added. “I am thankful to the competition for giving this film a platform at a time when the world had its eyes on Palestine. I hope the film will spread awareness and allow me to tell more Palestinian stories. I would like to thank everyone involved who supported me and helped nurture my skills as a filmmaker.”
Chow is a filmmaker from Hong Kong, whose movie “Sorry for the Inconvenience” is based in L.A.’s Chinatown. It depicts a lonely teenager as she tries to help her parents keep their seafood restaurant afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As someone who grew up in Hong Kong and moved to America without family or citizenship, I’ve always found a home in Los Angeles Chinatown, getting to know the people who came before me,” Chow said of her film. “With this film, I wanted to humanize the families behind Chinatown’s immigrant-owned businesses and show their fight to stay afloat during the pandemic. I want to thank my peers and supervisors in the fellowship for inspiring me to grow.”