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A collage of film stills showing an animated hotdog, two women in an embrace, an African American woman in blue by the window, a young girl and a old man looking outward.
"Fine Cut Festival of Films" winners for 2021.

Fine Cut 2021 Winners

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Congratulations to our young filmmakers who won top prizes in this year's "Fine Cut Festival of Films."

This year, over 350 films were submitted during April and May by filmmakers enrolled in over 30 Southern California schools. This year's selected films tackled such themes as climate change, mental health and LGBTQ relationships with almost 70% of the stories from filmmakers of color. Almost 70% of the finalist films were also directed or produced by female filmmakers. Watch short films from these promising talents!

Full list of "Fine Cut Festival of Films" winners in 2021:

Jack Larson Southern California Filmmaker Award

"Your Friend, Ranger Doug"
Claire Jantzen and Sara Rose Nell
Chapman University

Watch "Your Friend, Ranger Doug."
Your Friend, Ranger Doug

Narrative Award

"When The Tide Rises"
Alex Jiang
University of Southern California

An Asian lady cuts the hair of a young Asian girl wrapped in a towel.
"When the Tide Rises" tells the story of a Chinese lesbian couple after they adopt. Watch the short film on the third episode of "Fine Cut," "What Went Wrong." | Still from "When the Tide Rises"

Documentary Award

"Not Just A Name"
De'Onna “Tree” Young-Stephens
University of Southern California

An African American woman in a blue dress looks out the window.
"Not Just a Name" tackles the social stigma and racial bias of having a strange sounding name. Watch the full short film on the fourth episode of "Fine Cut," "It Shaped Me." | Still from "Not Just a Name"

Animation Award

FRANKIE THE HOT DOG: Gymnastics Star
Lee Witz
California Institute of the Arts

An animated hotdog wearing an exercise headband runs triumphantly while confetti rains down
A hotdog girl competes in the world championship gymnastics competition in "FRANKIE THE HOT DOG: Gymnastics Star." Watch the full short film on the second episode of "Fine Cut," Games, Competition, Rivalry." | Still from "FRANKIE THE HOT DOG: Gymnastics Star"

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Register for the 2022 'Fine Cut' Speaker Series

Dive deep into specific filmmaking topics with industry leaders with this free event. Register now.
A still from the short animated film "Wolf and Cub" depicts a Black father and son standing at the edge of a cliff, looking off to a vast desert landscape. In the middle of the desert landscape is a building. The son is piggy-backed on the father's shoulders and the father is holding some sort of staff.

An Animator’s Sudden Death Derailed His Film, So His Friends Finished It for Him

The short animated film was the last script written by CalArts animator and writer Marvin Scott Bynoe before his sudden death March 2020. Over a year later, the unfinished project was completed by over 80 CalArts students and professors as a labor of love.
An elderly man stands wearing a powder blue puffer jacket and a teal windbreaker underneath. His hands are in his pockets and a baseball cap sits on top of his head. Behind him is a gorgeous landscape consisting of a towering, snowcapped mountain to his left and a forest of trees of various shades of greens, orange and yellow.

'Your Friend, Ranger Doug' Tells the Story of Climate Change on a Human Scale

Five Chapman University students braved the Montana winter to tell the story of longtime park ranger Doug Follett as he confronts the decline of Glacier National Park and reflects on the legacy he leaves behind in short documentary "Your Friend, Ranger Doug."