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Student wins Film Arts Foundation's STAND Award

December 1, 2006

Photo of Maya ChinchillaGraduate student Maya Chinchilla is one of six emerging Bay Area film and video makers to win the 2006 STAND Award from the Film Arts Foundation.

The STAND (Support, Training and Access for New Directors) Award includes a $300 grant, mentorship from experienced filmmakers, $1,800 worth of courses and equipment at the Film Arts Foundation and a complimentary one-year Film Arts Foundation membership.

Chinchilla is using the award for her documentary about three Bay Area artists whose parents emigrated from Central America -- a painter, a writer and a poet. Chinchilla, whose father immigrated to the United States from Guatemala, wants her work to increase visibility of the many artists, minorities and women overlooked in mainstream media.

"Often, Central Americans are only thought of as refugees of civil war," she said, "but there's this huge second generation who are creating their own identity and own art."

Chinchilla, an Oakland resident and Long Beach native, is the director of two short documentaries that have screened at film festivals in California and beyond.

"The Last Word," about a women-of-color group of spoken-word poets, has screened at the 2006 Women of Color Film and Video Film Festival at University of California, Santa Cruz, and the 2006 San Francisco International Latino Film Festival. "Made in Brazil," about a Brazilian nonprofit organization that provides housing, jobs, education, health care and skills training to families, has screened at the 2006 Girl Fest in Honolulu, Hawaii. It will also screen at the Boyle Heights Latina Independent Film Extravaganza, to be held Dec. 8-10 in East Los Angeles.

Both of Chinchilla's documentaries were shot on digital video and as part of her coursework in SF State's Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department.

"She really combines her sense of community and community activism with video," Professor John Hewitt said. "She's opening up our view to what are often called 'walled city documentaries,' taking us to places we haven't been. She does this with a really intense sense of communal involvement."

Chinchilla teaches video at an after-school program at Urban Promise Academy, a middle school in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of Maya Chinchilla


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Last modified December 1, 2006 by University Communications