A new generation of moviemakers is beginning to sprout up around the country, making colleges and universities the go-to place to look for the next batch of talent. With this in mind, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has begun weeding out the cream of the cinematography crop with its ASC Burton Stone Heritage Award for outstanding achievement in student moviemaking. This year’s recipients of the award include Nathan Levine-Heaney from Florida State University, who took the top prize in the Graduate category, and Aaron Dunson from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, who came up big in the Undergraduate competition.

The awards, dedicated this year to the late industry legend Bud Stone, will be presented in Los Angeles during the 23rd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration on February 15, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, giving the young cinematographers a chance at tasting the limelight early. But the ASC doesn’t just see the award as just a fleeting glimpse of fame. Rather, the award is an entry point for bigger things to come.

“These students have demonstrated an ability to create images for their films that visually evoke the emotions of the story in a collaborative environment,” says ASC president Daryn Okada. “The ASC designed this award to encourage talented student filmmakers to pursue careers in cinematography. Several past winners are now working in the industry and following their dreams.”

And while Levine-Heaney and Dunson won top honors, honorable mentions were also given to graduate students Andrew Russo (University of Southern California) and Amanda Treyz (American Film Institute), as well as Golnar Fakhrai (California State University, Long Beach) and Jeffrey S. Taylor (University of North Carolina School of the Arts), who are pursuing undergraduate degrees. And with all applicants facing some mountainous obstacles to enter for the award, as submissions are required to have a written recommendation from a film school chair, dean or teacher and a panel of ASC members judge each entry, it looks as though all of these students will be following their own dreams and shaping the very way we see movies in the future.