best of NFMLA award winners 2024
A still from Wake Up Leonard courtesy of NFMLA

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles has announced announcing the winners of its 12th annual Best of NFMLA Awards, and they include best new filmmaker winner Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz and best feature film Wake Up, Leonard.

This year’s edition of the awards included 130 nominees across 16 categories, from which the jury selected the winners. Among the jury was Yvette Miley, executive vice president of NBCU News Group and NBCU Academy. 

“What a wealth of outstanding content, powerful storytelling and authentic narratives in this year’s pool of content. The creators – were  so deserving of recognition for wonderful work,” she said.

Receiving the top prize of best new filmmaker, Fernández-Ruiz received a $2,500 NFMLA Anthony Rhulen cash grant and a full frame Blackmagic Cinema  Camera 6K.

Fernández-Ruiz is a Los Angeles based writer, director, and producer. He holds an MFA in directing from the AFI Conservatory, hails from Boston, and is a proud father to twins.  His coming of age short film “Jerome” was a finalist for the HBO Short Film Award and will be premiering on Max later this year. His satirical horror-comedy short “Saborrrr!” was the most  diverse BIPOC crew in the history of Utah film, according to the Utah Film Commission. His short film “Dead Flesh” is a finalist for the Louisiana Film Prize, and his feature film script “Summer of Mercedes” is a  quarterfinalist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholls Screenwriting Competition.

“I was already fortunate to have been nominated and now, as I receive this award from NFMLA, I am filled with a profound feeling of  humility. The fact that a jury with such diverse perspectives has come together to support and endorse my voice validates the work.  Awards like this one break down the barriers to entering the film industry, allowing us to captivate audiences universally, ignite  meaningful discussions, and foster a sense of community” Fernández-Ruiz said.

Prizes for the categories best short film, drama, best short film comedy, best international short film drama, best international short film comedy, best new media & experimental, best short film animated, best feature film, and best screenplay include a premium licenses for the script software Scriptation. The winner of the best documentary feature film category will be awarded with a full frame Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K.  

Also Read: Superhuman Kombucha and a Secret Addiction Highlight NFMLA’s InFocus: Disabilities Program

See the Full List of Best of NFMLA Winners Below

A still from “Fishmonger” courtesy of NFMLA

Best New Filmmaker 

Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz  

Best Feature Film  

Wake Up, Leonard – Directed by Kat Mills Martin and Produced by Maria Krovatin, Kat Mills Martin, Nigel DeFriez & Kira Pearson  

Best Documentary Feature Film  

Join or Die – Directed by Rebecca Davis and Produced by Rebecca Davis & Pete Davis  

Best Short Film, Documentary  

Wild Magnolias – Directed and Produced by Alexandra Kern

Best Short Film, Comedy  

Fishmonger – Directed by Neil Ferron and Produced by Valerie Steinberg, Jordan Willcox & Neil Ferron  

Best Short Film, Drama  

The Ballad of Tita and The Machines – Directed by Miguel Angel Caballero and Produced by Helena Sardinha & Rafael Thomaseto  

Best International Short Film, Comedy  

Sweet Refuge – Directed by Maryam Mir

Best International Short Film, Drama  

Big Bang – Directed by Carlos Segundo

Best Short Film, Animated  

The Cave – Directed by Kim Jinman & Chon Jiyoung  

Best New Media & Experimental  

Sallad – Directed by Tramaine Townsend and Produced by Amir Meghani, Hance Taplin & Jairus Midget  

Best Screenplay  

Each Lovely Thing – Written by Paloma Nozicka. Lucas A. Ferrara & Vance Smith  

Best Performance, Comedy  

Galen Howard, What Wilderness Permits  

Best Performance, Drama  

Renee Victor, This One is For the Neighborhood  

Best Cinematography  

Morvarid Reyes Talebzadeh, Guillotine 

Best Film Editing  

Goldie Jones, I’m Sorry, I Tried, I Love You  

Best Sound Design  

Matt Cimino, Four Nights and a Fire  

Best Score  

Maha Al-Saati, VHS Tape Replaced  

Main Image: A still from Wake Up Leonard courtesy of NFMLA

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