The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors and its Foundation held its 24th Annual Awards Dinner on December 8, 2006 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Among the guests present were student filmmakers from The Caucus Foundation’s Student Grant Program Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. Attending were Zack Godshall, UCLA; Aminta Goyel, USC; Eric Lin, NYU; Christine Shin, USC; James Darling, NYU; Preston DeFrancis, USC; Nicole Haeusser, Michelle Hung, & Miranda Yousef all of UCLA. Nathan Collett of USC was unable to attend – he was filming in Kenya.

Chuck Fries, President of The Caucus Foundation then presented The Caucus Foundation’s third annual Gold Circle Award for an Outstanding Student Film to Nicole Haeusser of UCLA for her student thesis film. “The Death Strip” is a story of Mike, 11 years old (1980) is the only survivor when his family is forced to escape from East Berlin over the Death Strip. Ten years later, he reluctantly returns to the unified Germany to confront his past and the truth behind his mother’s disappearance in the STASI machinery (former Secret Police). In addition to the $2,500 award, Ric Halpern presented Nicole a camera package valued at $15,000 given by the PANAVISION New Film Maker Program.

Fries then presented an award for second place of $1,000 to Michelle Hung, also of UCLA, for her student thesis film, “Chinese Dumplings”, a story of two young sisters who resist their daily violin practice and learn about tradition, family and loyalty. On obedient sister Grace’s 8th birthday, rebellious sister Luch suggests they skip their daily violin practice to go play outside. Ed Sullivan of Illuminate presented Michelle with a high definition post production package valued at $10,000.

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