Past Recipients Student Testimonials  

Eli Akira Kaufman was born in San Francisco to a pair of middle school teachers with a passion for film. After teaching 8`h grade himself for several years, Mr. Kaufman decided to pursue the family love affair with movies and enrolled in the MFA directing program at The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In his second year at UCLA Mr. Kaufman landed an internship as the personal assistant to Mark and Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho & Jackpot) as an IFP/West Project: Involve Honoree on their third film, NORTHFORK. In addition to going on location in Montana with the Polish brothers, Mr. Kaufman was actually cast in the film as a gravedigger in a scene opposite Nick Nolte. Mr. Kaufman has written and directed several short films, including Birthday Haiku, and just completed Winning the Peace, which was funded in part by Showtime Networks Inc. as a part of a special series of student films about images of war in the 21st century to be broadcast on Showtime early next fall. Beyond making films, he has also directed live theatre for The UCLA Francis Ford Coppola One Act Play Festival. Mr. Kaufman has won several student filmmaker awards including The Jim Morrison Prize for Directing; The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation Production Grant; and the Alfred P. Sloan Film Production Award for his thesis film script The Laws of eMotion, currently in preproduction.

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