Past Recipients Student Testimonials  

Preston DeFrancis first knew he wanted to be a filmmaker when he borrowed his Aunt's J.C. Penney-brand VHS camcorder when he was five years old. Though he knocked the camera off its tripod and broke it, his desire to use moving pictures to tell stories was not deterred.

A native of Wheeling, West Virginia, Preston once believed that a career in the film and television industry was out of reach. Instead, he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. While there. he also completed minors in film studies and acting and performed and stage managed at the Cleveland Playhouse. He connected with a small but active filmmaking community in Cleveland and realized his dream was possible. He made his first short on Super 8 and soon decided to pursue graduate work in film.

Since coming to the Master of Fine Arts program in Film and Television Production at the University of Southern California, Preston has been working nonstop. writing and directing his own short films. He is thrilled that the Caucus Foundation has chosen to provide such generous support to his thesis pro-iect, "The Big Production."

This summer, Preston spent ten weeks working as a crew member on a feature-length documentary filming across Europe, including the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia. He wants more than anything to direct actors in fiction film or television. He is currently writing a feature, but he also enjoys multi-camera television directing and is intrigued by -the cinematic style of shows such as "Lost." And he is still sorry for breaking his Aunt's camera.

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