Posted September 29, 2009

Two SCT students receive national honor for creative work

Princess Grace awards recognize emerging talent in theater, dance, and film

  • Chinonye Chukwu, a third-year MFA candidate, is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter and director.

An MFA filmmaker and undergraduate theater major in the School of Communications and Theater have been honored with prestigious Princess Grace Awards.

The awards are given by the Princess Grace Foundation, a national organization dedicated to identifying and assisting emerging talent in theater, dance, and film by providing grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships.

MFA candidate Chinonye Chukwu was one of six student filmmakers in the nation to receive the honor, and will be awarded $24,000 to produce her thesis film, Chidinma and Buchi, to be shot in her native Nigeria late this year.

Chinonye’s work features complex representations of Africans and African-Americans with a focus on women and the challenges they face in attempting to build a dual identity. In application for the award, Chinonye submitted a proposal for the new film, along with a copy of her recently completed production, Igbu Kwenu!,which was shot during a screen directing course under the supervision of film and media arts professor Warren Bass.

The film received a 2009 Pennsylvania Independent Film and Video Association grant from the independent film community and was selected best motion picture and best screenplay at Temple’s 2009 Diamond Screen awards.

Chukwu is the third Temple students to receive the award in narrative filmmaking over the last five years — more in the category than any other school in the country.

Junior Craig Bazan, who appeared in Temple Theater’s production of The Seven last season, received the award in theater and playwriting as part of a 15-week apprenticeship at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, in Camden.

In the summer of 2007, Bazan was filmed performing a monologue from Hamlet titled “Hamlet on the Street” across the street from his high school in Camden, N.J. The video was featured on the main page of YouTube and on ABC News.

Previous Princess Grace Award winners from Temple include Karen Carpenter (2005), whose film My Scarlet Letter also won the Hamptons International Film Festival, and Heidi Saman (2006), whose film The Maid was selected for the international Cannes Film Festival.