Finalists Announced for 19th Annual FINE CUT Festival of Films

KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station, announced today the finalists and the broadcast dates for the 19th annual FINE CUT Festival of Films, a collection of exemplary short films from Southern California student filmmakers that is made possible by The Bridges / Larson Foundation.

In total,16 short films (25 minutes or under) were selected as finalists in the categories of Documentary, Animation and Narrative shorts.

Winners in each of the categories will be announced at a private awards ceremony and screening event sponsored by IndieWire on Wed., Sept. 19 at the Director’s Guild of America (7920 Sunset Blvd. Blvd., LA, CA 90046) and awarded the opportunity to be a part of the American Pavilion screening at the Cannes International Film Festival in May of 2019 thanks to a partnership with The American Pavilion, the epicenter of American hospitality and communication at the world’s largest film market.

All short films selected as finalists in the FINE CUT Festival of Films will be included in a series of half-hour broadcast episodes on KCET public television in Southern California that will air starting Wed., Sept. 26 at 9 p.m. with many films available for streaming at

Finalists and winners in each category were determined by an industry panel of ten esteemed experts that included Pixar’s Animation Studios director Domee Shi (Bao, Inside Out, Incredibles 2, The Good Dinosaur), film/TV producer Effie T. Brown (Dear White People, Star, Project Greenlight), Indiewire film reporter Jenna Marotta, actress/writer/composer Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Blindspot, Without a Trace, Broadchurch, Training Day), story artist Michael Herrera (Angry Birds the Movie, Wreck It Ralph 2), Chief Film Critic/KCET Must See Movies Host Pete Hammond, producer/director Phillip Rodriguez (Los Angeles Now, The Rise and Fall of Brown Buffalo, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle), Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (IDA) Simon Kilmurry (PBS’ POV), Head of Logo Documentary Films Taj Paxton (Hungry, Out of Iraq, The IT Project) and animator/writer/producer Van Partible (Pete the Cat, Johnny Bravo, The Cartoon Cartoon Show).

A fourth trip to the 2019 Cannes film festival will be awarded to the recipient of The Jack Larson Student Filmmaker Award which exemplifies FINE CUT founder Jack Larson’s commitment to fostering new generations of filmmakers in Southern California. This award recognizes the filmmaker’s strength as a storyteller. Last year’s recipient of this award, Southern California film student Tom Teller (“Hum”), will review the finalists from this year’s pool to select the 2018 honoree.

In addition to appearing as part of the broadcast series, all finalists of the 19th Annual FINE CUT Festival of Films are also eligible for the Viewers Choice Competition, where filmmakers will have a chance to have their peers and at-home viewers vote online at during and up to one-week after the broadcast date. The winning filmmaker will be notified in November and receive a production package prize worth over $15,000.

The winning Animation, Documentary, Narrative and Jack Larson Student Filmmaker Award films will be selected as part of the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, hosted by The American Pavilion as well as a networking event.

Each filmmaker will receive a cash prize up to $500 to use towards airfare and accommodations for five nights through The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Travel Accommodations program. Additionally, three of the winning films from The 21st Annual American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase competition will be featured in the FINE CUT broadcast series.

The finalists were announced as follows:

al imam (University of Southern California)
Documentary directed by Omar Al Dakheel

Candy Crushed (California Institute of the Arts)
Animation directed by Chloe Hsu

Deviant (San Diego State University)
Narrative directed by Benjamin Howard

Dumpling (California Institute of the Arts)
Animation directed by Siti Lu

General Dupont in General Dupont Does Laundry (University of California, Los Angeles)
Animation directed by Kim Nguyen

If You Want Out (San Diego State University)
Documentary directed by Mark Ledbetter

Kip (Biola University)
Documentary directed by Nicholas Moyer & Nate Norell

Labor (University of California, Los Angeles)
Narrative directed by Cecilla Albertnini

On Time (University of Southern California)
Narrative directed by Xavier Neal-Burgin

One Small Step (University of Southern California)
Narrative directed by: Aqsa Altaf

Raccoon and the Light (California Institute of the Arts)
Animation directed by Hanna Kim

Serial Killer Superstar (University of Southern California)
Narrative directed by Joseph Picozzi

Where I was Born (California Institute of the Arts)
Animation directed by Jungmin Cha

American Pavilion (AP) Selections

Guns Found Here (Emerging Filmmaker) – won AP “Best Emerging Documentary 2018”
Documentary directed by David Freid

My Mom and the Girl (Emerging Filmmaker) – AP “Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ Showcase – Honorable Mention 2017”
Narrative directed by Susie Singer Carter

Night Call (Chapman University) – won AP “Best Student Film 2018”
Narrative directed by Amanda Renee Knox

Over 300 films were submitted by filmmakers enrolled in 54 Southern California schools (36 collegiate level and 18 grade schools). Additional stats include:

50% of the finalists had a director that was a person of color
56% of the finalists were female directors
13% of the finalists included LGBTQ themes

The festival is a tribute to FINE CUT founder Jack Larson who was an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer who may be best known for his portrayal of photographer/reporter Jimmy Olsen in the 1952-1958 television series Adventures of Superman. In the late 1990s Larson approached Southern California’s KCET with the idea of creating a student film series that would provide talented students with the much needed opportunity to have their short films selected for television broadcast. Larson understood how difficult it was for young filmmakers to get broad exposure for their work because, typically, student work is only seen at special screenings and film festivals. Larson thought that public television was an excellent platform for providing critical visibility to emerging filmmakers. KCET shared Larson’s enthusiasm and together they created FINE CUT, which continues to be a flagship program for KCET today.

Funding for FINE CUT is generously provided by The Bridges/Larson Foundation

Join the conversation on social media using #FineCut

*KCET and Link TV are expected to merge with PBS SoCal, subject to regulatory approvals.


On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 54-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services and its website, KCET is a donor-supported community institution.. KCET is a part of the KCETLink Media Group. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV, YouTube, Amazon and Roku platforms. For more information visit

%d bloggers like this: