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2021 Visions Award Winners Announced

Honoring outstanding visual student work from students in documentary, fiction, digital and new media, screenwriting and photography.

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American University School of Communication (AU SOC) Film and Media Arts Division hosted the annual Visions Awards Ceremony on May 5. Celebrating 41 years, SOC’s Vision Awards honor outstanding visual student work from both graduate and undergraduate students, highlighting the best in documentary, fiction, digital and new media, screenwriting and photography. Award winners are listed below, or you can watch the entire ceremony.

Assistant Professor Kyle(Kylos) Brannon welcomed the audience to the virtual ceremony. The event included a video tribute to Professor John Douglass, longtime director of the Film and Media Arts division, who is retiring from AU this year.

Brannon commented "I was impressed with the work that our students submitted, during this year of COVID and Zooming. The judges were impressed, and I can't stress how proud we all are of the work. Also, I would have been happy with a crowd of 25, so I was thrilled to have 100+ people join in for the ceremony!"

Professor Bill Gentile also recognized several students for special achievements outside of the Visions awards, including:

  • Amelia Tyson and Jessica Marcy for winning this year's AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowship for their proposal to produce a film in Guatemala about the role of religion in forced migration caused by climate change.
  • Robert Boyd for receiving the very competitive National Geographic Storytelling Fulbright. A recent graduate, Boyd will receive storytelling training with the National Geographic Society and will be paired with a mentor drawn from the Explorer community and National Geographic staff.
  • Mary Alice McMillan for receiving the Neel Foundation Fund award, which is supplying her with $3000 in finishing funds for her thesis film, Mapping Love, which also won the Visions award for graduate thesis.

VIsions 2021 Award Winners


Women In Film and Video Awards presented by Assistant Professor Laura Waters Hinson


Forgot Mom’s Birthday by Paige Kaiser


Metamorphosis by Cassidy Nelson


A Tardigrade Thank You by Robert Boyd

Diversity & Inclusion

Soultarian by Danielle “Blue” Lawrence

Photography Awards presented by Manager of Photographic Services Shaun Schroth

Photo Series: Documentary

Honorable Mention: Passing Time in the Early Pandemic by Madeline Mulkern
Winner: From Barley to Beer by Marianne Vormer  

Photo Series: Fine Art

Honorable Mention: At Home on 34 Beech Street by Isabella Feder
Winners: (tie) Film Noir by Courtland Sutton, Poems and Photos by Xochi Chavez

Photo Portfolio

Winner: Fleeting Portfolio by Alysa Michener

Photo Single Image

Honorable Mention: Three Women by Courtland Sutton and Monumental Stance by Judith Kirkikis
Winner: Luka Modrić and Ansu Fati by Jisung Kim

Ron Sutton Visual Literacy Awards presented by Professorial Lecturer Kim Llerena

Gabriella Allen

Tristan Au

Fatima Garcia Gonzalez

Screenwriting Awards presented by Adjunct Professorial Lecturer John Wieskopf

Undergrad Short Fiction


  • Crier by Jasper Lesly
  • Glory Quest by Julia MorganI’ll See You Again by Jhenna Liptak

Winner: Crier by Jasper Lesly

Grad Short Fiction


  • Swipe Right by Kathryn Grossman
  • Yaga by Kathryn Grossman
  • Purple Box by Caroline Jeudy


Yaga by Kathryn Grossman

Feature Fiction presented by Associate Professor Claudia Myers


  • Pullman by Courtland Sutton
  • Dagon by Emily Nesha Streim
  • Silver Tongues by Noah Cohen

Winner – Pullman by Courtland Sutton

New Media Categories presented by Assistant Professor Kylos Brannon

Digital Image Manipulation

Fading Memories by Becky Lake                     

Video Mash-Up

Cowmmodification by Jess Wiegandt                 


Reopening by Hannah Shows

Animation & Interface Media Group New Media Award presented by David Flood


  • Stuck by Yusif Ziyadzade
  • 11 Miles Down Title Sequence by Spencer TrinwithDreamscape by Yari Jamali


Stuck by Yusif Zidyadzade


Video Categories presented by Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning Sarah Menke-Fish

Music Video


  • INPUT/OUTPUT by Scout Pruski
  • Weirdos by Lingyu Sun


INPUT/OUTPUT by Scout Pruski

Undergrad Fiction


  • Trapped by Mara Shepherd
  • Forgot Mom's Birthday by Paige Kaiser
  • Silence With You by Allie Duke


Forgot Mom’s Birthday by Paige Kaiser

Undergrad Documentary (Winner of SONY Doc award)


  • Hotline by Giorgio Citarella II
  • Self Portrait by Maya Costanzo
  • Metamorphosis by Cassidy Nelson


Metamorphosis by Cassidy Nelson

Graduate Documentary (presented by Larry Engel)


  • Soultarian by Danielle “Blue” Lawrence
  • In Plain Sight by Robert Boyd
  • Choosing Curiosity by Becky Lake


Soultarian by Danielle “Blue” Lawrence

Graduate Fiction Short


  • lways With Me by Yari Jamali
  • A Tardigrade Thank You by Robert Boyd
  • Razor by Becky Lake


A Tardigrade Thank You by Robert Boyd

Graduate Fiction Long (Winner of WILL Interactive Award) 


  • The Sacrifice by Noah Pescara
  • Compromise by Emma Kamara

Winner: The Sacrifice by Noah Pescara

Graduate Thesis (Presented by John Douglass) (Winner of SONY Grad Doc Award)


  • Mapping Love by Mary Alice McMillan
  • Faces of a [Redacted*] Diaspora by Asia Denise Nicholson

Winner: Mapping Love by Mary Alice McMillan