MFA Student Amanda Gotera wins Princess Grace Award

While few young girls have ever grown up to become actual princesses (unless of course, they are Grace Kelly), only a select group of adults get to call themselves Princess Grace Award winners. The Department of Radio-Television-Film is delighted to announce that graduate student Amanda Gotera is among these elite, as a 2014–2015 Princess Grace Film Graduate Award Winner. The award comes with the sum of $14,040, all of which is designated to go directly towards the production of her thesis film, “Middle Witch.”

Established in 1982 as a tribute to the late Princess Grace of Monaco (née Grace Kelly), the Princess Grace Foundation-USA supports emerging talent in theater, dance, and film through scholarships and grants. The Foundation will recognize Gotera for her award at their annual Awards Gala in Los Angeles, on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

“I'm so honored to have the support of the Princess Grace Foundation,” said Gotera in response to the announcement. “It's definitely going to have a huge effect on the scope and scale of my thesis film. This kind of funding affords me so much artistic freedom, and the kind of narrative I'm able to tell is going to open up a lot.”

She extended her gratitude beyond the Foundation to “the wonderful collaborators and mentors” she’s found in the RTF program and to the “support and momentum this community gives” her.

With a background in anthropology and creative writing, the third-year MFA student’s long-term career goal is to make science fiction and fantasy media that "privileges the voices of women and girls of color and size." Her two previous films, Launch Sequence and Ronnie Monsters both explored this intersection of girlhood and science fiction, as will her upcoming thesis project, Middle Witch, a contemporary folktale about the relationship between three adolescent sisters.

“I intend to tell a fairy story that keeps its teeth sharp and features heroines who are neither charming nor easily-digestible but human and messy and dark,” states Gotera in her grant application.

To create the fantastical elements in the film, Gotera plans to incorporate her technical training in Visual Effects, through a subtle blend of practical and digital FX.

Fittingly, Gotera’s own fairytale princess story is uniquely contemporary: she earned her title and reward by being what RTF Department Chair Paul Stekler describes as "a natural storyteller, a gifted director and a terrific writer.”

Elana Wakeman
Communications & Programs Coordinator