The Volker Bahnemann Award: 2021 GRAD


  • Mélanie Akoka

    Mélanie Akoka

    Mélanie Akoka is a French writer, director and cinematographer of North-African descent. She graduated from the Sorbonne University in Paris where she studied philosophy before working at a post-production and film lab where she developed her passion for film. She was also a member of a contemporary dance company as dancer and choreographer before moving to New York City.

    She recently completed her 3rd year as a Graduate film student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Since she joined NYU, she served as cinematographer on over a dozen short films which played at festivals such as Sundance and SXSW. She recently won the Nestor Almendros award for best female cinematography.


  • Gianna Badiali

    Gianna Badiali

    Gianna Badiali is a Swiss DP and writer-director based in New York City, where she is currently a 4th Year MFA candidate at NYU’s Graduate Film Program. After a childhood spent in Zurich, Mumbai and Milan, she earned degrees in Visual Arts and Computer Science from Brown University before pursuing a career in filmmaking. Her work has screened at Torino Film Festival, Santiago International Film Festival and Cartagena International Film Festival, among others.

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  • Mauro Fernandez

    Mauro Fernandez

    Mauro was born and raised in Uruguay. He has a solid background in architecture, music, arts and a passion for travelling that led him to live in several continents. Made his first steps in cinematography shooting documentaries in Chile, the US, Uruguay, Guatemala and Peru before moving to New York to study at Tisch. While at NYU he started working as a cameraman for Netflix, was mentored by cinematographer Vanja Cernjul ASC (Marco Polo, The Deuce) during production of the film Here Today directed by Billy Crystal, and many of the shortfilms he shot played in festivals around the world.

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