Still from Soy Sola, by Natalie Luque, winner of 2019 DGA Student Film Award

Two Current Students Receive DGA Student Film Award

BY Felix van Kann, December 19, 2019

It’s been a successful year for Columbia filmmakers at the DGA Student Film Awards. Two current students, Wale Olukayode and Natalia Luque, received honors from the prestigious organization. Olukayode was awarded the DGA award for Best African American Student Filmmaker in the Eastern Region for his film Home. Luque’s film Soy Sola took the Jury Award in the category Best Latino Student Filmmaker in the Eastern Region. Both films were 8-12 minute films, their final projects as first year students. 


Olukayode’s Home follows Femi, a Nigerian immigrant and supervisor at a supermarket, who has to demote his older brother and his only lifeline in this country. 


Soy Sola tells the story of a beautician struggling with menopause symptoms who is encouraged by her young client to pursue a love interest.


Regarding the awards, the DGA states, “each year the Directors Guild of America holds its annual Student Film Awards for African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and women filmmakers. The awards, which bring the winners prizes of $2,500 from the DGA, are designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to outstanding minority and women film students in film schools and other select universities.”


Still from Home, by Adewale Olukayode, winner of 2019 DGA Student Film Award


Olukayade felt honored by receiving the award, commenting, “The DGA award is an amazing fete and shows that my hard work and effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. As much as I thank the Directors Guild for their support and encouragement, I know that I have to go back to work and create.” 


Luque expressed herself in a similar fashion, stating, “Winning the Jury Prize means a lot to me because I was able to translate Chilean idiosyncrasy and humour to a universal language. Connecting with international audiences and showing a piece of our Latin American reality is a great success for Cecilia (current student and producer of the film Cecilia Otero) and I, who have just started our production company called Hiedra Films.” 


Adewale Olukayode is a writer, director, educator and comedian from New York and Nigeria. He studies at Columbia University’s MFA program for Screenwriting/Directing. His films address themes of justice, transformation and healing. They are influenced by African cinema, which he spoke passionately about at the College de France as a guest lecturer. His directing work has been nominated for two 2014 NY Emmy Awards, including We are One, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival at their Youth Initiative, and his latest short film Home is awaiting a festival run. He is working on his first feature, East New York, which won the Princess Grace Award.








Natalia Luque is a Chilean director and screenwriter currently studying at Columbia University in the MFA Film program. During her time in Chile, Luque worked in several TV networks and directed two short films, Greenhouse and Extinction, that were selected in National Film Festivals. During her time at Columbia University she directed Soy Sola, which won a Chilean post-production grant and was selected to be part of Short Film Corner in Cannes 2019 catalog. Soy Sola has screened at four festivals in Latin America, the Festival de Cine de Valdivia, Rukapillan, La Habana and Bogoshorts, and was the winner of the Jury Prize for the DGA Student Award in the Latino category. She is currently finishing her short film The Virgin, The Old Lady and The Journey, writing her thesis So they say and developing her first feature Well Presented Lady that received the IBERMEDIA award to participate in Andean Workshop. 


The award ceremony took place on December 10 at the Director’s Guild of America’s facility in New York City.