Communication senior wins Princess Grace Award in film

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August 19, 2014

Northwestern University School of Communication senior Laurel Cohen has been awarded a Princess Grace Award in film by the Princess Grace Foundation USA.

The foundation was established by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to commemorate Princess Grace (Kelly) after her death in 1982. The annual awards single out emerging artists in dance, theatre, and film. Winners are nominated by schools and nonprofit performing companies, and receive funding in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships. Winners also receive a piece of jewelry by artist Alex Soldier. This year the foundation is granting nearly $1 million to its selected artists. All winners are listed at the foundation’s site.

Cohen was nominated by a committee of Northwestern faculty members, led by Department of Radio/Television/Film professor Laura Kipnis. “When I solicited nominations from the production faculty for this award, her name was mentioned first by all the professors who’ve had her in classes,” Kipnis said.

One faculty member and committee member, lecturer Erik Gernand, said, “Laurel is a student with ambition, talent, and the drive to make things happen. She is an amazing student: a leader among leaders, a star among stars.”

To be eligible for the award, Cohen submitted clips from two short films she wrote and directed during her time at Northwestern, The House that Wren Built and Jonah and the Crab. She also submitted a music video she directed. Cohen is no stranger to the awards circuit. She won an award at the Northwestern Student Film Festival in her freshman year, and her work has been screened at several festivals, winning awards there, too.

“The Princess Grace Award honors promising young artists in America, and in receiving the award, I feel incredibly encouraged,” Cohen said. “It's a prestigious kind of parental encouragement, like: ‘We notice what you're doing, we like it, and we want you to keep doing it.’ Support means so much in the arts, and PGA's support for my thesis film will help me successfully bridge from the student to professional film world.”

Cohen, who is from Bloomington, Indiana, studies film at Northwestern.

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