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Feature: 2014 BAFTA New York Scholarship Winners

23 September 2014
BAFTA/Geoffrey Hauschild

BAFTA New York is happy to announce the 2014 Media Studies Scholarship winners. The initiative which supports undergraduate and graduate students pursuing media studies at institutions located within the New York City area, will award seven scholarships due to the generous support of New York based businesses.

This year’s winners are: Lin Que Ayoung studying at Hunter College (A+E Networks); Camille Brown pursuing a graduate degree at Brooklyn College (BBC AMERICA); Lucien Follini-Press studying a graduate degree at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (HBO); Stephen Lorusso for a graduate degree at Brooklyn College (DreamWorks Animation); Melissa Rodriguez pursuing a graduate degree at Brooklyn College (Walkers Shortbread); John Sowulski pursuing a graduate degree at Brooklyn College (DLT Entertainment) and Tina Zarbaliev studying at Hunter College (BAFTA New York in honor of Don & Eleanor Taffner.

"It is thrilling to see the growth in the BAFTA New York scholarship program,” said Linda Kahn, Co-Chair of BAFTA New York Outreach Committee. “Significantly, this is our third year and we have more scholarships, sponsors and universities than ever before. Sponsored by A+E Networks, BBC AMERICA, DLT Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, HBO and Walkers Shortbread, the BAFTA New York scholarships focus on media studies in TV and film. The scholarships, which are based on merit and need, include graduate students from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Brooklyn College as well as undergraduates from Hunter College. We are excited to extend the program to these outstanding students and to provide them with mentoring opportunities."

The BAFTA New York Media Studies Scholarship Program is part of the ‘Give Something Back’ campaign—BAFTA’s worldwide charitable initiative that supports talented people at all stages of their career in film, television and games.

Winner’s bios:
Lin Que Ayoung, Hunter College – A+E Networks

Lin Que Ayoung is a senior at Hunter College pursuing a Cinema Studies/Film undergraduate degree with the intention to become a director/writer in the film industry. Ms. Ayoung has written and directed six short films as part of her course of study. Her most recent projects include Mirror (2013) a story about how a destitute young man’s ability to dream facilitates his escape from a world of deprivation; and Committed (2014) a psychological thriller that is currently in post-production. In addition to her studies, Ms. Ayoung is a research and development intern at Bobby Flay’s production company Rock Shrimp Productions.

Camille Brown, Brooklyn College – BBC AMERICA

Camille Brown is pursuing an MFA in TV production at Brooklyn College. Entering her second year, she has received the BAFTA New York BBC AMERICA Diversity in Media Scholarship. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in dramatic arts/dance, Ms. Brown a recipient of both the Eisner Prize for creativity and the Horence Schwimely Scholarship, relocated to New York City. She joined The Martha Graham Dance Company, working directly with Martha. As a soloist she rendered many roles. Brown’s career straddles both the concert dance world and Broadway. She debuted in Chris Renshaw’s award winning revival of The King and I as an ensemble member, and was an original ensemble member of The Lion King, understuding Sarabi and Nala. A commercial career includes a portfolio complied as a print model. She is featured in Lois Greenfield’s art dance bookAirborne and has also appeared in numerous commercials. As a dance instructor, she has taught internationally. Thanks to the 92nd Street YMHA and Pace University space grants she has cobbled together a collection of her own choreographic work. Ms. Brown also pursued parallel interests while working as a performing artist. She studied playwriting with James Lecsne at NYU, sitcom with Sarit Catz at the PIT, and the one-person show with Matt Hoverman. nHer work Perishable Goods premiered at The New York International Fringe Festival and Temporary Shelter at Emerging Artist’s One Woman Standing Reading Series. Osama Loves Whitney premiered at the Strawberry One Act Festival. Her interest in production lead her to a PA position at The Insider filmed from of the Lion King lobby, an editing class at Harvestworks Digital Media, and an office position with Ellen Parks casting Flirting With Disaster. In addition to the BAFTA New York scholarship, Ms. Brown has received financial support and career counseling from Career Transition for Dancers.

Lucien Follini–Press, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts - HBO

Lucien Follini-Press is a film student on his way to become a filmmaker, currently based in London and New York City. An avid writer, he was first published in a collection of short stories at sixteen and grew up working in and around the British stage, including stints under Caryl Churchill and Stephen Daldry. Mr. Follini-Press received first class honors in English from Oxford University, where he also won their Screenwriting Competition and started experimenting with film. He was subsequently invited to study at NYU's Graduate Film Program, but still goes back to London to make shorts. He has just finished his latest with Danny Webb and Harley Kierans. He is currently developing his first feature,Strangeways, and writing a music video for the UK rapper Skepta.

Stephen Lorusso, Brooklyn College – DreamWorks Animation

Stephen Lorusso is a second year student enrolled in the Television and Radio MFA program at Brooklyn College. He is interested in pursuing a career in electronic and digital media. Before attending Brooklyn College, Lorusso earned two bachelor’s degrees from SUNY Binghamton in History and Philosophy, with a minor in Comparative Literature. He went to law school immediately after graduation, and soon dropped out when he realized that he was following the dreams of others. Lorusso is thrilled to be studying at Brooklyn College, and hopes to use his media skills to create content that will influence positive change in the world.

Melissa Rodriguez, Brooklyn College – Walkers Shortbread

Melissa Rodriguez, an MFA candidate for the school of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College, professional goal is to create film and other visual media that gives voice to underrepresented and marginalized groups in our society. By spotlighting their issues Ms. Rodriquez hopes to encourage activism that affects change. Prior to Brooklyn College, she earned a BA in Cinema Studies with a Minor in Screenwriting from SUNY Purchase. Ms. Rodriquez has directed, written and or produced numerous films including the short fiction films Powder (2014) and Nevermore (2013) which was featured in the 30 under 30 Film Festival in New York and the 2013 Faculty Select Film Festival at Brooklyn College. This year she was commissioned by the nonprofit organization CAIC to direct and write the PSA Solitary Confinement, in support of the organization’s Incarcerated Nation Campaign. Ms. Rodriquez is currently in production on her graduate thesis The Sambodi Project(

John Sowulski, Brooklyn College – DLT Entertainment

John Sowulski was born and raised in Queens, New York. He attended Marist College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English Literature in 2012. During his time there he was able to study in Florence for a semester and London/Stratford-upon-Avon for three weeks. After repeatedly answering, “no, I am not going to be a high school English teacher,” whenever being asked that inescapable question, he began Brooklyn College’s MFA in Television Production program in the Fall of 2013, and which he intends to complete in Spring-2015.

Tina Zarbaliev, Hunter College – BAFTA New York in honor of Don & Eleanor Taffner

Tina Zarbaliev is a senior pursuing a double major—a BA in Political Science and Media Studies at Hunter College. Ms. Zabaliev intends to produce films that focus on creating a sense of place framed by female voices; to tell stories of the different experiences they have undergone. In 2013, Ms. Zarbaliev was a digital media intern at Lambda Legal, the oldest legal organization fighting for LGBT rights. In that position she worked with the media team to log and transcribe video interviews of men and women who talked about the significance of being homosexual during different eras of history such as the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS outbreak in New York. The women in the videos spoke of attaining romance, self-identity, and agency in a world that was not always kind to them. Their stories had a profound influence on Ms. Zarbaliev and these are the stories she hopes to tell when she graduates.