Gail Kukula, a 2005 graduate of Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, was awarded a Gold Selection prize by a panel of entertainment industry judges at the 2017 CCH Film Festival, which was held on October 13th and 14th at Columbia College Hollywood’s Los Angeles campus. Kukula’s film was among 30 works by the school’s students and graduates that were screened for 500 attendees at the event.
“The professionalism, creativity, and skill that was embodied in Gail’s film, as well as all of the screened content at this year’s CCH Film Festival, was truly impressive,” says Chrissy Shannon, Director of Career Development & Alumni Relations at Columbia College Hollywood. “The young filmmakers behind these amazing short films are focused, driven, and 100% ready to pursue vibrant careers in the industry. Their abilities are a fantastic reflection of the quality of our curriculum and faculty – as well as their own innate talents.”
Kukula’s winning film, which she co-directed, was a documentary called “Starting From Scratch”. The film follows Athena Yap, who quit a successful engineering career to pursue her dream of opening a dog bakery in Los Angeles.
“I’m deeply honored by our win,” says Kukula, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinema & Television Production, Editing & Visual Effects in 2016 from Columbia College Hollywood. “Columbia College Hollywood has so many talented emerging filmmakers that I wasn’t sure if our small documentary would get lost among the other great films. To be recognized with the Gold Selection was completely unexpected.”
Kukula believes that the quality of her work has been enhanced by her experience at Columbia College Hollywood.
“My CCH education gave me hands on experience with cutting edge equipment and editing software. Also, my teachers were all working professionals who explained the way that the industry works in reality, not just theoretically,” says Kukula, who is pursuing a Masters in Wildlife Filmmaking at the University of West England in partnership with the BBC’s Natural History Unit. “One of the most important things that I learned at CCH was how collaborative filmmaking is: you’re on a team and you’re drawing on everyone’s talents to bring your story to life. I made great friends at the school, and I hope to keep making films with them throughout our careers.”