FMA Alum Chinonye Chukwu (MFA ’10) receives Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fellowship from The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University for the 2013-14 academic year, among with other recipients: poet Katy E. Didden, writer Adam Ross, and choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The 2013-14 HOdder Fellows were chosen from a pool of over 1,100 applicants to receive this award, created to provide artists and humanists in the early stages of their career a period of “studious leisure” to undertake significant new work.
“The Hodder Fellowships are awarded to people have demonstrated exceptional promise, but have not yet received widespread recognition,” noted Lewis Center Chair Michael Cadden in making the announcement. “We have a very strong and diverse group of artists joining us next year, and Princeton prides itself in buying them time to move their work to the next level. Hodder Fellows do not teach. Their only obligation is to their work.”
Hodder Fellows may be writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who have, as the program outlines, “much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts”; they are selected more “for promise than for performance.” While many have published a first book or created other work that has contributed to their field of endeavor, the fellowship provides them the opportunity to devote themselves fully to their current or next project. Artists from anywhere may apply in the fall each year for the following academic year. Their proposals include a description of what they hope to achieve during the fellowship period. Past Hodder Fellows have included poet John Berryman, novelist Chimamando Ngozi Adichie, playwright Doug Wright, and composer and lyricist Michael Friedman.
Chinonye Chukwu is a Nigerian-born, Alaskan-raised screenwriter, producer and director. A 2009 recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award, her debut feature film, AlaskaLand, was selected to screen globally, including at the Chicago International Film Festival and the New York African Festival at Lincoln Center. The film will be distributed by New World Distribution later this year. Chukwu’s short film, The Dance Lesson, premiered at the Ritz Theater of Philadelphia and was later licensed by mindTV for regional network distribution. The film was also a Regional Finalist for the 2010 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards. She has just completed the short narrative, bottom, which will soon premier in the festival circuit. Currently, she is in pre-production for her next project, a film adaptation of the anthologized short story, A Walk Through the Neighborhood. She plans on producing, directing and editing this film during her time as a Hodder Fellow.
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