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The University Magazine

Film and animation student wins Princess Grace Award

Lindsay Berkebile, left, with jewelry designer Alex Soldier, at the Princess Grace Awards ceremony.

Lindsay Berkebile, a fourth-year film and animation student, is one of only two undergraduate students from across the country to win a 2009 Princess Grace Award in the film category.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA gives annual awards to aspiring artists in theater, dance and film from across the country. Berkebile was among those honored at a black-tie event in New York City attended by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

"Making films is something I would be doing no matter what," says Berkebile. "It's a way for me to express myself. Filmmaking is the only medium that captures my talent in using the technical side of my brain and the artistic side. I'm a people person, and I love directing my crew. Filmmaking is a collaboration and I get to work with some of the brightest minds I've ever met."

As part of her award, Berkebile receives a scholarship for the making of her senior thesis film, the story of a baker who lives in a make-believe world and creates fantastical cakes. The film's format will be live action using stop-motion animation and pixilation effects.

Among Berkebile's submissions to the Princess Grace Foundation selection committee was Life by the 7's, an experimental pixilation/animation film that she produced centering on the subjects of food, weight and anorexia. She also submitted Harold Please, a live-action film about a recluse whose only connection to the outside world is what he sees through his window.

"To me, describing an emotion with words seems inadequate," says Berkebile. "But to express an emotion visually, I'm able to reach a wider audience. It's powerful."

Since 2000, the Princess Grace Foundation has recognized RIT student filmmakers eight times with Princess Grace Awards or honorarias. In addition to the awards, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA also gives each nominating organization monies toward its fundraising efforts. In this case, RIT's School of Film and Animation is a recipient.

Kelly Downs