The University of Texas’ film program is celebrating a major international win. A team of Longhorns walked away with one of the industry's biggest prizes, an award from the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Skunk, directed by Annie Silverstein, a former film student at the University of Texas, won first prize in the Cinéfondation Selection at Cannes on Thursday. The Cinéfondation Selection featured 16 student films chosen from 1,631 entries from 457 film schools around the world.
Writer/director Silverstein and producer Monique Walton graduated from the University of Texas with Masters of Fine Arts in Radio-Television-Film in 2013, and the entire film crew consisted of UT students. A 16-minute dramatic narrative, Skunk tells the story of 14-year-old Leila, whose dog kills a skunk, leading her to meet a neighborhood boy and form an unlikely bond that spins out of control.
Silverstein began writing the film in 2012 and refined the script for another year before her team shot the film during the summer of 2013. According to an interview with the College of Communication, the crew worked with non-actors and rescued dogs.
The young director comes from successful, creative stock. She is the sister of Jake Silverstein, the former Texas Monthly editor who recently became editor of The New York Times Magazine. Silverstein tweeted out his congratulations to his sister.
Silverstein was awarded the grand prize of more than $20,000 in a ceremony at the Buñuel Theatre. On top of the prize money, her first feature film will be presented at a future Cannes Film Festival.