Ringling College of Art and Design Announces Inaugural Carl Foreman Award Winner

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Pictured: Matthew Peterson and Eve Williams-Jones with award statuette after she announced he won the Ringling College Film Carl Foreman Award for Swan Song. Photography by Harry Sayer.

 A film student and a father living with Alzheimer’s are at the center of Matthew Peterson’s “Swan Song,” winner of Ringling College of Art and Design’s inaugural Ringling College Film Carl Foreman Award. The award, to be given annually, recognizes a graduating senior majoring in film or creative writing for outstanding achievement in screenwriting, directing or producing. The student winner receives a monetary award of $5,000 as well as a Will Kane bronze statuette, inspired by the lead character in Foreman’s 1952 western “High Noon.” The Will Kane statuette was created by sculptor, illustrator, Ringling College faculty member and alumnus Alexander Snyder. Foreman’s widow, Evelyn “Eve” Williams-Jones, originally created the Carl Foreman Award in 1983 in memory of her late husband, a prolific screenwriter, director and producer who was blacklisted by Hollywood and forced to leave the United States in 1951. Winners of the original award, created in conjunction with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), include Joe Wright, Amma Asante, Belinda Bauer, Asif Kapadia and Steve McQueen. When Eve and her husband Michael Williams-Jones decided to bring the Carl Foreman Award back to the United States, Foreman’s beloved homeland, they considered several film schools to continue a legacy of recognizing outstanding student work in the film industry before bringing it to Sarasota, a place they recognize as culturally vibrant and stunning. “Swan Song,” written and directed by Peterson, was selected from among 30 entries by a panel of seven jurors, including Patrick Alexander, Ringling College film interim department head; Brad Battersby, Ringling College film faculty; CJ Callins, Ringling College trustee and film alumnus; Sheryl Haler, Ringling College film faculty; Jonathan King, producer of “Spotlight,” “Roma” and “Dreamgirls”; Sylvia Whitman, Ringling College creative writing faculty; and Michael Williams-Jones, voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and BAFTA. Peterson’s senior year at Ringling College was an ambitious one. He worked as a screenwriter, director, producer, editor and digital image technician (DIT) on nearly a dozen films. Now that he’s graduated, Peterson will continue his filmmaking journey in Sarasota as an intern for videography company Storyvox before relocating to Los Angeles, where he plans to work in post-production and story development and eventually start a production company producing narrative and documentary content. Eve Williams-Jones presented Peterson with the inaugural Ringling College Film Carl Foreman Award when more than 900 Ringling College students, faculty, patrons and friends gathered at Sarasota’s historic Opera House for a special screening of the film program’s senior thesis projects, which included 12 senior films. The films are not yet made available to the public, so that students can apply to the festival circuit. In recognition of the close contest between the top two Carl Foreman award finalists, film senior Wilderley Mauricette received Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Directing and Screenwriting for “Curtain Call.” That film tells the story of a young Black man torn between two powerful mentors as he must navigate between the criminal environment he was born into and his true passion for the arts. 

 

Pictured: Matthew Peterson and Eve Williams-Jones with award statuette after she announced he won the Ringling College Film Carl Foreman Award for Swan Song. Photography by Harry Sayer.

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