CMSI Director Caty Borum Chattoo with award winner Matthew Cipollone.

Documentary storytelling has the power to positively impact the world.

By instituting the CMSI Jeffrey Tuchman Social Justice Documentary Award at the American University School of Communication, we are honoring student filmmaker achievement in stories that endeavor to illuminate social justice challenges and improve the human condition. The inaugural CMSI Jeffrey Tuchman Social Justice Documentary Award was presented on May 9th at the AU School of Communication’s Film & Media Arts division’s Vision 2018 Awards, which celebrates outstanding visual student work. Matthew Cipollone, an MFA’18 candidate won the award for his short documentary, Signs, which he co-produced, filmed and edited to highlight racially-motivated vandalism in the Mississippi Delta.

The award was created in the memory of late Jeffrey Tuchman, an Emmy- and Peabody-award-winning documentarian and former board director of the International Documentary Association (IDA). As part of the award, Matthew wins a complimentary pass to the leading U.S. convening of the documentary film community, the IDA’s Getting Real Conference, which will be held in September 2018 in Los Angeles. He also receives a free one-year student membership to the IDA.

According to CMSI Director, Caty Borum Chattoo, “The late Jeffrey Tuchman was known not only for directing and producing stories about justice, but also for his intellectual and creative gifts, his generous spirit, and his unwavering capacity for kindness – and all of these qualities were reflected in his film and TV works. He was the consummate collaborator who never missed an opportunity to lift up stories and people with dignity, for the greater good.”

While congratulating Matthew, Caty elaborated that “Although given for a specific project, this award could easily have been given to Matthew for his film work profiling a nonprofit organization in Baltimore, or any number of his other films. He embodies the best traits of a great filmmaker – not only with skills and talent, but with a lens of humanity and respect and curiosity.”

Now more than 20 years old, the Visions Awards celebrate the very best student work from both graduates and undergraduates, documentary, fiction, digital and new media, screenwriting and photography. Recognition is provided for work at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Know more about the winners here.