And the winner is….

In addition to the Dean’s Award for Cinematic Distinction, awarded by Dr. Jimmie McClellan, Dean of the Languages, Arts & Social Sciences Division, in 2019 NSFF-International created another award: The Joe Windham Award for Cinematic Activism. Named after the late Dr. Joe Windham, a Professor of History on the Alexandria campus, an activist and humanist, to recognize a film from the Films Without Walls series that uses cinema to shed light on a human condition.

Sandra Camargo awarded for her film Mi Tierra

The winner of the 2019 Dean’s Award for Cinematic Distinction, from the Films Without Walls series on the yearly theme, “Immigration & Refugees”, is Sandra Carmargo for her short film Mi Tierra.

11:06 minutes | Narrative Fiction | USA | Director: Sandra Camargo
Miguel, a stubborn Salvadoran father of two, barricades his family inside their home in order to avoid deportation.

The Winner of the 2019 Joe Windham Award for Cinematic Activism, from the Films Without Walls series on the yearly theme, “Immigration & Refugees”, is Maliheh Gholamzadeh, for her short animation, Tangle. Maliheh, is a film student in Iran.

Dean Jimmie and Prof. Lucy G/E accepting award on behalf of Maliheh for her film Tangle

10:00 minutes | Animation | Iran | Director: Maliheh Gholamzadeh
Tangle” is about the people who lost their homes in the war and were forced to leave all their memories and loved ones behind.


The winners of the 2018 Dean’s award for Cinematic Distinction are co-writers/directors Nikkia Atkinson and Long Tran with their experimental short film Dinosaurs in the Hood.  The film is based on the spoken words of Danez Smith.

Nikkia Atkinson is a NOVA Alexandria alumna, who studied Cinema under Prof. Lucy Gebre-Egziabher and transferred to University of Washington, Tacoma, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in communications and film studies degree.

The “Dean’s Award for Cinematic Distinction” is awarded to a film in the NOVA Students & Alumnae category of the festival. Dr. Jimmie McClellan, the Dean of NOVA Alexandria’s Liberal Arts Division, awards one film for its message and cinematic delivery.

The winner of the 2017 Dean’s award for Cinematic Distinction Serkadis Megabiyaw with her short film Our Compound. This was the first year the Dean’s award for Cinematic Distinction was given.  In 2 minutes and 23 seconds Serkadis spoke volumes on leadership, on conformism, on peer pressure, how we treat our environment! Watch her powerful short Our Compound.

Serkadis is an Ethiopian filmmaker and TV producer, who resides in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. She took part of the 2015 filmmaking training program that Prof. Lucy Gebre Egziabher delivered during her Fulbright Scholarship in Ethiopia.