As part of the 29th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, taking place February 29-March 10, Unifrance and Film at Lincoln Center are proud to launch the third edition of the Best Emerging Filmmaker Award. The objective of this new initiative is to bring attention to the unique cinematic point of view of emerging filmmakers and their interpretation of France’s new and diverse identities, and to encourage  younger audiences to engage with the festival.

Six college students will be invited to participate in the jury, formally the Best Emerging Filmmaker Student Jury, and to choose their favorite first or second feature from this year’s Rendez-Vous line-up. Each jury member will receive a free all-access pass to view every screening in the festival. The jury-awarded film will be announced shortly after the end of the festival alongside the Rendez-Vous Audience Award.

The students will be chosen by the professors of Rendez-Vous’ partner universities by January 26, 2024 and will commit to the following: 

  • Watch the 10 first and second features selected in the Rendez-Vous line-up. 
    • Watch at least 7  of those 10 films in-theaters during the press screenings (February 5-8 TBC) or during the festival (February 29-March 10) at Film at Lincoln Center
    • Watch up to 3 of those 10 films via online screeners we provide
  • Meet on Friday, March 8  with Unifrance and FLC  staff to discuss the films and select the winner. 
  • Promote the festival among their peers and encourage students to attend.

Stay tuned and, in the meantime, meet the jurors below!

Olivera Darden, 20, Fordham University, Communication and Media Studies

Olivera is a filmmaker and theatre artist in her junior year at Fordham University. She feeds her love of theatre by performing with her school’s musical theatre group, and by working as the social media manager for a publishing company specializing in scripts for young actors. She is the host of a weekly radio show at Fordham. Recent research focuses for her film and sociology double major include early Rocky Horror audiences and music festivals on film.


Basile Guichard, 22, New York University, Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies

Basile Guichard (he/him) is a graduate student in the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies at NYU. His keenest interests in film include the New Queer Cinema movement and the evolution of animation as a filmmaking medium. Having lived in seven countries throughout his life, he is always excited to return to French film, with a global perspective, but mostly as a way to keep in touch with his culture and have a taste of home when in the USA. .


Kaveh Jalinous, 21, Columbia University, Film & Media Studies/French & Francophone Studies

Kaveh Jalinous is a New York City-based filmmaker and screenwriter, as well as a freelance journalist specializing in the world of film and television. He is currently pursuing a degree in Film & Media Studies and French & Francophone Studies at Columbia University, and in his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and learning languages.


Katherine Prior, 23, Brooklyn College, Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema

Katherine Prior is a Screen Studies M.A. student at the Brooklyn College Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Art History and Museum Professions, an A.A.S. in Illustration, and a minor in French. Her research interests include intersections of visual art and film history, depictions of young  women, adaptations, television, and French cinema. She also holds a DALF C1 French language certification from the French Ministry of Education and is a regular volunteer for the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City.


Jasmine Shiffer, 21, CUNY Hunter College, Film

Hi, I’m Jasmine and I’m a senior at Hunter College majoring in film, with minors in French and Biology. Outside of school, I work as a journalist, videographer and outdoor professional. I also had the privilege of studying abroad in Paris last semester, so I have a soft spot for French film. Looking forward to joining the panel!


Ferman Victor Siasat, 22, The School of Visual Arts, BFA Film

Ferman is a writer and director. He is a third-year film directing major and international student at the School of Visual Arts. He also freelances as a cinematographer and gaffer. When he’s not filming, he volunteers at Mono No Aware, a nonprofit organization and film-positive community that promotes connectivity through the tactile cinematic experience. He is currently in post-production for his upcoming short film.