As part of the 28th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, taking place March 2-12, Unifrance and Film at Lincoln Center are proud to launch the second 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 young people to attend the festival. 

Six college students have been 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 received a free all-access pass to view every screening in the festival. The jury-awarded film will be announced alongside the Rendez-Vous Audience Award at the end of the festival. Stay tuned and, in the meantime, meet the jurors below!

Andrea Leon, 22, College of Arts & Science Undergraduate, New York University

My name is Andrea Leon, I am a senior studying International Relations and Journalism at New York University. I’ve been studying French since 2012 when I started taking classes at Alliance Française in Manaus, Brazil where I’m originally from. I’ve always been fascinated by learning new languages and emerging myself into new cultures. Besides French and English, I also speak Portuguese and Spanish.

Favorite French film: J’ai perdu mon corps


Tyler Simeone, 25, Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, City University of New York (CUNY) – Brooklyn College

Tyler Simeone is an MA student in Screen Studies at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, Brooklyn College. He holds a BA in French from Tufts University. His research focuses on eroticism and embodied spectatorship in early Soviet Cinema, and every summer he gobbles up as many Eric Rohmer films as he can get his hands on.

Favorite French film: Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle


Elena Paraponiaris, 18, French Department Undergraduate, Hunter College

I am a freshman attending Hunter College. My passion for the French language began at the age of seven, when I first watched Jacques Demy’s comédie-musicale “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort,” which, for sentimental reasons, remains my favorite French film. However, I did not begin learning French until high school. Since that time, I have absorbed as much French as possible through motion pictures, literature, and art. In all, I am very grateful to Rendez-Vous with French Cinema for this invaluable opportunity to unite my two foremost interests: French and film!

Favorite French film: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort

Allanah Elster, 20, Film and Media Studies Undergraduate, Columbia University

Originally from the Chicagoland area, Allanah is a filmmaker and critic in her Junior year at Columbia University. She has been obsessed with all aspects of the filmmaking process from a very young age, and in the past few years, has covered numerous major national festivals including SXSW and Sundance as an accredited member of the press. She will be directing Columbia’s Undergraduate Film Festival for the second time this year.

Favorite French film: Irma Vep (1996)


Ferman Victor Siasat, 21, Film Studies Undergraduate, School of Visual Arts

Ferman is a writer, director, and cinematographer. He is a second-year film directing major and international student in the School of Visual Arts. He is the co-founder of the SVA screening club that gives access to and opens up a dialogue with students about cinema. He also volunteers at Mono No Aware, a nonprofit organization and film-positive community working to promote connectivity through the tactile cinematic experience. He switched from painting to film because he —like many others— believes in the democratic nature of cinema and what it could do for people.

Favorite French film: Jules et Jim

Eliza Anderson, 20, French and Francophone Studies Undergraduate, Fordham University

Eliza Anderson is a sophomore at Fordham University, where she studies History, French, and Film. As a lover of any intersection of the three, she’s passionate about expanding access to the arts and engaging with all the French cinema New York has to offer. When she’s not catching a Lincoln Center matinee or completing her Isabelle Huppert watchlist, Eliza is an intern at the Bronx Historical Society.

Favorite French film: The Young Girls of Rochefort