Alumnus Cary Fukunaga and film undergrad win Princess Grace Awards

Princess Grace Foundation logo
UC Santa Cruz alumnus Cary Fukunaga
Emmy Award-winning UC Santa Cruz alumnus Cary Fukunaga
Jeny Amaya
UC Santa Cruz Film and Digital Media student Jeny Amaya

Emmy Award-winning UC Santa Cruz alumnus Cary Fukunaga and current Film and Digital Media undergraduate student Jeny Amaya have been honored with 2015 Princess Grace Awards.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is a non-profit public charity that was created to continue the legacy of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, who anonymously helped emerging artists pursue their goals throughout her lifetime.

The Foundation has cultivated a diverse group of over 750 artists to date, who continue to advance the field of performing arts with cutting-edge theater, dance, choreography, film, playwriting and design.

Fukunaga--who graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 1999 with a B.A. in history—will receive the Princess Grace Statue Award. In addition to a $25,000 unrestricted cash gift, he will be presented with a bronze statue of Princess Grace, created by the Dutch artist Kees Verkade, at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on September 5.

The up-and-coming 38-year-old director, writer, producer, and cinematographer picked up an Emmy Award last summer in the category of “Outstanding Director for a Drama Series” for the HBO series True Detective.

Fukunaga first gained notice when he received the best "Directing, U.S. Drama" award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival for his debut feature film Sin Nombre. He wrote and directed the film based on his own firsthand experiences with Central American immigrants seeking a better life in the U.S. He also directed Jane Eyre in 2011.

Fukunaga’s latest film, Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, will premiere in October 2015.

UC Santa Cruz Film and Digital Media student Jeny Amaya will receive the Cary Grant Film Award and a Film Undergraduate Scholarship. Her recent work examines the Salvadoran diaspora experience in California.

“As a filmmaker, I want to resurrect fragments of the past and apply new meanings to them using the theoretical frameworks of my Latin American and Latino studies, feminism, and film studies education,” said Amaya.

“In the process, my aim is to reclaim the agency of Salvadoran immigrants living in the United States, particularly Salvadoran women, while encouraging my viewers to identify with subjects and issues that are often overlooked.”

Amaya’s work has been featured at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, the Porter Sesnon Underground Gallery, and in the 2014 Santa Cruz Film Festival.