Hampshire Alum and Filmmaker Allison A. Waite Receives Directors Guild of America Student Film Award

Hampshire College alum Allison A. Waite 11F was named one of two winners in the Best African American Student Filmmakers category of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Student Film Awards for her documentary film The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins. The awards were announced in February of 2021.

Waite’s filmmaking aims to give unresolved stories a voice and spark connections within her community. “The wrongful death of black youth happens all the time… I hope to make a film that brings greater awareness and understanding of our grief, and our protest against these events.”

According to the DGA, the Student Film Awards for African American, Asian American, Latino, and women directors “are designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to exceptional diverse directors in film schools and universities across the country.”

The film also won a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in September of 2020.

Watch a trailer for The Dope Years.

Waite is an award-winning director and cinematographer who received her M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in film and television production with a cinematography concentration as a George Lucas Foundation Scholar. Waite also studied cinematography at the American Film Institute’s inaugural Women in Cinematography Intensive. She holds a B.A. from Hampshire College where she studied film and video production and Africana studies.

Waite also received a Princess Grace Foundation HBO film Award in 2014.

Waite says, “I credit this film and its success to my time at Hampshire College. It was there where this idea was birthed with the production of my thesis film ‘Roots In Concrete’ inspired by the story of Latasha Harlins. Hampshire encouraged my curiosity and activism through film and taught me that knowing is in fact never enough.”

More on The Dope Years.

Stills from the film:

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