Daphne Matziaraki (’16) Wins BAFTA Student Film Award and Special Jury Prize

July 6, 2017

Filmmaker Daphne Matziaraki‘s (’16) remarkable documentary “4.1 Miles” on the refugee crisis in her native Greece has received more international acclaim.

On the heels of a Student Oscar win, Student Documentary Award from the International Documentary Association (IDA), and a Peabody Award, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has awarded the recent UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna its 2017 Student Film Award for Documentary.

Matziaraki was also awarded BAFTA’s Special Jury Prize by a panel of Hollywood luminaries including BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated directors Ron Clements and John Musker (Moana, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, BAFTA-winning actor Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Emmy-nominated director/producer David Gelb (Chef’s Table), and BAFTA-nominated editor Joan Sobel (Nocturnal Animals.)

The win comes at a time of major change for the prestigious international film festival. This year, the pool of eligible nominees for the BAFTA Student Film Awards underwent a notable expansion, with finalists selected from over 400 submissions by students at film schools in 15 countries, including Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Winners of the 2017 Student Film Awards were announced at a ceremony at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

“4.1 Miles” premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and received production funding from Minette Nelson and David Eckles of The Filmmaker Fund, which makes direct grants to students through the Fine Cut Fund at the J-School.

Matziariaki, who was filming in Kenya during the ceremony, sent classmate Mallory Pickett in her absence. “I was terribly upset not to be able to fly back to the States for the ceremony, but the timing of our film wouldn’t allow it,” said Matziaraki. “It was such an honor to be recognized by BAFTA, a dream really.”

Peter Morris, chair of BAFTA Los Angeles’ New Talent Committee, had high praise for the winner. “4.1 Miles” is an example of high-quality documentary storytelling. Nothing was manufactured, the camera simply allowed the story to be told in a way that elicited a visceral response from the audience, and that was reflected in their voting.”

Morris said the Special Jury had “some seriously good films in three different categories to choose from, but one of the jurors–actor Ioan Gruffudd–told me that there was no major discussion required before they unanimously agreed to award their Jury prize to ‘4.1 Miles.’ The subject matter is current and has been covered by mainstream news organizations all over the world, but Daphne’s ‘student film’ is one of the most effective expressions of the plight of the refugees and asylum-seekers in the Mediterranean.”

Morris also said: “The film is emblematic of the high standard of student filmmaking today, and speaks highly of the documentary program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.”

About the Documentary Program at UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley’s documentary program is widely considered one of the most important graduate nonfiction film programs in the U.S. Carrying on the work begun by producer Andrew Stern and pioneering black gay filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs in the 1980s, professors Jon Else and Orlando Bagwell have trained hundreds of filmmakers of talent, diversity, and accomplishment.

Grounded in the values of professional journalism–accuracy, eloquence, aggressive research and reporting, fine writing, ethics and analysis–combined with fundamentals of solid filmmaking, documentary production at UC Berkeley emphasizes visual imagery and a wide range of storytelling styles: investigative, historical, biography, personal essay, and cinema verite.

The School’s graduate students routinely win more national student Emmys for documentary than those of any other university program in the country. They’ve also won student Oscars, and alongside alumni, have routinely had premiere screenings at the top film festivals in the world, among them Sundance, Cannes, SXSW, and Tribeca.

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