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on the record


Thea Foundation announces winners of film scholarships

Kody Ford

The Thea Foundation, the Little Rock nonprofit that supports young artists, recently announced the winner of their film scholarships. Since 2002, Thea has awarded scholarships to young creatives. The $2,500 scholarships are in the categories of Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, and Editing. This year's film scholarship winners are:

1st Place/Editing: Anaya Vangoor, Bentonville West High School

2nd Place/Directing: Samantha Lewandowski, Har-Ber High School

3rd Place/Cinematography: Grant Cunningham, Conway Christian High School

4th Place/Editing: Perry Horton, Conway Christian High School

Scholarships are awarded in each category to the student's institution of choice, regardless of planned major, GPA or test scores. This year a total of $10,000 in film scholarships were awarded. Since 2010, a total of $120,000 in film scholarships have been awarded. Arkansas Cinema Society assisted with film judging and screening.

Thea Foundation supports young filmmakers and encouraging their desire to tell their stories.

"After such a challenging year, our students had important stories to tell and we were blown away by their submissions," said Nick Leopoulos, Executive Director of the Thea Foundation. "With technology becoming more and more accessible, more students are able to utilize film to express themselves and give a voice to issues that impact them. Filmmaking encourages not only their imaginative skills, but their adaptability to technology, writing and attention to detail. All skills that will serve them well in their future endeavors."

About Thea Foundation
Thea Foundation’s mission is to advocate the importance of the Arts in the development of our youth. Three programs are implemented statewide to support this mission—Thea Scholarships (scholarships awarded annually in 6 categories), Art Closet (supplying creative materials to students and teachers) and Arts Reconstruction (assisting teachers in receive professional development in the arts). Since 2002, Thea Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in scholarships to Arkansas students and provided more than $1.5 million in art supplies and creative materials to underfunded schools through our Art Closet program.

In addition, Arts Reconstruction is our focused effort to help teachers receive professional development and supplies to enable a better platform to advance in their own careers and schools. Our collective aim is to enrich young minds through the power of the Arts.

Named for the daughter of Paul and Linda Leopoulos, Thea Foundation carries on the legacy of Thea Kay Leopoulos, who thrived academically, socially and emotionally thanks to her artistic pursuits.

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At  ACS, we believe that if we provide filmmakers an arena to exhibit their talents, and film enthusiasts a healthy diet of quality programming, we can inspire more Arkansans to make and watch more films. By supporting filmmakers, festivals, theaters and young people interested in filmmaking throughout the state, we hope to create statewide network, pool Arkansas’s resources and be an umbrella organization that feeds all things film. We believe a rising tide lifts all boats.


connect to create.

To be a filmmaker, we have to connect to create. A painter needs a brush, paint and a canvas. A director needs a writer, a cinematographer, a sound mixer, production designer, editor, actors, distributors, and an audience. We cannot do it alone. This art form forces one to collaborate and thus, creates jobs. Filmmaking is unique in the arts in this way. It takes an army.