New York Women in Film & Television Presents
Inaugural Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Award to Briana Ayala
Academy for Careers in Television and Film (TvF) Student Will Receive $2,500 Scholarship
New York City (June 21, 2016) – New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) is pleased to announce that the first annual Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Scholarship will be presented to Briana Ayala on June 28th, 2016 at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film (TvF) graduation ceremony at the Skirball Center (566 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012). The scholarship honors the memory of the legendary prop master Wright-Gilliar and will be given to a female high school senior graduating from TvF in Queens, NY. TvF is a career and technical education (CTE) high school where students simultaneously participate in a college preparatory academic program while completing a course of professional film classes that are applicable to the joining of the Industry. It will be a tribute to the qualities of determination and creativity that Wright-Gilliar brought to her work and her everyday interactions. NYWIFT first announced the creation of The Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Award in August 2015.
Funds for the scholarships were contributed by Wright-Gilliar’s friends and colleagues from The Good Wife, where she had worked as Property Master since 2011. Beth Kushnick, Set Decorator on The Good Wife, organized the fundraising campaign for the scholarship. Stars Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming and Mary Beth Peil were among the contributors. Wright-Gilliar’s union, Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, was a major donor to the fund.
The $2500 scholarship will be presented annually to a student who intends to pursue a career in a below-the-line craft in the film, television or digital media industry. This award may be applied to post-secondary education expenses, craft training fees, union initiation costs or any other expenditures relating to the recipient’s becoming a full-time member of the New York City film, television and digital media industry.
“Sabrina was dedicated to supporting the next generation of women in film, television and digital media crafts,” said NYWIFT Executive Director Terry Lawler. “We are proud to honor her memory by presenting this award to a wonderful student like Briana, who shows so much promise as she starts her career in production.”
Ayala, who hopes to become a production designer, will spend the summer working at a prop house and intends to study at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. She will apply the money from the award to her tuition expenses.
“The discipline of a [film] set has given me a structure to express myself through whatever craft I’m interested in,” Ayala said. “And this is why filmmaking is what I want to dedicate my life to. As I move on to college, I look forward to educating myself further in film production and preparing myself for full time participation.”
The two other finalists for the Sabrina Award were Zahra Khan, who is interested in assistant directing, and Jessica Garcia, who will attend Queensborough Community College in the Fall.
Donations by check to the Sabrina Fund should be made out to NYWIFT with Sabrina Fund noted. Please mail to NYWIFT, 6 East 39th Street, Suite 1200, New York, NY 10016-0112. Donations can also be made online at www.nywift.org/sabrina.
About Sabrina Wright-Gilliar:
Sabrina Wright-Gilliar was born on May 27, 1957. A native New Yorker, she grew up in the West Village, where she attended public school and took advantage of all the city had to offer. Sabrina and her mother traveled to Europe, Africa and South America. Her longest stays were summers spent in Spain, where she became fluent in Spanish.
After a stint in the corporate world, Sabrina followed in her father’s footsteps and started a thirty-year career in the film business. A fourth-generation member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local 52), she excelled at everything she tried her hand at and worked tirelessly in a variety of crafts. Sabrina started as a set dresser in the prop department on huge commercials. She continued to work her way up the ladder to become one of the first female department heads in the union’s history. She was the set decorator on When Harry Met Sally and on the New York unit of Sea Of Love. Sabrina then settled in on her true calling, working for the rest of her career as one of the most sought after and legendary prop master’s in the industry.
Sabrina’s love of working in film and television guided her choices, as she often took a job because she liked the script or the director or something personally moved her about the project. Her uncle, another mentor, hired her on the film Jumping Jack Flash, where she met her husband, Jim Gilliar. Sabrina’s daughter, Laura, is currently working in a prop department as a fifth generation IATSE Local 52 member. Laura was fortunate to work alongside and learn from her mother before her passing.
Sabrina’s film credits include Precious, Music Of The Heart and Illuminata. Her television credits include over seventy episodes of The Good Wife and over eighty episodes of Sex In The City. Sabrina’s well-recognized laughter and bright smile will never be forgotten and her work ethic has left a legacy for many future generations.
About New York Women in Film & Television:
New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. NYWIFT energizes the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development, and advocating for equality.
The preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT brings together 2,100 women and men working both above and below the line. NYWIFT is part of a network of 40 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members. NYWIFT produces over 50 innovative programs and special events annually, including the Muse Awards for Vision and Achievement, which honors women in front of and behind the camera, and Designing Women, which recognizes costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists in the industry.
More information can be found online at: www.NYWIFT.org
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