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Duke/CDS Alum Ryan White and Ben Cotner Awarded 2014 United States Artists Fellowship

Ryan White and Ben Cotner. Photograph by Austin Hargrave.

Ryan White and Ben Cotner. Photograph by Austin Hargrave.

We are thrilled to congratulate Duke University and Center for Documentary Studies alumni Ryan White (’04) and Ben Cotner, who have been awarded a 2014 United States Artists Fellowship from the nonprofit arts organization United States Artists. The directing and producing duo were nominated for the prestigious $50,000 award following the success of their documentary film about California’s Proposition 8 revoking same-sex marriage, The Case Against 8, for which they were also awarded the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

As one of the largest grant-making organizations in the country providing direct support to artists, United States Artists honors innovative, accomplished artists at all stages of their careers, who are nominated by their peers and field experts for the quality, imagination, and enduring potential of their work. Fellows receive an award of $50,000 to support his or her practice and professional development, opening up exciting creative possibilities through the transformative power of unrestricted financial support.

Ryan made his first short films at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, graduating with a CDS Certificate in Documentary Studies; he also studied filmmaking at the university’s Program in Arts of the Moving Image. His other documentary features have also received critical acclaim: Pelada, codirected by fellow certificate grads Gwendolyn Oxenham and Rebekah Fergusson, and Good Ol’ Freda, which premiered at SXSW and screened at numerous film festivals, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, before a theatrical release in fall 2013.

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