University of Texas at Austin Film Student Wins Prestigious Princess Grace Award

Maru Buendia-Senties, a graduate student in the Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named a Princess Grace Award winner in the film category. She is the fourth University of Texas at Austin film student to be recognized by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA.

Buendia-Senties has won the Cary Grant Film Award, a graduate scholarship to complete her thesis film, "El Puente" (The Bridge), which will show the Mexican-American border in a way that conveys the riveting lifestyle of its people and how their stories get lost in translation by the media.

The Cary Grant Film Award, named as a tribute to the actor's artistry and friendship with Princess Grace of Monaco, represents the panel's high regard for Buendia-Senties's work and dedication to film. In addition to her scholarship, she will receive a Waterford Crystal obelisk.

The award will be presented at the annual black tie awards gala on Oct. 25 at Sotheby's fine arts auction house in Manhattan. Director George Lucas will receive the Prince Rainier III award at the ceremony.

Buendia-Senties was born in Mexico City, but raised in the border cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez. She was awarded first place narrative for "Last Interview" in 2005 at the Binational Independent Chamizal Film Festival, first place documentary for "100 meals" at the COMBO Film Festival and the Lone Star Emmy Scholarship Award of Excellence in 2006.

Her latest film, "La Pared" (The Wall), included the performances of renowned actors Joaquin Cosio, an Ariel nominee (the Ariel is the main national film award in Mexico), and Roberto Sosa and Perla de la Rosa, Ariel winners. It will be screened at the Hollywood Showcase and the L.A. International Shorts Fest. The film won first place at the Cibola Film Festival 2007.

"Mexican Film has always been my passion and I want to be a part of it, to contribute, and create," said Buendia-Senties. "The prestige of this award allows me to continue my art, as it offers me credibility and respect as a film director, consequently opening new venues for my work."

About the Princess Grace Awards

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA, a public charity formed after the death of Princess Grace in 1982, awards scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships to assist emerging theater, dance and film artists. Past Awards winners include Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants; Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; Gillian Murphy, principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre; and Eric Simonson, Academy Award winner. Learn more about the Princess Grace Awards and Princess Grace Foundation-USA online or call 212-317-1470.

University of Texas at Austin Radio-TV-Film students who have been recognized in previous years include: Benjamin Steinbauer (MFA '07), who won for the 2006 season, John Fiege (MFA '06), who won in 2004, and Susan Youssef (MFA '04) who won an honoraria award in 2003. Learn more about The University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-Television-Film.

Note to editors: For photos of Buendia-Senties and production stills from her work, please contact Erin Geisler.