AUSTIN, Texas—Ben Steinbauer, 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. He is the third University of Texas at Austin RTF student to be recognized by Princess Grace Foundation-USA.
Steinbauer will receive the award at the annual Princess Grace Awards Black Tie Gala, hosted by CNN’s Larry King, on Nov. 2 in New York City.
Now in its 24th year, the Princess Grace Awards, which include the categories of theater, dance and film, are named in honor of Princess Grace of Monaco, who sought to help aspiring artists pursue their goals throughout her lifetime.
Steinbauer is one of only seven people to win in the film category (a full list of winners is available on the Princess Grace Foundation-USA Web site). Each year the Foundation awards grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships to aspiring young artists in America, helping them with their study and training, or furthering their professional goals. Past award winners include playwright Tony Kushner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play “Angels in America”; Stephen Hillenberg, the creator of “SpongeBob SquarePants”; and animator Alexander Sokoloff of “Harry Potter” and “Stuart Little” fame.
Steinbauer’s short films have premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival, as well as on PBS. He won the audience favorite award at the Cinematexas Film Festival and first prize at the Jump Cut Film Festival. His documentary “The Next Tim Day,” about a hustler from the Galveston, Texas projects, is now being turned into a pilot for a reality TV series.
The Princess Grace Award will enable him to complete his thesis film, “The Winnebago Guy,” one of the Internet’s most famous videos.
“The film panel was very impressed with Ben’s application and the strong quality of his work,” said Toby E. Boshak, executive director of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA. “The panel members found his films to be both mature and inventive, and they believe in his potential for future artistic growth.”
Steinbauer, who grew up in Kansas and Oklahoma, holds a bachelor’s degree in film studies from the University of Kansas and is in his third year of the MFA film program at The University of Texas at Austin.
“I am inspired when I find the extraordinary in the ordinary,” said Steinbauer. “Documentary filmmaking is a way for me to seek out these moments, record them and share the stories with an audience. This award will allow me to make documentaries on a grander scale that will reach larger and more varied audiences.”
The Department of Radio-TV-Film has had two Princess Grace Award winners in the past: current student John Fiege won in 2004, and alumna Susan Youssef (MFA, 2004) won an honoraria award in 2003.