Lee Witz Wins at 2021 FINE CUT Festival

(Left to Right) Chapman University’s Sara Rose Nell and Claire Jantzen, USC’s Zhijia “Alex” Jiang, USC’s De’Onna Young-Stephens and Cal Arts’ Lee Witz accept their awards at KCET’s FINE CUT Festival of Films at The Montalbán Theatre on September 28, 2021. | Photo courtesy of KCET

CalArtian Lee Witz (Film/Video BFA 21) has been named the winner of the Animation Award at the 22nd annual FINE CUT Festival of Films for his animated short “Frankie The Hot Dog: Gymnastics Star.” 

On Sept. 28, Witz and four other regional student filmmakers were honored at an in-person screening and awards ceremony at The Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. Other recipients were Claire Jantzen and Sara Rose Nell (Chapman University), Zhijia “Alex” Jiang (University of Southern California), and De’Onna Young-Stephens (University of Southern California). Each of the five winning filmmakers will receive industry mentorships and prize packages valued at up to $12,000. 

Witz’s seven-minute short follows Frankie, a hotdog girl fighting to take first prize at the world championship gymnastics competition, against all odds. Fellow CalArtians Isabella Spadone (Film/Video BFA 21), Olivia Michael (Theater BFA 22), Socks Whitmore (Music BFA 20), Hao Feng (Theater MFA 20), and Gabriel Girón Vives (Theater BFA 21) were credited among the voice cast, as well as Ben Huff (Film/Video MFA 07) for the rerecording mix. 

Los Angeles public broadcaster KCET’s annual festival is a showcase of short films from Southern California’s emerging and promising filmmakers. In addition to airing on KCET, the Fine Cut Festival also airs nationwide on Link TV.

Most Fine Cut films, including “Frankie the Hot Dog: Gymnastics Star,” are available to view on the official KCET site.

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