GRANT RECIPIENTS: MAARIT J. NISSILA
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Maarit decided to become a filmmaker at the age of 14, when she became a regular visitor at the Finnish Film Archive's screenings in her hometown Helsinki. Inspired by the European New Wave and the American cinema of 1970's, she applied to study film editing at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and gained her BA degree in Film Production in 2002. Her first movie job was doing craft service for a feature film at the age of 19.

Maarit worked several positions in the Finnish film and television industry, including editing, being an assistant director and directing. In 2005 she was awarded a Fulbright Grant for graduate studies in the U.S., and became a Directing Fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory. At AFI Maarit received multiple grants and scholarships, including Women in Film Scholarship and The Henri Zimand Scholarship for Women Directors, and worked as a teacher's assistant. She will graduate from AFI in the fall of 2007.

Currently, Maarit is working on her first feature film script "India", while learning about the inner workings of the American entertainment industry as she interns for a distinguished television director in Los Angeles. She is pleased to say that with the help of Caucus Foundation, she is now able to acquire a film print of her 20-minute thesis film "The Life and Death Experiences of Young Beth Byrd".

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