The award was established in honor of the organization’s founder Ruth Batchelor to encourage and support aspiring film critics. Thanks to the generous backing of Rotten Tomatoes, LAFCA is presenting two scholarships: one to a woman and another to a person from an underrepresented group or groups.
Penny Folger is a nontraditional student studying Pro Tools at Los Angeles City College with an eye on post-production sound and its upcoming Sound and Music for Film certificate program. She has joined the writing team at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana — a nonprofit community arthouse theater named by Yelp as one of the 100 top-rated businesses in North America. In the New Year she also will become a contributing writer for Perisphere, the blog for Trylon Cinema, a nonprofit cinema in Minneapolis.
Justin Viloria is a California State University, Long Beach, art student, transferred from Long Beach City College, hoping to create stories and artworks that inspire those with similar aspirations. Enjoying cinema allows him to flex his passion for writing because there’s nothing like deeply analyzing and writing about films. He loves all things cartoons, comics, anime, video games and manga, and his sincerest hope is that he, too, gets to produce pieces of entertainment media that an audience can enjoy.
Folger and Viloria will receive their $3,000 awards, plus Fandango and Vudu gift cards, at the LAFCA awards ceremony on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at The Biltmore Los Angeles.