Princess Grace Award:
Film Honorarium, 2003
• 2015 Professional Development Grant
Rhys Ernst is a mixed media filmmaker that uses experimental narrative, animation, and video art as strategies to discuss transgender identity, representation and history. Growing up in Chapel Hill, NC, Rhys dropped out of 9th grade to "play in a lot of bands" and pursue an alternative, self-directed education. Later, Rhys earned a BA from Hampshire College in 2004. During this time, his film, "The Drive North" earned international recognition, screened in over 30 film festivals, and won numerous awards (including Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival and a Princess Grace Award Honorarium). After graduating, Rhys moved to New York City to begin a career in film and television. He held numerous positions including producer/editor for MTV Networks, associate producer for “Masterclass” (HBO), associate producer for “Coming Out Stories” (LOGO), adjunct professor at Queens College, and was President of the Jury at Izmir Short film festival (Turkey). For the last two years he has been pursuing an MFA in Film/ Video at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, where he recently became a 2010 Point Foundation HBO Scholar. His goal is to bridge his artistic and professional backgrounds, to bring issues of transgressive representation to as wide an audience as possible.