Best Of 2022

Best Local Filmmaker: Justin Rodriguez

Best Local Filmmaker

Winner: Justin Rodriguez

After winning a $6,000 Luminaria Artist Foundation grant last year, local director and screenwriter Justin Rodriguez took the funds and produced the short film The Art of Dying, which debuted at CineFestival earlier this month. Rodriguez is currently working the festival circuit and hopes to reach more audiences with the short. The 2007 graduate of Holy Cross High School started making movies in 2016. The Art of Dying is his third short after LUSH and Glossolalia. "I was interested in film since I was a kid," said Rodriguez, 33. "My parents were showing me R-rated movies since I was 5. I saw Terminator 2 when I was, like, 3." Rodriguez said he considers each of his shorts better than the last, adding that he's constantly learning. Now, he's ready to make his first feature. "It's going to be a psychological thriller," he said. "I'm really excited about it, so I know I'm on the right path."

2. Cynthia Bergen

3. Dat Mayne DeeWayne