Recent SDSU grad Iris Caffin was awarded the 2012 Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship from the College Television Awards.
The annual awards recognize students across the country for excellence in filmmaking. The Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship was created to recognize “student filmmakers whose work sheds light on people with disabilities."
Caffin’s film, "Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits" tells the story of Jolena, an 8-year-old girl diagnosed with autism whose life is turned around when she is matched with an autism service dog.
“I made 'Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits' with the intent to make a positive impact or change,” Caffin said. “It is my hope that people who watch the documentary recognize themselves, a family member, loved one, or friend and that by watching and learning about the character and character's life in my documentary, they realize that there is hope — and that help is available for them, too.”
Caffin will accept her award, which includes a $10,000 scholarship at the 33rd Annual College Television Awards in Los Angeles on March 31. Seven other SDSU students have won College Television Awards over the years.
The organization behind the event is the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which produces the Emmy’s. The goal of the foundation is to educate and inspire the next generation of industry leaders.
Caffin hopes that this award will get more exposure for her film so she can help spread the word about the positive impact service dogs can make on those with a variety of disabilities and show that there are organizations, like the one in her film, that provide service dogs at no cost to the recipient.
Caffin graduated Summa Cum Laude in May with her Master of Arts degree in Television, Film and New Media Production. Caffin also earned her bachelor’s degree from SDSU in 2009. She now works as an associate producer for History Channel's #1 show Swamp People, a position she earned upon graduating from SDSU.