Multimedia ace Megan Rossman receives prestigious Princess Grace Award

Aug 16, 2017

Thumbnail for Multimedia ace Megan Rossman receives prestigious Princess Grace Award
Thumbnail for Multimedia ace Megan Rossman receives prestigious Princess Grace Award

By Aaron Garland

Photos by Prisca Edwards, an RIT photojournalism alumna

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA announced last month that it awarded over $1 million to those who were selected as 2017’s Princess Grace Award winners, a group consisting of artists in theater, dance and film. On its website, the foundation lists its mission as being dedicated to identifying and then aiding emerging talent in those fields by providing grants in scholarship, apprenticeship and fellowship forms.

One of the recipients of the prestigious award is School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (photojournalism option) alumna Megan Rossman. The 2008 RIT graduate, whose versatile skill set has allowed her to explore many areas as a professional, earned her Princess Grace Award in the film category, as she was given a graduate film scholarship.

Megan Rossman, right, is a 2017 Princess Grace Award winner.

Rossman is in the process of getting an MFA in integrated media arts from Hunter College in New York City. The financial award that comes with the honor, according to Rossman, will provide significant assistance in the creation of her thesis film she is currently working on. It’s a feature-length documentary, Rossman said, about the Lesbian Herstory Archives, a collective founded in the 1970s to preserve records of lesbian lives and activities.  

Rossman said she is in the production phase and anticipates the film to be completed in May.

“The funding for this project is going to have a huge impact,” she said. “Being able to license archival footage and hire a composer to write a soundtrack are a few examples of how the support will help me make a more polished film.

“I was thrilled!” Rossman added of her reaction to finding out she was chosen as a grant recipient. “Diana Kemppainen of the Princess Grace Foundation left me a voicemail. When I called her back, she shared the news. I was jumping up and down.”

Megan Rossman, right, on a film set.

Rossman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who, from 2008-15, was a multimedia journalist for The Washington Post and then director of video for Teach for America. A video she created forThe Washington Post, “Unfinished Business: Earth Day 40 Years Later,” received a 2011 regional Emmy in historical/cultural.

She has also been an adjunct professor at various colleges since 2010, teaching courses in areas such as journalism and video production. The institutions she has taught at include Hunter, Columbia University, Georgetown University and University of Maryland.

“I really enjoy working with students,” Rossman said. “I decided to pursue my MFA in part to better position myself for full-time teaching opportunities.”

Additionally, Rossman volunteers as a mentor with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Rossman said her experience at RIT played a key role in her developing into the skilled filmmaker she is today.

“I bring my background as a photojournalist to my work as a filmmaker,” she said. “As the late Michel du Cille once told me, ‘Every frame of a video should be as strong as an individual picture.’ I honed my understanding of pictures at RIT, and my evolution as a filmmaker reflects that experience.”