The Los Angeles Film School (L.A. Film School) is proud to be a part of the entertainment industry for over 20 years. The school honored four alumni by inducting them into the 2023 Spotlight Academy Class and presenting them with a Spotlight Award. This recognition pays tribute to their unyielding commitment to excellence in their professional career and selfless contribution of time and connection to current L.A. Film School students and alumni. Each Spotlight Award recipient was presented the award by an influential person in their life.
- Jeff Barnes (audio graduate, 2008), president of Record Plant Recording Studios, accepted his award by saying he “feels honored and privileged” to be recognized alongside his fellow Spotlight Academy inductees and to join the previous years’ classes. “To all the future students and current students, keep working; you can do it,” he said. Barnes works with top musical talent including Justin Bieber, Beyoncé and Iggy Azalea and worked with Record Plant for 15 years before being named president.
- Paquita Hughes (film graduate 2014), an award-winning location manager, independent producer and military veteran, took her opportunity on stage to encourage current L.A. Film School students and thank her former professors. “To students listening, stay the course. Plant those seeds. Make sure your work ethic speaks loudly for you,” Hughes said. “I also want to shout out the career development team at L.A. Film School and my professors, who saw the hunger in me.” Hughes has worked with HBO, Hulu and ABC, and has 50+ productions under her belt.
- Phillip Bladh (audio graduate, 2008), an Oscar-winning production sound mixer, shared that he has appreciated his time at Spotlight Week, calling it a “full-circle moment” visiting and being honored by his alma mater. “Being at L.A. Film School again brings back a lot of memories. They showed me that a nerd with a heart and a dream can make art. And, tonight is the most I have ever felt like an artist.” Bladh is known for his work on Sound of Metal starring Riz Ahmed and is a recipient of the BAFTA, CAS AMPS award for live-action sound mixing.
- Samantha Wilkins (animation graduate, 2012), an expert in modeling and texturing, was joined on stage by her grandfather and mother, who presented her with the Spotlight Award, creating a special three-generation moment in Ivar Theatre. “It’s hard to believe that I’m in a place in my career where I would be recognized for my achievements,” Wilkins said. “Accepting this award from L.A. Film School tonight is surreal, but it’s finally making me believe it.” Wilkins has impressive credits for the Audi Driverless Super Bowl ad, Nike’s “Want It All” ad campaign and the first six Apex Legends season opening trailers.