Briana Ayala Wins NYWIFT’s First Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Award

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Thu, 06/23/2016 - 10:55 -- Nick Dager

The New York Women in Film & Television’s first annual Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Scholarship will be presented to Briana Ayala June 28 at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film graduation ceremony at the Skirball Center. The scholarship honors the memory of the legendary prop master Wright-Gilliar and will be given to a female high school senior graduating from TvF in Queens. 

TvF is a career and technical education high school where students simultaneously participate in a college preparatory academic program while learning skills that are applicable to the joining the workforce. It will be a tribute to the qualities of determination and creativity that Wright-Gilliar brought to her work and her everyday interactions. NYWIFT first announced the creation of The Sabrina Wright-Gilliar Award in August 2015.

Funds for the scholarships were contributed by Wright-Gilliar’s friends and colleagues from The Good Wife, where she had worked as Property Master since 2011. Beth Kushnick, set decorator on The Good Wife, organized the fundraising campaign for the scholarship. Stars Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming and Mary Beth Peil were among the contributors. Wright-Gilliar’s union, Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, was a major donor to the fund.

The $2500 scholarship will be presented annually to a student who intends to pursue a career in a below-the-line craft in the film, television or digital media industry. This award may be applied to post-secondary education expenses, craft training fees, union initiation costs or any other expenditures relating to the recipient’s becoming a full-time member of the New York City film, television and digital media industry.

“Sabrina was dedicated to supporting the next generation of women in film, television and digital media crafts,” said NYWIFT executive director Terry Lawler. “We are proud to honor her memory by presenting this award to a wonderful student like Briana, who shows so much promise as she starts her career in production.”

Ayala, who hopes to become a production designer, will spend the summer working at a prop house and intends to study at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She will apply the money from the award to her tuition expenses.

“The discipline of a [film] set has given me a structure to express myself through whatever craft I’m interested in,” Ayala said. “And this is why filmmaking is what I want to dedicate my life to. As I move on to college, I look forward to educating myself further in film production and preparing myself for full time participation.”

The two finalists for the Sabrina Award were Zahra Khan, who is interested in assistant directing, and Jessica Garcia, who will attend Queensborough Community College in the Fall.

Donations by check to the Sabrina Fund should be made out to NYWIFT with Sabrina Fund noted. Please mail to NYWIFT, 6 East 39th Street, Suite 1200, New York, NY 10016-0112. Donations can also be made online at