Announcing the 5th Annual Spotlight Awards

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The Los Angeles Film School will host its 5th annual Spotlight Awards ceremony celebrating the new Spotlight Academy Class of 2024 members. This year’s Spotlight Awards will be an in-person celebration, as well as on a live stream, at Ivar Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., on September 12. Stay tuned for updates on special guest appearances from entertainment industry leaders and exclusive chats with the inductees during the show. 

The award show is only the tip of the iceberg of The L.A. Film School’s Spotlight Week, which features a variety of interactive events designed for both on-campus and online students and alumni. Throughout the week, participants will have exclusive access to expert panel discussions, networking sessions, live equipment demonstrations with exhibitors, including Focusrite Group, CDW-G, B&H, MSI, and Sony, prize giveaways, and more. The event runs from Monday, September 9 through Thursday, September 12, 2024, culminating in the Spotlight Awards ceremony on Thursday evening.

The Spotlight Academy – Est. 2019

The Spotlight Academy pays tribute to the heart, the creative and the dedicated among The Los Angeles Film School’s alumni. Each year, Academy Inductees are honored for their unyielding commitment to excellence in their professional career and selfless contribution of time and connection to our students and community. It is with great privilege we shine a spotlight on these inspirational and exceptional individuals.

Introducing the 2024 Spotlight Academy Class

James Cotten (Film 2001)

Painted Woman | La Linea – The Line | Demon Slayer

Award-winning filmmaker James Cotten has had a multifaceted-career spanning over 25 years, including work as a director, actor, producer, script writer, film editor, VFX producer, and post producer. James got his start in the industry when famed producer Roger Corman and The L.A. Film School partnered and James was selected to direct the film Demon Slayer only three months after graduating. Since that time, he has gone on to direct three other films, including one of the Top Three Most Rented Movies in America: La Linea, starring Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta. As a member of the Producers Guild, James has produced 11 films and has ventured into post-production, owning and operating two post facilities with over 50 post and VFX-producing credits including Pitch Perfect, Captain Fantastic, and Extraction 2.

Marlon Rivas (Animation 2015)

Avatar: The Way of Water | Stranger Things | Rebel Moon

As an immigrant, veteran, and artist, Marlon Rivas’ story is as much about where he’s from as it is about where he is going. El Salvador-born and L.A.-raised, Marlon immigrated to the US as a young child. His interest in the film industry remained a dream until he completed his military service, which opened up new doors for his career. Going through both the Associate and Bachelor degree programs at The L.A. Film School, Marlon now works as a visualization generalist, taking shots from beginning to end, using a combination of disciplines from tracking, animating, lighting, rendering, and compositing. Marlon has racked up dozens of credits, from Aquaman to Zombieland

Mehrnaz Mohabati (Audio 2014)

American Fiction  |  Shadow and Bone  |  Winning Time

Driven by a passion for crafting immersive and impactful sound experiences, Mehrnaz Mohabati is a force to be reckoned with in the world of audio storytelling.  Mehrnaz worked as a sound engineer in Iran before immigrating to the United States to pursue her education. Now a seasoned ADR mixer known for her natural flow sessions, Mehrnaz helps actors attain their best performances and has worked with notable talent such as Al Pacino, Willem Dafoe, and Molly Shannon. Her talent has garnered industry recognition, including a MPSE Golden Reel Award nomination for Outstanding Sound Editing in the documentary Fire Chasers, and an AAAA Best Sound award for Soul Diaspora.

Peter Munters (Audio 2014, Entertainment Business 2015)

Over It  |  All Hail King Julien  |  Harley Quinn  |  Lego DC Batman

As a songwriter, touring performer, and audio engineer, Peter Munters has certainly made (sound) waves in the entertainment industry. Peter got his start as the singer for the skatepunk band Over It, and later, Runner Runner. He has since found his niche specializing in sound for animation as a Recording Engineer/Dialogue Editor as well as showcasing his talents as a casting and voice director for commercials, video games, and animation. Peter has been nominated for Daytime Emmys in Outstanding Sound Editing and Sound Mixing in Animation, and has received multiple Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel nominations, including his win in 2019 as a Dialog Editor/ADR Mixer for Lego DC Batman: Family Matters.

Joshua Gitersonke (Film 2007)

The Amazing Race | The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special | Survivalist

From reality adventure to acclaimed camerawork, Joshua Gitersonke’s passion for visual storytelling shines. As a director of photography and steadicam operator, Joshua’s affinity for physical challenges is evident in the projects he chooses like The Amazing Race and National Geographic’s Race to the Center of the Earth. He often finds himself doing the same physical challenges as the show contestants, but with a 25-pound camera on his shoulder. Whether climbing a rock face or running up a mountain, his extensive camera experience is exemplified in the nine Emmy® nominations he’s received, and his win for Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, and Video Control – a career highlight.

 The Los Angeles Film School is honored to celebrate these outstanding alumni for their significant impact on the entertainment industry. Their achievements reflect the excellence and dedication nurtured within our school.

Find out more about the Spotlight Awards at