The University of New Orleans has awarded the Joseph Patrick Uddo Scholarship in Screenwriting for the 2016-17 academic year to Brian Alexander. The scholarship, which provides a total of $1,500 in tuition and fees for a full academic year, honors the memory of Uddo, a filmmaker and New Orleans native who died in 2008. Alexander and members of the Uddo family gathered with others from the UNO community at a ceremony in UNO’s Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 7 to celebrate Uddo’s memory and the opportunity his legacy creates for talented UNO students like Alexander.
The son of Cuban exiles, Alexander grew up in Miami, Florida until moving to the Gulf Coast as a member of Americorps to aid the Katrina recovery effort. After completing his terms of service, he decided to make the area his second home and completed his undergraduate degree in film at the University of Southern Mississippi. He moved to New Orleans to continue his pursuit of film, focusing on screenwriting in UNO’s Creative Writing Workshop.
Joseph Patrick Uddo died on Dec. 7, 2008 at age 33. A graduate of Jesuit High School, he attended the New York Film Academy, where he taught after graduation. Uddo was a screenwriter and camera operator who worked on several feature length films including Monster's Ball and Stranger Than Fiction, said his brother Paul Uddo, who is president of the Joseph Patrick Uddo Foundation. Filmmaking was his passion and his family established the nonprofit Joseph Patrick Uddo Foundation to create an enduring memorial in his name.
The Joseph Patrick Uddo Foundation started a scholarship at UNO to honor his brother's memory in a way that reflected his love of filmmaking, Paul Uddo said. A $40,000 gift in 2012 established the Joseph Patrick Uddo Scholarship in Screenwriting, and an annual award is made to an entering graduate student who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting.
"Joseph was passionate about filmmaking and especially about the art of screenwriting," Paul Uddo said. "This scholarship is intended to encourage and support others who share that passion. We are fortunate to have an outstanding film school here at UNO and we believe that this is a fitting place to memorialize Joseph, and to share his love of filmmaking with other young artists."
Alexander’s name now graces an engraved plaque that hangs in the University's Performing Arts Center. Also listed are the four previous recipients: Mark Twain Williams, who received the inaugural scholarship in 2012; Katheryn Warzak; Eric Hollerbach; and Elizabeth Brina.