Donald E. Lacy, Jr. Social Justice Award

At the Studio City Film Festival, we make it clear when you submit your film that we embrace diversity. This year, we had a record number of films directed by people of color and women.  Many of these films deal with social issues. In that vein, we have established a special “Social Justice” award, that celebrates excellence in filmmaking along with a social justice theme.


We wanted this award represented by an individual who has a strong entertainment and civil rights background. That man is Donald E. Lacy, Jr.  


Donald Lacy holds a B.A. degree in theater arts from San Francisco State and has been involved with entertainment ever since.


As a playwright, Mr. Lacy has had several of his plays produced, including The Loudest Scream You'll Never Hear, a critically acclaimed drama based on the Atlanta child murders; Homebase, a tragic comedy about crack-cocaine addiction; and Evolution of the Soul Brother, which toured nationally.


As a comic, Mr. Lacy was the first runner-up in the "1993 Bay Area Black Comedy Competition". He tours regularly across the U. S. and around the world as a headliner. He has been seen on BET's "Comic View and on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam". He has 2 comedy CD’s “Uncensored”, & “Free Speech Costs Plenty” Mr. Lacy spent his Thanksgiving holiday in 2001 entertaining the troops in a Far East tour that included; Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Singapore.  


As a radio broadcaster, Mr. Lacy had a show on KPOO FM in San Francisco for over 30 years that dealt with social issues, along with entertainment.  


As a filmmaker he has received a Bay Area Cable Excellence Award, and a Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award for his Public Service Announcement “Precious Gift.”


In 1997, Mr. Lacy’s daughter was an innocent bystander senselessly gunned down on the streets of Oakland. To help deal with his grief, he created the LoveLife foundation in memory of his daughter, LoEshe Adanma Lacy. In Nigerian, LoEshe means “Love Life.”


The LoveLife Foundation's Arts and Media Training Academy is an after school program that trains youth in radio and television broadcasting, as well as live theater. Several plays have been produced written and performed by youths that affirm life and speak out against violence. The foundation's after school program also has a homework center, and one-on-one mentoring.


The foundation’s motto is “Love Life, Don’t take Life.”


Mr. Lacy personally lobbied for the city of Oakland to make “Love Life” the official city motto. In 2017, the Oakland city council voted to make “Love Life” the official city slogan. Now when you enter the city of Oakland, the city limit signs read “Love Life.”


This past year, Mr. Lacy went to San Quentin prison to visit the man who murdered his daughter. He wanted to choose the path of forgiveness and asked the parole board to grant the man’s release. That wish was granted a few months ago.


This award will be given annually by the Studio City International Film Festival.


2018 Recipients:


B.O.L.O - Inspired by the Philando Castile shooting.  Directed by Kelli Wilcoxen


Modern Slave - A young girl coerced into sex-trafficking yearns to escape the emotional cage of her pimp. Directed by Daniel Sima.

The Talk - After an unarmed black teen is killed, James and Maddie argue about whether they should explain police brutality to their 9-year-old son. Directed by Marlon Perrier


#SLUT - A young writer's life is mysteriously impacted by a bullied high school girl. Directed by Jenna Kanell