2018 Winners

Runner up – A Joyful Gathering Place

by Christopher Langer

Third Place – ChildSafe: Designed to Heal

by Isaiah Rendon

People’s Choice – Ka Hale: A Revival

by MarQ Morrison

International Recognition – Freedom to Play

by Kathryn Sanders

See all finalist films >



  • $5,000 cash prize
    Travel and hotel accommodations for two in NYC
    Celebration and film screening at Architecture and Design Film Festival on October 16, 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $500 cash prize
    Film screened at Architecture and Design Film Festival in October 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $500 cash prize
    Film screened at Architecture and Design Film Festival in October 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal
  • $5,000 cash prize
    Travel and hotel accommodations for two in Chicago
    Celebration and film screening at Chicago Ideas Festival on October 18 2018
    Film distributed across multiple AIA channels
    Official film award seal

Each finalist will receive a $500 cash prize and an official film award seal


  • Marlene King

    I. Marlene King is a beloved writer and producer known for her distinct ability to tell coming of age stories that masterfully resonate with audiences of all ages from the classic movie “Now and Then” to the fan favorite “Pretty Little Liars.” Marlene was the creative force driving the latter and served as showrunner and executive producer on the series which received numerous accolades during its 7-season run. Currently, Marlene is delving into “PLL:The Perfectionists” a spinoff, which will introduce us to a new set of ‘Liars’ and mysteries in 2019 and she also has several projects in development through her production company, Long Lake Media.

  • Thatcher Bean

    In 2013 Thatcher helped start an in-house documentary film production arm within the non-profit architecture collective MASS Design Group. Over the last five years MASS has produced over forty short works, including Design That Heals, as well as the feature length documentary MADE IN ILIMA. MASS's films examine the effects of space on society and have screened internationally. He has served as a guest critic at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, workshop instructor at Columbia University and guest lecturer at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University.

  • Tiffany Brown, Assoc. AIA

    Born and raised in Detroit, Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a Master of Architecture, and a Master of Business Administration all from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Tiffany serves on the K-12 Working Group with the American Institute of Architects, serves on the Champions Board of the National Girls Collaborative, and is co-founder of the Urban Arts Collective. Tiffany works diligently to raise awareness on how planning and design makes a significant social impact in urban communities, and seeks to examine the influence of the built environment and its impacts on culture, behavior, and health.

  • Diana Budds

    Diana Budds is a New York-based architecture and design writer and the senior story producer for Curbed video. She's interested in how design affects and reflects culture. Through videos, online articles, print, and live events, she uncovers how the man-made world works and how a deeper understanding can move us toward a better place.

  • Mayor Steve Benjamin

    Since being elected mayor in a record turnout election in April 2010, Mayor Steve Benjamin has made it his mission to create in Columbia the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America. In addition to serving as Mayor of Columbia, Mayor Benjamin also serves as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as Chairman for Municipal Bonds for America, Member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council and Co-Chair of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign. Mayor Benjamin is married to the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, Chief Administrative Judge (Common Pleas) for South Carolina's Fifth Judicial Circuit.

  • Lynn Hirshfield

    Lynn Hirshfield is Participant Media’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Previously, she worked as a development executive for productions garnering various awards, including four Emmys, a Peabody Award and two Television Critics Awards for the PBS series “Wishbone.” She executive produced two documentaries, “Augie” on Hulu and “WiSci”, both directed by award-winning filmmaker James Keach. Lynn is partnering with Monumental Films on a narrative feature about Countess Ada Lovelace that is being funded by Google and SEE (the Science and Entertainment Exchange.) Lynn is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

  • Heather Koury, Hon. AIA

    Heather Koury has served as the executive director of AIA Memphis for 15 years. Heather is guided by her passion for design and social equity, and a deeply held belief that collaboration is critical to broadening the public’s understanding of the architect’s role in bringing innovative solutions to diverse community challenges.
    Heather has forged strategic partnerships and developed innovative programs across diverse public and private sectors to advance the mission of AIA, including the Paul Revere Williams Project, encouraging documentation and publication of research regarding his contributions to both practice and community.


Get to know the 2018 People’s Choice Award Winner

Get to Know the 2018 People’s Choice Award Winner MarQ Morrison earned the 2018 People’s Choice Award with an impressive 7,443 votes for his submission “Ka Hale: A Revival.” Read on to learn more about MarQ and his winning film. What is your background as a filmmaker? MM: I graduated with a B.A. in Motion […]

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Get to know the 2018 Grand Prize Winner

Filmmaker Cheryl Hess has had a busy month. After being named the 2018 AIA Film Challenge Grand Prize winner, she was off to New York to accept her award and screen her film at the opening night of the Architecture and Design Film Festival. Meet the person behind the camera and learn more about her […]

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Announcing the People’s Choice Award Winner and International Recognition

This year, over 40,000 votes were cast to decide the winning film for the 2018 People’s Choice Award, and the race for first place was close right up to the end! We are also proud to announce the winning international submission, that our esteemed panel of judges selected. Once again, our sincerest thanks to everyone […]

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Press & events


The 2018 AIA Film Challenge results – watch the winning entries

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