Filmmaker Gita Pullapilly (FIN '99) wins University award

Author: Bill Gangluff

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Gita Pullapilly

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association this week announced the recipients of three of its annual awards.

Dr. Peter J. Daley and Rev. Thomas Streit, C.S.C., both will receive the Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award, which is conferred on graduates who have exhibited outstanding service to humankind.

The William D. Reynolds Award, which is given to an alumnus or alumna doing exceptional work with youth for the betterment of the quality of life, will be presented to Karen Gunter.

And Gita Pullapilly will be honored with the Rev. Anthony J. Lauck Award, which is given to a graduate for outstanding accomplishments or achievements as a practicing artist.

Gunter and Pullapilly will accept their awards during the winter meeting of the Alumni Association Board of Directors on Jan. 15, while Daley and Father Streit will be honored later this year.

Pullapilly will receive this award in recognition of her distinguished work as a director, writer and producer.

After graduating from Notre Dame in 1999 with a degree in finance, Pullapilly earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She worked as a local news broadcaster before transitioning into a career as a filmmaker.

In 2009, Pullapilly co-wrote and produced the Emmy-nominated documentary, “The Way We Get By,” a heartfelt story about three senior citizens finding purpose in their lives. In 2014, she made her directorial debut with “Beneath the Harvest Sky,” which earned her a spot on Variety’s list of “10 Directors to Watch.” Pullapilly was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship for her work as a filmmaker in 2015.

In addition to her entertainment career, Pullapilly founded The Center for International Training, Education and Development Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on training aid organizations in developing countries on how to champion and prioritize social issues with the media. Currently, she is working on two projects in Kenya and India focusing on cancer and women’s rights initiatives.

“Rev. Lauck was an artist that devoted his life to his creative work and his faith,” Pullapilly said. “As a filmmaker, I strive to find ways to tell stories of social relevance that will resonate with those from all walks of life. When I was a student at Notre Dame, I spent much time reflecting upon my life in front of many of Rev. Lauck’s creations — his stained-glassed windows and statues around campus. I am incredibly humbled to be able to receive this honor now in his name.”

Read the entire story on the University website.