Young Guns

Young Guns is a portfolio competition awarding creative professionals 30 years and under, including designers, illustrators, entrepreneurs, and more!

2020: Let's face it — this was not going to be a normal year for anybody in the creative community. COVID-19 has affected everyone in ways great and small, but we knew that Young Guns 18 would carry on. After all, this is an award that honors a young creative's body of work over multiple years, not just what could be done over Zoom and with social distancing. And so the call for entries was opened in June, and the global response far surpassed expectations that had been muted by the pandemic.

Believing that diversity breeds diversity, this year's Young Guns jury was expanded to include more than 80 creatives from around the world and across many cultures and disciplines. With the usual split between past Young Guns winners who know firsthand of the glory this accolade brings, alongside other respected professionals bringing their own unique perspectives, the jury spent nearly three months going over hundreds of submissions. After multiple rounds of scoring, they settled on a finalist list of 83 entrants, all leading to spirited discussions that resulted in this year's class of 31 new inductees into the Young Guns family.

Alas, the raucous New York awards ceremony that is a hallmark of the Young Guns experience was not to be this year, but we still managed to salute the Young Guns 18 class virtually, from wherever they are in the world.

Young Guns 18

Phillip Youmans


Phillip Youmans has the spirit of an old-soul, wise beyond his years. He demonstrates a confidence in his storytelling, underlined by his restraint. He moves effortlessly between fiction and non-fiction, embracing his bold aesthetic and the unique lens through which he views the world, to tell deeply personal stories that speak to universal truths. His work is magical and poetic, layered and nuanced; it’s understated but demands attention.

The New Orleans-raised filmmaker premiered his debut feature BURNING CANE starring Wendell Pierce at Tribeca last spring, where it won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best Cinematography, and also Best Actor for Wendell Pierce. At 19, Youmans was the youngest director to feature in the festival and the first Black filmmaker to win the top prize. He also received a nomination for Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards and the film was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. BURNING CANE was acquired by Ava DuVernay’s Array Now and is currently available to stream on Netflix.




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