Newhouse student wins OZY Genius Award, will create short film exploring mental health

Newhouse School senior David Anthony Barbier Jr. has been named an OZY Genius Award winner for 2023. The annual program provides college students with up to $10,000 to work on a proposed original project.

Barbier, a television, radio and film major, is writing a script for a short film titled “Numb.” He aims to create a piece that will encourage people, especially men, to seek help and access mental health treatment. The story follows the main character Lynel, who goes to therapy following a traumatic event and tries to wall off his emotions.

“‘Numb’ will dive into how, even when it can feel unbearable sometimes, these emotions serve as a balance to ensure that we truly appreciate the good in our lives,” Barbier says. “This story will explain the importance of understanding our feelings and emotions. I want people to come away from this and feel as if they can be their most authentic and vulnerable self, emotions and all.”

In addition to funding, OZY Genius Award winners receive mentorship support. Final projects will debut at a showcase in September.

Barbier, a Syracuse University Posse Scholar, was a 2021 Jeff Ubben Posse Fellow. Through that program, he spent a summer shadowing AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan and published an interview with him. He also completed the Nyah Project’s Global Youth Leadership Fellowship program, studied in South Korea last spring and participated in the Newhouse LA program in the fall. A native of Miami, he plans to move to Los Angeles after graduation and pursue a career as a screenwriter, actor and director.