The Academy honored the best and brightest student filmmakers Thursday night. It was the 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards, one of the most popular events of the year for the Academy — outside of the Oscars.
It was the 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards, one of the most popular events of the year for the Academy — outside of the Oscars.
Held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at Academy HQ, the sold-out ceremony honored outstanding student filmmakers domestically and internationally. Awards are presented in five categories: alternative, animation, documentary, foreign and narrative.
Twelve domestic and three foreign winners were announced in August, chosen by Academy members among a record number of entries — 1,686 films from 282 domestic and 93 international colleges and universities.
While the Academy has announced the winners in August, it revealed the placement of the winners — Gold, Silver or Bronze — at the ceremony Sept. 18. Academy members who attended special screenings determined the placements. Gold Medal award winners receive cash grants of $5,000; Silver Medal award winners receive $3,000; and Bronze Medal award winners receive $2,000.
Here is the list of winners (listed alphabetically by film title):
“Chiaroscuro,” Daniel Drummond, Chapman University, California Gold Medal
“Zoe,” ChiHyun Lee, The School of Visual Arts, New York Silver Medal
“Soar,” Alyce Tzue, Academy of Art University, San Francisco Gold Medal
“An Object at Rest,” Seth Boyden, California Institute of the Arts Silver Medal
“Taking the Plunge,” Nicholas Manfredi and Elizabeth Ku-Herrero, The School of Visual Arts Bronze Medal
“Looking at the Stars,” Alexandre Peralta, University of Southern California Gold Medal
“I Married My Family’s Killer,” Emily Kassie, Brown University Silver Medal
“Boxeadora,” Meg Smaker, Stanford University Bronze Medal
“Day One,” Henry Hughes, American Film Institute, California Gold Medal
“This Way Up,” Jeremy Cloe, American Film Institute Silver Medal
“Stealth,” Bennett Lasseter, American Film Institute Bronze Medal
“Fidelity,” Ilker Catak, Hamburg Media School, Germany Gold Medal
“The Last Will,” Dustin Loose, Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany Silver Medal
“Everything Will Be Okay…,” Patrick Vollrath, Filmakademie Wien, Austria Bronze Medal
A family affair
For one of the students, the ceremony was a family affair.
Bennett Lasseter, bronze winner in the narrative category for his short film "Stealth," is the son of John Lasseter, a two-time Student Academy Award-winner himself. (Both are pictured below.)
John, the Pixar and Disney chief creative officer, won an Oscar for 1988's "Tin Toy" in the Animated Short category with William Reeves.
The Student Academy Awards support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.
The beginnings of the awards came from a proposal by Herbert Klynn on Sept. 26, 1972, at a meeting of the Short Subjects Branch Executive Committee. An ad hoc committee was formed to "define" the awards. Months later, on July 9, 1973, the committee presented its recommendations. On Sept. 4, the rules for the first Student Film Awards competition were presented and approved by the Academy's Board of Governors.
The first Student Film Award winners were announced on Dec. 20, 1973. Academy member Jack Lemmon hosted a ceremony at the Academy Award Theater on Melrose Avenue. Each of the winners received "a share of the $5,000 in prize money from the National Association of Theater Owners and an engraved trophy designed by Academy member Saul Bass," according to Academy's website.
It was not until 1991, however, that "The Student Academy Awards" got its name, after being approved by the Board of Governors.
The Oscar connection
Since the program's inception, Student Academy Award winners have gone on to earn 47 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight Academy Awards.
This year (for the 87th Academy Awards), J. Christian Jensen, a 2014 Silver Medal winner, received an Oscar nomination for Documentary Short for “White Earth,” and Talkhon Hamzavi, a 2013 Silver Medal winner, received a nomination (with Stefan Eichenberger) for Live Action Short for “Parvaneh.”
Check out the official website for the Student Academy Awards.
The 88th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2015, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.