Thirty-two students from 20 American colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 35th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. Their films will be judged by Academy members, who will then vote to select the winners.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal awards, in addition to cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000, respectively, “may be presented” in each of four categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary, and Narrative. (I'm assuming that means that in some years there'll be no, say, Gold for Animation or Bronze for Alternative.)
Winning filmmakers will take part in a week of “industry-related and social activities,” the high point of which will be the awards ceremony on June 7, 2008.
The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title within category):
Circles of Confusion, Phoebe Tooke, San Francisco State University
Come Wander With Me, Phillip Van, New York University
Comfort Zone, Mandi Lin, California College of the Arts
A Convolution of Imagined Histories, Thomas Micah Stansell, Georgia State University
Doxology (above), Michael Langan, Rhode Island School of Design
Fish, Hyun Jeen Lee, The School of Visual Arts, New York
Viola: The Traveling Rooms of a Little Giant, Shih-Ting Hung, University of Southern California
The Gloaming, Andrew Huang, University of Southern California
Mr. Popcorn, Alexander Krivicich, Cornell University, New York
Paper Shepherd, David Houry, The Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio
Simulacra (above), Tatchapon Lertwirojkul, The School of Visual Arts
Snow Day, Kim Hazel, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
Toumai, Carlos Stevens, The Art Institute of Portland, Oregon
The Visionary, Evan Mayfield, Ringling College of Art and Design
Zoologic, Nicole Mitchell, California Institute of the Arts
As We Forgive, Laura Waters Hinson, American University, Washington, D.C.
If a Body Meet a Body, Brian Davis, University of Southern California
The Legend of Rosalie, Nicholas Berger, Stanford University
Recruiter, Adam Salky, Columbia University, New York
Song of a Sperm Donor (above), Emmanuel Dayan, Stanford University
Tijuana, Nada Mas, Yolanda Pividal, City College of New York
Unattached, J.J. Adler, Columbia University
Cassandra (above), Mauricio Chernovetzky, San Diego State University
A Day's Work, Rajeev Dassani, University of Southern California
A Death in Progress, Donald Bitters III, Columbia College Chicago
Mr. A., Joe Murphy, Columbia University
PAL/SECAM, Dmitry Povolotsky, Columbia University
Picture Day, Nick Paley, New York University
Pitstop, Melanie McGraw, University of Southern California
Red Wednesday, Nazanin Shirazi, University of Texas at Austin
The State of Sunshine, Z. Eric Yang, Florida State University
Wianbu – Comfort Woman, James Bang, Columbia University
Philip Van (in the Alternative category) won the Silver Medal in the Narrative category in 2007 with High Maintenance.
As per the Academy's press release, “to reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalist films in each of the four categories.”
A foreign student will also be honored by the Academy in the Honorary Foreign Film category. Academy voters have selected finalists from the Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Israel, and Slovenia.
The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 “to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.” Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive a total of 35 Oscar nominations and have won or shared six Academy Awards. Two former Student Academy Award winners were nominees in the Documentary Short Subject category at the 2008 Academy Awards – James Longley and Amanda Micheli (with Isabel Vega) for, respectively, Sari's Mother and La Corona (The Crown).
Tickets for the 35th Annual Student Academy Awards presentation ceremony, at which the Gold Medal-winning films and the winning foreign student film will be screened in their entirety, are free and now available. A maximum of four tickets may be requested online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office, by mail, or by calling the Student Academy Awards department at (310) 247-3000, ext. 130. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 5 p.m. All seating is unreserved.
April 29: Five finalists will compete for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Honorary Foreign Film award in the 35th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. As per the Academy's press release, the winning foreign student filmmaker and the US-based Student Academy Award winners will be brought to Los Angeles “to participate in a week of industry-related activities and social events.” The awards presentation ceremony will be held on June 7 in Beverly Hills.
The finalists – four Europeans and one Israeli – are (listed in alphabetical order of film title):
- I Am Bigger and Better (top photo), Martin Duda, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, Czech Republic
- New Dress, Sergi Perez, Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya, Spain
- On the Line (right), Reto Caffi, Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany
- Roads (below), Lior Geller, Tel Aviv University Film and Television Department, Israel
- Vucko, Matev Luzar, University of Ljubljana - Akademija za Gledalisee Radio Film in Televizijo, Slovenia
This is the first time a film from Slovenia has made it to the finals in the Honorary Foreign Film category. The five finalists were selected from out of 45 entries representing 29 countries.
Several past winners in the Honorary Foreign Film competition have gone on to receive Academy Award wins and nominations. At the 78th Academy Awards, student winner Ulrike Grote's Ausreisser (The Runaway) was nominated in the Live Action Short Film category. At the 75th Academy Awards, student winner Martin Strange-Hansen of Denmark won the Oscar in the Live Action Short Film category for This Charming Man. He had won the Honorary Foreign Film award that same year (2002) with Feeding Desire.
In 2000, Florian Gallenberger of Germany won both the Honorary Foreign Film award and the Oscar in the Live Action Short Film category with Quiero Ser. Two other previous winners, Jan Sverak, who was a student in the former Czechoslovakia, and Mike van Diem of The Netherlands, have gone on to direct films that won Oscar statuettes in the Foreign Language Film category – for, respectively, Kolya and Karakter.
Tickets for the 35th Annual Student Academy Awards presentation ceremony, at which the winning foreign student film and the Gold Medal award-winning films from the U.S. will be screened in their entirety, are free and will be available beginning May 1. A maximum of four tickets may be requested online at www.oscars.org in person at the Academy box office, by mail or by calling the Student Academy Awards department at (310) 247-3000, ext. 130. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater, located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 5 p.m. All seating is unreserved.
The Academy, not an organization to waste any time when it comes to the Oscars, has announced that the 2009 Oscar ceremony will take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live in the US by ABC.
Key dates currently scheduled are:
- Monday, December 1, 2008: Official Screen Credits forms due.
- Friday, December 26, 2008: Nominations ballots mailed.
- Monday, January 12, 2009: Nominations polls close 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
- Thursday, January 22, 2009: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
- Wednesday, January 28, 2009: Final ballots mailed.
- Monday, February 2, 2009: Nominees Luncheon (nominees luncheon 2008 photos).
- Saturday, February 7, 2009: Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards presentation.
- Tuesday, February 17, 2009: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT.
- Sunday, February 22, 2009: 81st Annual Academy Awards presentation.
As per the Academy's press release, “one notable change” for the 81st Academy Awards is the move of the nominations announcement from the traditional Tuesday to a Thursday so as not to conflict with the 2009 (US) presidential inauguration.