Thirteen students from nine colleges and universities were honored on June 13 as winners in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 36th Annual Student Academy Awards® competition. For several days, they had participated in a slate of industry-related activities and social events culminating in the awards ceremony, which featured as presenters actor Gary Oldman, director John Landis, animator Andreas Deja and Academy first vice president Robert Rehme at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
While the U.S. winners would each receive an award, the level of that award – Gold, Silver or Bronze – was not revealed until the ceremony. Gold Medal recipients received cash grants of $5,000, Silver Medal recipients were awarded $3,000 and Bronze Medal recipients were awarded $2,000. The Honorary Foreign Film winner received a $1,000 cash grant.
The U.S. students first competed in one of three regional competitions. Each of those regions was permitted to send as many as three finalist films in each of the four award categories. Academy members then screened the films and voted to select the winners.
“Elkland,” the Honorary Foreign Film winner, was selected from a pool of 57 entries, representing foreign colleges and universities in 39 countries.
The Academy established Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Among the many past winners who have gone on to prominent careers in the film and television industries are Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter and Trey Parker. In 2008 two former Student Academy Award winners received Oscar® nominations: Pete Docter, who earned a Student Academy Award in 1992, received his fourth nomination for the Original Screenplay for “WALL-E” and Reto Caffi, last year’s Honorary Foreign Film award winner, received his first nomination for the live action short film “Auf der Strecke (On the Line).” Over the years, former Student Academy Award winners have garnered a total of 37 Oscar nominations and have won or shared six awards.