Twelve students from nine colleges and universities were honored Saturday as winners in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 35th 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 Oscar-nominated writer-director Jason Reitman, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, former Student Academy Award winner and Emmy-winning director Todd Holland, and Academy President Sid Ganis at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
The 2008 winners are:Honorary Foreign FilmON THE LINE (AUF DER STRECKE), Reto Caffi, Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany
Alternative*Gold Medal: VIOLA: THE TRAVELING ROOMS OF A LITTLE GIANT, Shih-Ting Hung, University of Southern CaliforniaSilver Medal: CIRCLES OF CONFUSION, Phoebe Tooke, San Francisco State University*Only two medals were awarded in the Alternative category.
AnimationGold Medal: ZOOLOGIC, Nicole Mitchell, California Institute of the ArtsSilver Medal: SIMULACRA, Tatchapon Lertwirojkul, The School of Visual Arts, New YorkBronze Medal: THE VISIONARY, Evan Mayfield, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
DocumentaryGold Medal: AS WE FORGIVE, Laura Waters Hinson, American University, Washington, D.C.Silver Medal: UNATTACHED, J.J. Adler, Columbia UniversityBronze Medal: IF A BODY MEET A BODY, Brian Davis, University of Southern California
NarrativeGold Medal: A DAY'S WORK, Rajeev Dassani, University of Southern CaliforniaSilver Medal: THE STATE OF SUNSHINE, Z. Eric Yang, Florida State UniversityBronze Medal: PITSTOP, Melanie McGraw, University of Southern California
While the U.S. winners knew they would each receive an award, the level of that award -- Gold, Silver or Bronze -- was not revealed until the ceremony. Besides trophies, Gold Medal recipients received $5,000, Silver Medal recipients were awarded $3,000 and Bronze Medal recipients were awarded $2,000. The Honorary Foreign Film winner received $1,000 in addition to the trophy.
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.
ON THE LINE (AUF DER STRECKE), the Honorary Foreign Film winner, was selected from a pool of 43 submissions, representing foreign colleges and universities in 29 countries.
The Academy established Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Among past winners who have gone on to prominent careers as filmmakers are Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter and Trey Parker.
In 2007, two former Student Academy Award winners received Oscar nominations: James Longley earned his second nomination for the Documentary Short Subject SARI'S MOTHER, and Amanda Micheli received her first nomination for LA CORONA (THE CROWN) with Isabel Vega. Over the years, former Student Academy Award winners have garnered a total of 35 Oscar nominations and have won or shared six awards.