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‘Ciervo’ Takes Domestic Animation Gold Medal at 2020 Student Academy Awards

Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma’s 2D animated short takes top Domestic Film Schools honor as medalists are announced at the 47th annual awards ceremony, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today honors 18 student winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 47th Student Academy Awards ceremony, being held virtual for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards will be announced and presented by experimental filmmaker Shunsaku Hayashi, Oscar-winning animator Glen Keane, Oscar-winning filmmaker and 1983 Student Academy Award winner Spike Lee, and filmmakers Dawn Porter and Lulu Wang.  Hosted by actor-director Eugenio Derbez, the ceremony is available to stream now on

Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma’s 2D animated short, Ciervo, made at Rhode Island School of Design, took the Gold in the Animation (Domestic Film Schools) category.

The complete list of medaled winners are as follows:

Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Curry Sicong Tian, Simulacra, University of Southern California

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma, Ciervo, Rhode Island School of Design
  • SILVER: Kate Namowicz and Skyler Porras, Mime Your Manners, Ringling College of Art & Design
  • BRONZE: Daniela Dwek, Maya Mendonca and Chrisy Baek, Hamsa, School of Visual Arts

Animation (International Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Pascal Schelbli, The Beauty, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Yucong Chen, Unfinished Lives, University of Southern California
  • SILVER: Allison A. Waite, The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins, University of Southern California
  • BRONZE: Laura Zéphirin, Making Waves, New York University

Documentary (International Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Maren Klakegg, Dear Father… Westerdals Institute of Film and Media, Kristiania University College (Norway)

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)

  • GOLD: Talia Smith, Umama, New York University
  • SILVER: Karishma Dube, Bittu, New York University
  • BRONZE: Rommel Villa Barriga, Sweet Potatoes, University of Southern California

Narrative (International Film Schools)

  • GOLD: German Golub, My Dear Corpses, Baltic Film & Media School, Tallinn University (Estonia)
  • SILVER: Percival Argüero Mendoza, Crescendo, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (Mexico)
  • BRONZE: Marie Mc Court, I Was Still There When You Left Me, Institut des Arts de Diffusion (Belgium)

All Student Academy Award-winning films are eligible to compete for 2020 Oscars in the Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film or Documentary Short Subject category. Past winners have gone on to receive 64 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 13 awards.

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 to provide a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work. 

The 2020 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis.  For more information about the Student Academy Awards and this year’s winners and presenters, visit

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.