Nineteen student filmmakers got the opportunity to "thank the academy" at the actual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday night.
The winners of the 45th Student Academy Awards are eligible to compete for a 2018 Academy Award in the animated short, live action short and documentary short categories. They join an esteemed list of Student Academy Award alumni like Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis.
During the presentation in the storied Samuel L. Goldwyn theater, presenters like "The Big Sick" star and co-writer Kumail Nanjiani and "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke introduced a fascinating array of short films ranging in subject from an animated raccoon trying to handle a flashlight somewhat clumsily to a teenage girl who showcases a suicide confessional in her high school film class and a documentary about dust.
Seven hundred film academy members sifted through 1,582 entries from 400 schools (278 domestic and 122 international) to arrive at the final winners, who hail from locations including China, India, Switzerland, Mongolia and France. Categories recognized include narrative, documentary, animated and alternative productions by American and international college students.
Winners were given a few minutes onstage at the storied Samuel Goldwyn Theater, flanked by two larger-than-life Oscar statuettes to accept the award and give a speech, thanking the film academy, partners, and moms and dads.
"My mom gave me so many children's books for me to read," said Hanna Kim, who won the gold medal for animation for her short "Raccoon and the Light." ''Those books ended up being my main inspiration and reason for making this film."
Not all the winners were young adults. Mart Bira, who won the gold award for international documentary, noted that at 45, she is "the same age as the Student Academy Awards." Bira, who directed the short "Nomadic Doctor," said she was the first Mongolian filmmaker to receive the award, for which she was "truly honored."
The Student Academy Awards is a tradition dating back to 1972 to help spotlight emerging global talent in the entertainment industry. This past year, two winners went on to get Oscar nominations — Kevin Wilson Jr. for his live action short "My Nephew Emmett" and Katja Benrath for "Watu Wote/All of Us."
The 2018 Student Academy Award winners:
- "Reanimated," Shae Demandt, Florida State University
- "Daisy," Yu Yu, University of Southern California
- "Raccoon and the Light," Hanna Kim, California Institute of the Arts
- "Re-Gifted," Eaza Shukla, Ringling College of Art and Design
- "The Green Bird," Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc and Quentin Dubois, MOPA
- "An Edited Life," Mathieu Faure, New York University
- "Dust Rising," Lauren Schwartzman, University of California, Berkeley
- "Love & Loss," Yiying Li, University of Southern California
- "Nomadic Doctor," Mart Bira, University of Hertfordshire
- "Esta Es Tu Cuba"/ "This Is Your Cuba," Brian Robau, Chapman University
- "Lalo's House," Kelley Kali, University of Southern California
- "Spring Flower," Hua Tong, University of Southern California
- "A Siege," Istvan Kovacs, University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest
- "Almost Everything," Lisa Gertsch, Zurich University of the Arts
- "Get Ready with Me," Jonatan Etzler, Stockholm Academy of the Arts