Academy Singles Out Students

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named nominees for the 33rd Annual Student Academy Awards. A total of 34 students from 19 colleges and universities made the cut and will have their films judged by Academy members as they vie for gold, silver and bronze medals and the accompanying cash prizes of $5000, $3000 and $2000. Awards will be presented in the categories alternative, animation, documentary and narrative, while an Honorary Foreign Student Award is handed out to a filmmaker from outside the U.S.

This year’s animation contenders are Betty by Rie Ito from the School of Visual Arts, New York; The Dancing Thief by Meng Vue from Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; Institute for the Digitally Challenged by Riash Shahnawaz from Pratt Institute, New York; Lolly’s Box by Valerie LaPointe from the University of Southern California; Onnazuri: Or Men, Women, and Capitalism by Yusuke Murakami from New York University; The Possum by Chris Choy from California Institute of the Arts; The Shoes by Wenchung Lu from California Institute of the Arts; and Turtles by Thomas Leavitt from Brigham Young University.

To reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each of those regions was permitted to submit to the Academy up to three finalist films in each of the four categories. A Student Academy Award win puts a film in the running for an Oscar. Last year’s top student toon, Shane Acker’s 9, went to the big show but ended up losing to John Canemaker’s The Son and the Moon: An imagined Conversation. Acker is now directing 9 as a CG feature film for producer Tim Burton. Previous student winners who have gone on to greatness include director/producer Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express, Monster House), Pixar chreative head John Lasseter (Toy Story, Cars) and South Park co-creator Trey Parker.

The 33rd Annual Student Academy Awards will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, June 10, at 6. p.m.