Academy Reveals 2021 Student Academy Award Winners & Medals

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted 17 students as winners of the 48th Student Academy Awards competition. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards in the seven award categories will be presented by Oscar-winning filmmaker and 1992 Student Academy Award winner Pete Docter, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, and filmmakers Marielle Heller and Nanfu Wang in a virtual program highlighting the winners and their films on Thursday, October 21.

This year, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,404 submissions from 210 domestic and 126 international colleges and universities.  The 2021 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis.

Animation category winners hailed from established institutes CalArts, Ringling and MoPA, alongside first-time SAA-winning school Cleveland Institute of Art.

Hosted by Amandla Stenberg, the 2021 ceremony is now available to view here.

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Unforgotten, Sujin Kim, California Institute of the Arts

This experimental CG animated documentary conveys the lifelong after-effects and painful memories of Korean women who suffered as forced “Comfort Women” (sex slaves) in “Comfort Stations” under the Imperial Japanese military occupation during World War II. Four late Korean victims give oral testimonies in a manner that each victim’s personal experience is connected to the next story, which together form one huge tragic tale about horrible sexual violence imposed over unprotected women during the wartime.

Silver: Barking Orders, Alexander Tullo, Ringling College of Art & Design

In this texture-rich CG comedy, the Queen’s corgi ascends the throne, and goes barking mad with power.

Bronze: Slumber with Snakes, Teagan Barrone, Cleveland Institute of Art

In 1921, an 11-year-old African-American boy is separated from his friend while being chased by a fuming racist mob. Finding a cave, he is no longer in danger from the mob, but from the rattlesnakes looming in the dark. Based on a true story.


Animation (International Film Schools)

Gold: Les Chaussures de Louis (Louis’s Shoes), Théo Jamin, Kayu Leung and Marion Philippe, MoPA (France)

Louis, an eight and a half years old autistic kid, arrives in his new school and he is about to introduce himself.

Les Chaussures de Louis – Teaser 01 from Les Chaussures de Louis on Vimeo.


Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools)

Gold: Frozen Out, Hao Zhou, University of Iowa


Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)

Gold: When They’re Gone, Kristen Hwang, University of California, Berkeley

Silver: Eagles Rest in Liangshan, Bohao Liu, New York University

Bronze: Not Just a Name, De’Onna Young-Stephens, University of Southern California


Documentary (International Film Schools)

Gold: Why Didn’t You Stay for Me?, Milou Gevers, Nederlandse Filmacademie (The Netherlands)


Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)

Gold: When the Sun Sets, Phumi Morare, Chapman University

Silver: Close Ties to Home Country, Akanksha Cruczynski, Columbia College Chicago

Bronze: No Law, No Heaven, Kristi Hoi, University of California, Los Angeles


Narrative (International Film Schools)

Gold: Tala’vision, Murad Abu Eisheh, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Silver: Adisa, Simon Denda, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (Germany)

Bronze: Bad Omen, Salar Pashtoonyar, York University (Canada)

2021 Student Academy Award winners.
2021 Student Academy Award winners.

All Student Academy Award-winning films are eligible to compete for 2021 Oscars in the Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film or Documentary Short Subject category.  Past winners have gone on to receive 65 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 14 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.

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