By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com


Beverly Hills, CA – May 2, 2012 — Thirty-five students from 20 U.S. colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 39th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. Academy members will view the finalists’ films at special screenings and vote to select the winners. Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards, along with accompanying cash grants of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively, may be presented in each of four categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary and Narrative. Winners will be brought to Los Angeles, along with the international student winners in the Foreign Student Film category, for a week of industry activities and social events that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 9, at 6 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):
“Falconer,” Micah Robert Barber, University of Texas at Austin
“In Between Shadows,” Tianran Duan, University of Southern California
“Last Remarks,” Umar Riaz, New York University
“Peace at Home,” Avital Epstein, Florida State University
“The Reality Clock,” Amanda Tasse, University of Southern California
“SiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSiSi,” Juan Camilo González, University of Southern California
“Terra Cotta Warrior,” Bin Li, Rochester Institute of Technology
“Us,” Alex Lora, City College of New York

“Chocolate Milk,” Eliza Kinkz, University of California, Los Angeles
“Cowboy, Clone, Dust,” Matthew Christensen, New York University
“Eyrie,” David Wolter, California Institute of the Arts
“The Jockstrap Raiders,” Mark Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles
“La Lune et le Coq,” Raymond McCarthy Bergeron, Rochester Institute of Technology
“Lizard and the Ladder,” Aaron Bristow, Utah Valley University*
“My Little Friend,” Eric Prah, Ringling College of Art and Design
“Reviving Redwood,” Matt Sullivan, Ringling College of Art and Design
“Shinobi Blues,” Yue Liu, School of Visual Arts

“Dignity Harbor: A Home Away from Homeless,” Michael Gualdoni, Lindenwood University*
“Dying Green,” Ellen Tripler, American University
“Hiro: A Story of Japanese Internment,” Keiko Wright, New York University
“Lost Country,” Heather Burky, Art Institute of Jacksonville*
“Love Hacking,” Jenni Nelson, Stanford University
“Pot Country,” Mario Furloni, University of California, Berkeley
“Reporting on The Times: The New York Times and the Holocaust,” Emily Harrold, New York University
“Smoke Songs,” Briar March, Stanford University
“Why Am I Still Alive,” Hanzhang Shen, School of Visual Arts

“Benny,” Huay-Bing Law, University of Texas at Austin
“Contra el Mar,” Richard Parkin, University of California, Los Angeles
“Hatch,” Christoph Kuschnig, Columbia University
“Mr. Bellpond,” A. Todd Smith, Brigham Young University
“Nani,” Justin Tipping, American Film Institute
“Narcocorrido,” Ryan Prows, American Film Institute
“The Recorder Exam,” Bora Kim, Columbia University
“Requited,” Madeline Puzzo, Point Park University*
“Under,” Mark Raso, Columbia University

*Indicates first-time finalist entry for the school/university

To reach this stage, U.S. students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each region is permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalists in each of the four categories. Academy members have selected students from Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom as finalists in the Foreign Film category.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award® winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar® nominations and have won or shared eight awards. At the 84th Academy Awards earlier this year, 2011 Student Academy Award winners Hallvar Witzø and Max Zähle were nominated in the Live

Action Short Film category for “Tuba Atlantic” and “Raju,” respectively. James Spione, a Student Academy Award winner in 1987, earned a nomination in the Documentary Short Subject category for “Incident in New Baghdad.”

The 39th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony on June 9 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required. Tickets are available now, online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office, or by mail. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

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“We now have a situation where audiences very often prefer commercial trash to Bergman’s Persona or Bresson’s L’Argent. Professionals find themselves shrugging, and predicting that serious, significant works will have no success with the general public. What is the explanation? Decline of taste or impoverishment of repertoire? Neither and both. It is simply that cinema now exists, and is evolving, under new conditions. That total, enthralling impression which once overwhelmed the audiences of the 1930s was explained by the universal delight of those who were witnessing and rejoicing over the birth of a new art form, which furthermore had recently acquired sound. By the very fact of its existence this new art, which displayed a new kind of wholeness, a new kind of image, and revealed hitherto unexplored areas of reality, could not but astound its audiences and turn them into passionate enthusiasts.

Less than twenty years now separate us from the twenty-first century. In the course of its existence, through its peaks and troughs, cinema has travelled a long and tortuous path. The relationship that has grown up between artistic films and the commercial cinema is not an easy one, and the gulf between the two becomes wider every day. Nonetheless, films are being made all the time that are undoubtedly landmarks in the history of cinema. Audiences have become more discerning in their attitude to films. Cinema as such long ago ceased to amaze them as a new and original phenomenon; and at the same time it is expected to answer a far wider range of individual needs. Audiences have developed their likes and dislikes. That means that the filmmaker in turn has an audience that is constant, his own circle. Divergence of taste on the part of audiences can be extreme, and this is in no way regrettable or alarming; the fact that people have their own aesthetic criteria indicates a growth of self-awareness.

Directors are going deeper into the areas which concern them. There are faithful audiences and favorite directors, so that there is no question of thinking in terms of unqualified success with the public—that is, if one is talking about cinema not as commercial entertainment but as art. Indeed, mass popularity suggests what is known as mass culture, and not art.”
~ Andrei Tarkovsky, “Sculpting In Time”

“People seem to be watching [fewer] movies, which I think is a mistake on people’s parts, and they seem to be making more of them, which I think is okay. Some of these movies are very good. When you look at the quality of Sundance movies right now, they are a lot better than they were when I was a kid. I do think that there have been improvements artistically, but it’s tough. We’ve got a system that’s built for less movies in terms of how many curatorial standard-bearers we have in the states. It’s time for us to expand our ideas of where we find our great films in America, but that said, it’s a real hustle. I’m so happy that Factory 25 exists. If it didn’t exist, there would be so many movies that wouldn’t ever get distributed because Matt Grady is the only person who has seen the commercial potential in them. He’s preserving a very special moment in independent film history that the commercial system is not going to be preserving. He’s figuring out how to make enough money on it to save these films and get them onto people’s shelves.”
~ Homemakers‘ Colin Healey On Indie Distribution