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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

ACADEMY ANNOUNCES U.S. FINALISTS FOR 2012 STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS®

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):
Alternative
“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

Animation
“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

Documentary
“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

Narrative
“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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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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