Finalists announced for Student Academy Awards

May 05, 2004 by Ian Evans

Twenty-nine students from 17 colleges and universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 31st annual Student Academy Awards competition. Their films will now be screened for and judged by Academy members in order to select the winners. Gold, silver and bronze medals, along with accompanying cash prizes of $5000, $3000 and $2000, may be awarded in each of the four categories. Winning filmmakers will participate in a week of industry-related and social activities, culminating in the presentation ceremony on June 13.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title within category):


  • 9:30, Mun Chee Yong, University of Southern California
  • Bobbycrush, Cam Archer, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Focus, Bill Ridlehoover and Nilanjan Neil Lahiri, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia
  • Highway 403, Mile 39, Mitch McCabe, New York University
  • S.P.I.C.: The Storyboard of My Life, Robert Castillo, School of Visual Arts, New York


  • The Box Man, Nirvan Mullick, California Institute of the Arts
  • Cats, Chris Choy, California Institute of the Arts
  • Crimenals, Gregory Araya, University of Southern California
  • Fragile, David Cumbo, Art Institute of Pittsburgh
  • Going Up? Marci Ellis, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
  • Lemmings, Craig Van Dyke, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher, Alexander Woo, New York University
  • Rock the World, Sukwon Shin, School of Visual Arts, New York
  • Son of Satan, JJ Villard, California Institute of the Arts
  • Tricks for a Treat, Jeff Mednikow, School of Visual Arts, New York


  • The Adventures of Mad Matt, Scott Rice, University of Texas at Austin
  • Cheerleader, Kimberlee Bassford, University of California, Berkeley
  • Cuba: Illogical Temple, David Pittock and Lindsey Kealy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Wet Dreams and False Images, Jesse Epstein, New York University.
  • When the Storm Came, Shilpi Gupta, University of California, Berkeley


  • A-Alike, Randall Dottin, Columbia University
  • Audrey & Einstein, Julie Anne Meerschwam, Columbia University
  • Bicycles and Radios, Nathapon Wongtreenatrkoon, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California
  • Hope to Die, Eva Husson, American Film Institute, Los Angeles
  • Perils in Nude Modeling, Scott Rice, University of Texas at Austin
  • The Plunge, Todd Schulman, Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • The Rick, Tim McCarthy, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Seibutsu (Still: Life), Joe Turner Lin, Columbia University
  • Zeke, Dana Buning, Florida State University, Tallahassee
Rice is the first student to reach the finals in two categories in the same year. McCabe won a silver medal in the 1995 competition for her documentary Playing the Part, made at Harvard College.

To reach this stage, students competed in one of three regional competitions. Each of those regions was permitted to send to the Academy up to three finalist films in each of the four categories. An honorary foreign film student will also be honored by the Academy. Five students from Denmark, Germany, Russia and Switzerland have been named as finalists.

The Student Academy Awards were established by the Academy in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.