Finalists for 36th Annual Student Academy Awards announced

May 05, 2009 by Ian Evans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has chosen thirty-six students from 20 colleges and universities as finalists in the 36th Annual Student Academy Awards competition. AMPAS members will view these films at special screenings and vote to select the winners. Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards, along with accompanying cash prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, may be presented in each of four categories. Winning filmmakers will participate in a week of industry-related and social activities, culminating in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 13.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):


  • Alice’s Attic, Robyn Yanoukos, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Breathe, Sean Conaty and John Thompson, University of Southern California
  • Matter, In Quiescent State Prepares Itself to be Transformed, Kwibum Chung, School of Visual Arts, New York
  • Subconscious, Jason Chen, University of the Arts, Pennsylvania
  • Thirty-One Thousand Feet Above, Imran Shafi, University of Southern California


  • Cadillac ’59, Hamilton Lewis, Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida
  • Divers, Paris Mavroidis, Pratt Institute, New York
  • Entering the Mind through the Mouth, Jin Sung Choi, Academy of Art University, California
  • I Live in the Woods, Max Winston, California Institute of the Arts
  • Kites, Jed Henry, Brigham Young University
  • Lilium Urbanus, Joji Tsuruga and Anca Risca, School of Visual Arts
  • Pajama Gladiator, Glenn Harmon, Brigham Young University
  • Scrimshander, George Smaragdis, Pratt Institute
  • Sebastian’s Voodoo, Joaquin Baldwin, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Close to Home, Theo Rigby, Stanford University
  • In Circles, Emile Bokaer and Alaa Eldin El Dajani, Stanford University
  • The Last Mermaids, Liz Chae, Columbia University
  • Nutkin’s Last Stand, Nicholas Berger, Stanford University
  • A Place to Land, Lauren DeAngelis, American University, Washington, D.C.
  • Sustaining Life, Robert Hess, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Three Pilots, Philip Leaman, University of Michigan
  • The Wait, Cassandra Lizaire and Kelly Asmuth, Columbia University
  • Win or Lose: A Summer Camp Story, Louis Lapat, Columbia University


  • After the Storm, Michael Green, Florida State University
  • Bohemibot, Brendan Bellomo, New York University
  • The Bronx Balletomane, Jeremy Joffee, City College of New York
  • Ida y Vuelta (Round Trip), David Martin-Porras, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Kavi, Gregg Helvey, University of Southern California
  • 1915, Marco Garcia, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Short Term 12, Destin Cretton, San Diego State University
  • Transposition, Joshua Overbay, Regent University, Virginia
  • Una y Otra Vez, Antonio Mendez, Columbia University

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 37 Oscar® nominations and have won or shared six awards. Two former Student Academy Award winners were nominees at the 81st Academy Awards held earlier this year — Pete Docter received his fourth nomination for the Original Screenplay for WALL-E, and Reto Caffi, last year’s Honorary Foreign Film award winner, received his first nomination for the live action short film Auf der Strecke (On the Line).