With the sorry state of things as the current generation seems to be running things into the ground around the world, I approached last night’s 45th  Student Academy Awards presentation at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre with the dream that perhaps a new generation’s voices might be able to lead us out of the darkness into hope and enlightenment as only the best filmmakers can do.

I wasn’t disappointed. If this batch of movies and young filmmakers are any indication there may be reason for optimism in the future , at least as far as movies go.

Deadline

In all my years covering the awards scene and the Oscars somehow I never managed to attend one of these ceremonies  but I am so glad I finally did. The various 19 student winners have not only made pertinent and moving films (judging by the subject matters and clips shown) , but also delivered heartfelt acceptance speeches.  It was nice to see such an enthusiastic packed house for the event as well. The Academy basically divides all this in Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners (yes, just like the Olympics)  in each category of Narrative, Documentary , and Animation in individual domestic and international categories.  Although Deadline covered the previous announcement of these winners,  the order in which they won was kept a secret from them until the envelopes were opened last night.  What it all proved though was that everyone there was indeed a winner, just separated by gradations. Scroll down to see all winners and who took which medal.

I have to say I was particularly pleased to see Hanna Kim’s  “Raccoon and the Light,”  from California Institute of the Arts take the Gold in

Pete Hammond/Deadline

Domestic Animation.  I had just judged a similar kind of student competition, Fine Cut  which airs weekly on KCET ,the PBS station in L.A. (where I host a Friday night classic film series, Must See Movies, and host an in-person Deadline-sponsored screening series every Tuesday night) and we also voted Kim’s film a top prize which I got to present to her at our DGA ceremony a couple of weeks ago. That film along with all the other winners is now eligible for the Oscar short film categories competition (Animated, Documentary, Live Action). Past winners have gone on to receive 59 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 11 awards. This past year two 2017 Student Academy Award winners received Oscar nominations in the Live Action Short Film category: Kevin Wilson, Jr., a Gold Medal winner in the Domestic Narrative category for “My Nephew Emmett,” and Katja Benrath, a Gold Medal winner in the International Narrative category for “Watu Wote/All of Us.”

Another moving moment last night came when 45 year old Mart Bira from University of Hertfordshire was presented the International Documentary Gold prize for Mongolia’s Nomadic Doctor (the first ever from that country).  She could well be the oldest Student winner in the 45 years the Academy has been doing this. In her charming acceptance she noted that she tells her grown children never to give up on a dream,  just like she never did – even now.

Pete Hammond/Deadline

This year, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,582 entries from 278 domestic and 122 international colleges and universities, which were voted upon by a record number of Academy members.  The 2018 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis. Presenters were documentarian Arthur Dong, actor Kumail Nanjiani, and directors Catherine Hardwicke, and Riggen. Fox Searchlight Chairman and an Academy Vice President , Nancy Utley presided over the event in lieu of Academy President John Bailey who was on a plane to London for the annual New Members party AMPAS throws there each year during the London Film Festival.

The 2018 Student Academy Award winners are:

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Shae Demandt, “Reanimated,” Florida State University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Hanna Kim, “Raccoon and the Light,” California Institute of the Arts
Silver: Yu Yu, “Daisy,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Eaza Shukla, “Re-Gifted,” Ringling College of Art and Design

Animation (International Film Schools)
Gold: Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc and Quentin Dubois, “The Green Bird,” MOPA

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Mathieu Faure, “An Edited Life,” New York University
Silver: Yiying Li, “Love & Loss,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Lauren Schwartzman, “Dust Rising,” University of California, Berkeley

Documentary (International Film Schools)
Gold: Mart Bira, “Nomadic Doctor,” University of Hertfordshire

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Hua Tong, “Spring Flower,” University of Southern California
Silver: Kelley Kali, “Lalo’s House,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Brian Robau, “Esta Es Tu Cuba”/“This Is Your Cuba,” Chapman University

Narrative (International Film Schools)
Gold: Jonatan Etzler, “Get Ready with Me,” Stockholm Academy of the Arts
Silver: Lisa Gertsch, “Almost Everything,” Zurich University of the Arts
Bronze: István Kovács, “A Siege,” University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest