45th Student Academy Awards

This year two films set in the Caribbean won medals in the narrative film category. Both films were inspired by true events.

Narrative film winners Hua Tong (left), Brian Robau (center) and Kelley Kali prior to the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Narrative film winners Hua Tong (left), Brian Robau (center) and Kelley Kali prior to the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.)


A near capacity crowd assembled at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Thursday, October 11, 2018, for the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®. Foreign language and overseas productions dominated the event including films by filmmakers from domestic film schools.

This year two films set in the Caribbean won medals in the narrative film category. Both films were inspired by true events.

A scene from "Esta es tu Cuba/This is Your Cuba"  (Brian Robau/Chapman University), winner of the bronze medal in the narrative category at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®

A scene from “Esta es tu Cuba/This is Your Cuba” (Brian Robau/Chapman University), winner of the bronze medal in the narrative category at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®

“Esta es tu Cuba / This is Your Cuba” is inspired by the real-life stories of children involved in Operation Pedro Pan. This involved the mass exodus of over 14,000 unaccompanied minors from Cuba to the United States. The film was directed by Brian Robau of Chapman University who won a bronze medal for his film.

Kelley Kali, a student at USC, won a silver medal for “Lalo’s House.” The film tells the story of two sisters who must escape a sex trafficking ring in Haiti disguised as a Catholic orphanage.

Kelley Kali, winner of the silver medal in the narrative film category for “Lalo’s House,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Kelley Kali, winner of the silver medal in the narrative film category for “Lalo’s House,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

The gold medal winner was also from USC and set in a foreign land. “Spring Flower” tells the story of a young rural Chinese woman who is faced with a difficult decision when her father arranges for her to marry a mentally disabled man. The film is directed by Hua Tong.

The gold medal winner in the foreign narrative category was “Get Ready with Me.” The film was directed by Jonathan Etzler of the Stockholm University of the Arts. When Vendela, a high school student screens a very disturbing vlog about committing suicide to her class, her instructor Lucas becomes alarmed and offers to help her.

A scene from "Get Ready with Me" (Jonathan Etzler/Stockholm University of the Arts),  winner of the gold medal in the foreign narrative category at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®

A scene from “Get Ready with Me” (Jonathan Etzler/Stockholm University of the Arts), winner of the gold medal in the foreign narrative category at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®

A complete list of winners is as follows:

    ALTERNATIVE (Domestic Film Schools)
    Gold: Reanimated ( Shae Demandt/Florida State University)
Patricia Riggen and Shae Demandt, winner of the gold medal in the alternative film category for “Reanimated,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Patricia Riggen and Shae Demandt, winner of the gold medal in the alternative film category for “Reanimated,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

    ANIMATION (Domestic)
    Gold: Raccoon and the Light (Hanna Kim/California Institute of the Arts)
    Silver: Daisy (Yu Yu/University of Southern California)
    Bronze: Re-Gifted (Eaza Shukla/Ringling College of Art and Design)
Kumail Nanjiani and Hanna Kim, winner of the gold medal in the animated film category for “Raccoon and the Light,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Kumail Nanjiani and Hanna Kim, winner of the gold medal in the animated film category for “Raccoon and the Light,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

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

A scene from "The Green Bird" (Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc, and Quentin DuBois/MOPA),  winner of the gold medal in the foreign animated film category for “Raccoon and the Light,” at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®

A scene from “The Green Bird” (Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc, and Quentin DuBois/MOPA), winner of the gold medal in the foreign animated film category for “Raccoon and the Light,” at the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards®


Foreign Animated film winner Maximilien Bougeois during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Foreign Animated film winner Maximilien Bougeois during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

    DOCUMENTARY (Domestic)
    Gold: An Edited Life (Mathieu Faure/New York University)
    Silver: Love & Loss (Yiying Li/University of Southern California)
    Bronze: Dust Rising (Lauren Schwartzman/University of California, Berkeley)
Arthur Dong and Mathieu Faure, winner of the gold medal in the documentary film category for “An Edited Life,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Arthur Dong and Mathieu Faure, winner of the gold medal in the documentary film category for “An Edited Life,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

    DOCUMENTARY (International)
    Gold: Nomadic Doctor (Mart Bira/University of Hertfordshire)
Arthur Dong and Mart Bira, winner of the gold medal in the foreign documentary film category for “Nomadic Doctor,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Arthur Dong and Mart Bira, winner of the gold medal in the foreign documentary film category for “Nomadic Doctor,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

    NARRATIVE (Domestic)
    Gold: Spring Flower (Hua Tong/University of Southern California)
    Silver: Lalo’s House (Kelley Kali/University of Southern California)
    Bronze: Esta es tu Cuba/This is Your Cuba (Brian Robau/Chapman University)
Catherine Hardwicke and Hua Tong, winner of the gold medal in the narrative film category for “Spring Flower,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Catherine Hardwicke and Hua Tong, winner of the gold medal in the narrative film category for “Spring Flower,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

    NARRATIVE (International)
    Gold: Get Ready with Me (Jonathan Etzler/Stockholm University of the Arts)
    Silver: Almost Everything (Lisa Gertsch/Zurich University of the Arts)
    Bronze: A Siege (István Kovács/University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest)
Patricia Riggen and Jonatan Etzler, winner of the gold medal in the foreign narrative film category for “Get Ready with Me,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Patricia Riggen and Jonatan Etzler, winner of the gold medal in the foreign narrative film category for “Get Ready with Me,” during the 45th Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 11, in Beverly Hills. (credit: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

The Student Academy Awards® was founded by the Academy in 1972. The goal of the awards is “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.

Previous recipients of Student Academy Awards® include Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, and Patricia Riggen (who was a presenter at this year’s ceremony).

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