Student Academy Awards Give Top Prizes to Chapman, CalArts and Berkeley

The University of Iowa and the Cleveland Institute of Art win for the first time, while international prizes go to schools from Germany, France and the Netherlands

2021 Student Academy Award winners

The University of Iowa, CalArts, Berkeley and Chapman have won gold medals at the 2021 Student Academy Awards, the Academy announced on Thursday in a pre-recorded virtual ceremony that was posted on

Students from those schools were among the 17 filmmakers who won medals in seven different categories, and in doing so qualified for Academy Award consideration in the short-film categories. Gold medalists also received $5,000 cash prizes, while silver medals received $3,000 and bronze medalists $2,000.

The ceremony was hosted by actress Amandla Stenberg (“The Hate U Give,” “Dear Evan Hansen”), with awards presented by Asghar Farhadi, Marielle Heller, Nanfu Wang and Pete Docter, who won a Student Oscar himself in 1992 before joining Pixar and winning Academy Awards for “Up,” “Inside Out” and “Soul.”

Other notable filmmakers who have won Student Academy Awards are Spike Lee, Bob Zemeckis and “South Park” creator Trey Parker.

In this year’s domestic animation category, CalArts student Sujin Kim’s “Unforgotten” won the gold medal, while films from Ringling College of Art & Design and Cleveland Institute of Art won silver and bronze. “Les Chaussures de Louis” from the French animation school MoPA won the gold medal for international animation.

For domestic documentary shorts, the gold medal went to “When They’re Gone” by University of California, Berkeley student Kristen Hwang, with films from NYU and USC (the two winningest schools in Student Academy Awards history) taking silver and bronze. “Why Didn’t You Stay for Me?” from Milou Gevers at Nederlandse Filmacademie won the international documentary award.

The gold medal in the domestic narrative category went to recent Chapman University graduate Phumi Morare for “When the Sun Sets,” with Columbia College Chicago and UCLA winning silver and bronze. The international narrative winner came from two German schools, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, followed by the Canadian school York University.

The alternative/experimental award, which is open to both domestic and international schools, was won by Hao Zhou from the University of Iowa, one of two schools that won their first Student Oscars. (The other was the Cleveland Institute of Art.)

The winners were selected from among 1,404 films submitted by 210 domestic and 126 international colleges and universities.

In the last several years, Student Academy Award winners that have gone on to receive Oscar nominations include “Watu Wote/All of Us,” “My Nephew Emmett,” “4.1 Miles” and “Everything Will Be Okay.”

Photo at top:
Top row, left to right: Teagan Barrone, Akanksha Cruczynski, Simon Denda, Murad Abu Eisheh, Milou Gevers, Kristi Hoi
Second row: Kristen Hwang, Theo Jamin, Sujin Kim, Kayu Leung, Bohao Lium, Phumi Morare
Bottom row: Salar Pashtoonyar, Marion Philioppe, Alexander Tullo, De’Onna Young-Stephens, Hao Zhou

The winners:

Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools)
 “Frozen Out,” Hao Zhou, University of Iowa

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
 “Unforgotten,” Sujin Kim, California Institute of the Arts
Silver: “Barking Orders,” Alexander Tullo, Ringling College of Art & Design
Bronze: “Slumber with Snakes,” Teagan Barrone, Cleveland Institute of Art

Animation (International Film Schools)
 “Les Chaussures de Louis,” Théo Jamin, Kayu Leung and Marion Philippe, MoPA (France)

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
 “When They’re Gone,” Kristen Hwang, University of California, Berkeley
Silver: “Eagles Rest in Liangshan,” Bohao Liu, New York University
Bronze: “Not Just a Name,” De’Onna Young-Stephens, University of Southern California

Documentary (International Film Schools)
 “Why Didn’t You Stay for Me?,” Milou Gevers, Nederlandse Filmacademie (The Netherlands)

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
“When the Sun Sets,” Phumi Morare, Chapman University
Silver: “Close Ties to Home Country,” Akanksha Cruczynski, Columbia College Chicago
Bronze: “No Law, No Heaven,” Kristi Hoi, University of California, Los Angeles

Narrative (International Film Schools)
 “Tala’vision,” Murad Abu Eisheh, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg (Germany)
Silver: “Adisa,” Simon Denda, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München (Germany)
Bronze: “Bad Omen,” Salar Pashtoonyar, York University (Canada)