Top Student Academy Awards Go to USC, AFI, Chapman and Academy of Art University

The Hamburg Media School in Germany wins the gold medal in the foreign category

Student Academy Awards
L to R: Daniel Drummond, Alexandre Peralta, Alyce Tzue, Henry Hughes and Ilker Catak; Todd Wawrychuk/AMPAS

California film schools enjoyed a clean sweep of the top honors at the Student Academy Awards on Thursday night, with students from Chapman University, the Academy of Art University, USC and the American Film Institute taking gold medals in the four categories open to U.S. films.

The Hamburg Media School in Germany won the gold medal in the Foreign Film category.

The 14 winning films (and 15 winning filmmakers) had previously been announced by the Academy, but the medal placement was a secret until Thursday’s ceremony at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The ceremony capped a week of events for the student winners.

In the Alternative category, Daniel Drummond from Chapman University won the gold medal for “Chiaroscuro.” The silver medal went to ChiHyun Lee from the School of Visual Arts in New York, one of only two schools outside California to win a Student Oscar in the domestic categories this year.

The gold medal in the Animation category went to Alyce Tzue from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for “Soar,” while the silver went to Seth Boyden from CalArts for “An Object at Rest” and the bronze to Nicholas Manfredi and Elizabeth Ky-Herrero from the School of Visual Arts for “Taking the Plunge.”

In the Documentary category, USC’s Alexandre Peralta won the gold for “Looking at the Stars.” Brown University’s Emily Kassie won the silver for “I Married My Family’s Killer,” while Stanford’s Meg Smaker took the bronze for “Boxeadora.”

Thes American Film Institute landed all three medal in the Narrative category. Gold went to Henry Hughes for “Day One,” silver to Jeremy Cloe for “This Way Up” and bronze to Bennett Lasseter for “Stealth.”

Among the foreign winners, Ilker Çatak from Hamburg Media School won the gold for “Fidelity,” while Dustin Loose from Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttenberg won silver for “The Last Will” and Patrick Vollrath from Filmakademie Wien won the bronze for “Everything Will Be Okay.”

Voting was done by members of the Academy. Gold medal winners received $5,000, while silver and bronze winners received $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.

All the winning films qualify for next year’s Academy Awards in the short-film categories. Student winners frequently go on to receive Oscar nominations for their films.

Presenters at the ceremony included Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Mitchell, John Lasseter (a two-time Student Academy Award winner himself) and the team behind “Big Hero 6,” Roy Conli, Don Hall and Chris Williams.

In addition to Lasseter, past Student Academy Awards winners include Spike Lee, Pete Docter, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis.

The medal placement:

Gold: “Chiaroscuro,” Daniel Drummond, Chapman University, California
Silver: “Zoe,” ChiHyun Lee, The School of Visual Arts, New York

Gold: “Soar,” Alyce Tzue, Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Silver: “An Object at Rest,” Seth Boyden, California Institute of the Arts
Bronze: “Taking the Plunge,” Nicholas Manfredi and Elizabeth Ku-Herrero, The School of Visual Arts

Gold: “Looking at the Stars,” Alexandre Peralta, University of Southern California
Silver: “I Married My Family’s Killer,” Emily Kassie, Brown University
Bronze: “Boxeadora,” Meg Smaker, Stanford University

Gold: “Day One,” Henry Hughes, American Film Institute, California
Silver: “This Way Up,” Jeremy Cloe, American Film Institute
Bronze: “Stealth,” Bennett Lasseter, American Film Institute

Foreign Film
Gold: “Fidelity,” Ilker Çatak, Hamburg Media School, Germany
Silver: “The Last Will,” Dustin Loose, Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Bronze: “Everything Will Be Okay” Patrick Vollrath, Filmakademie Wien, Austria