2016 Academy Award winning Student Films sees Poland and Germany come out on top

With 2015 seeing all prizes in the Foreign Narrative category at the Student Academy Awards go to German film schools, they have once again proved to be exceedingly popular amongst the Academy as three film schools have garnered a Student Academy Award in 2016.

The Academy received a record number of entries this year – 1,749 films from 286 domestic and 95 international colleges and universities – which were voted by a record number of Academy members.

Alex Schaad’s Invention of Trust (pictured) from the University of Television and Film Munich and Felix Ahrens Where the Woods End from Film University Babelsberg KONRAD were both winners in the foreign category. The former deals with a teacher who is being blackmailed by a dubious internet company while the latter focuses on a police officer whose life is shattered when she shoots an innocent man.

The other winner in the Foreign Narrative category is Klara Kochanska for her film Tenants. From The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School it's a sober yet compassionate look at a woman who buys an apartment only to find that the previous occupant does not want to leave. The film has proved a popular one - it won the Grand Prix at the 2015 edition of the Warsaw Film Festival - and was of those films screened at this year’s Future Frames at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The nod marks the first time that a film from the Polish National Film and Television School has won a Student Oscar.

The winner of the Best Foreign animation went to Ayni – My Second Eye by Ahmad Saleh, a graduate of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. The film is about two eight-year-old boys who move to a new town to fulfil their dream of playing music. They fall in love with a wonderful musical instrument and try everything they can to earn enough money to be able to buy it.

All Student Academy Award-winning films are now eligible to compete for 2017 Oscars in the Documentary Short Subject, Animated Short Film or Live Action Short Film category. Students will arrive in Los Angeles for a week of industry activities that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Thursday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m., at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The medal placements – gold, silver and bronze – in the seven award categories will be announced at the ceremony.

The full list of winners are (listed alphabetically by film title):

“All These Voices,” David Henry Gerson, American Film Institute  
“Cloud Kumo,” Yvonne Ng, City College of New York
“The Swan Girl,” Johnny Coffeen, Maharishi University of Management

“Die Flucht,” Carter Boyce, DePaul University
“Once upon a Line,” Alicja Jasina, USC
“The Wishgranter,” Echo Wu, Ringling College of Art and Design

“Fairy Tales,” Rongfei Guo, New York University
“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki, University of California, Berkeley
“From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City,” Elise Conklin, Michigan State University

“It’s Just a Gun,” Brian Robau, Chapman University
“Nocturne in Black,” Jimmy Keyrouz, Columbia University
“Rocket,” Brenna Malloy, Chapman University

Foreign Narrative
“Invention of Trust,” Alex Schaad, University of Television and Film Munich (Germany)
“Tenants,” Klara Kochanska, The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School (Poland)
“Where the Woods End,” Felix Ahrens, Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF (Germany)

Foreign Animation
“Ayny,” Ahmad Saleh, Academy of Media Arts Cologne (Germany)

Foreign Documentary
“The Most Beautiful Woman,” Maya Sarfaty, Tel Aviv University (Israel)

31 August 2016, by Laurence Boyce