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Student Academy Awards

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The Student Academy Awards became apart of the famous Academy Awards ceremony in 1973 and has kept rewarding qualified and extremely talented students ever since.  The awards were originally known as the Student film Awards until 1991, when they were named what they’re known as now, the Student Academy Awards.  Students from all over the world have the opportunity to submit their films to the Academy and have them run for a nomination list.  The applying process can be done online at, http://www.oscars.org and only includes submission of your film electronically and an application that is also electronically.  Different rules apply for national and international students, but not by much.  There are also specific regional coordinators that the submissions are due to.

There are four specific categories that students can be nominated for.  The four include, Animation, Documentary, Narrative and Alternative.  The categories vary throughout the years.  There’s also an award for Foreign Film.

A little history about the awards:

  • September 1972, Herbert Klynn, who was an American animator suggested a separate category for student recognition for their short films.
  • In July of the next year, recommendations were brought to the Short Subjects Branch Executive Committee.
  • By September 4, 1973, rules were made.
  • The first Student Film Awards (ever) were announced on December 20, 1973.
  • In 1975, the awards became a summer ceremony that included medals, merits, and cash prizes.  This is the main difference between the original Academy Awards (Oscars) and the Student Academy Awards, besides being during different times of the year, the Academy Awards are based on receiving the statuettes whereas the Student Academy Awards are based on winning medals and other prizes.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also offers a timeline (http://www.oscars.org/awards/saa/history.html) of how far the Student Awards have come since September 1972 when the idea was first pitched.

Well-known winners:

While there are plenty of noteworthy winners and nominators, there have also been a collection of winners who became very well-known directors and actors.  The long list includes:

  • Bob Saget – won the Documentary Merit for his film, “Through Adam’s Eyes” while he was attending Temple University in Philadelphia in 1978.
  • Spike Lee – won the Dramatic Merit for his film, “Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads” while he was attending New York University in New York City in 1983.
  • Trey Parker – along with Chris Graves, won the Silver Medal for the Animation category for his film, “American History” while he was attending University of Colorado, Boulder in 1993.
  • John Lasseter – won the Animation Award for the Animation category for his film, “Nitemare” while he was attending the California Institute of the Arts in 1980.
  • Robert Zemeckis – won an award for the Special Jury in Dramatic category for his film, “A Field of Honor” while he was attending the University of Southern California in 1975.

There’s a very long list of the winners of all of the Student Academy Awards each year since 1973 at http://www.oscars.org/awards/saa/winners/winners.pdf.

According to http://www.oscars.org, each year a compilation presentation of the gold medal award-winning films is circulated each year free of charge to educational and non-profit organizations nationwide.

There was only a small few that were available online:

Zoologic was directed by Nicole Mitchell and won the Animation Gold Medal in 2008.

Dried Up was directed by Isaiah Powers and Jeremy Casper and won the Animation Silver Medal in 2010.

Viola: The Traveling Rooms of a Little Giant was directed by Shih–Ting Hung and won the Alternative Gold Medal in 2008.

All the Invisible Children

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All the Invisible Children (2005) is a collection of shorts directed by 7 different directors about childhood problems.

Song Song and Little Cat (2005) was directed by John Woo

This was a really beautiful story about two little girls in China and how their lives parallel one another somehow.  The story is about how easily anyone can effect your life without even being a real part of it. This film actually brought me to tears because of the girl’s grandfather.  It’s also unbelievably disheartening about how children are so easily orphaned without any choice and how children who appear to have everything, have just about nothing because of unhappiness and every child deserves to be happy.  This film was amazing and impossible to not get emotionally involved and feel the pain of both children, who lead completely different lives but feel similar pain.  I’m happy that the mother didn’t drive off the cliff, too. But even if the rich little girl almost had a second where her life was at risk, the poor girl is always going through that but still somehow remains optimistic.  Both girls maintain a level of optimism which is outstanding, it’s almost as if they both have each other without being aware of it.  And once they meet, it makes both of their days and lives seem better.  I also liked the tie in of how the grandfather found the doll in the same place that he found the baby girl.  All girls are dolls, whether they come from a broken home or don’t have a real home.  This was hands down one of my favourite films that we’ve watched in class

Jesus Children of America (2005) directed by Spike Lee.

This film was a more familiar story, not personally, but in the sense that it does take place in America and sparks issues that I think our culture is aware of but sometimes, for lack of a better word, ignores.  It’s much worse for children, as we saw in Song Song and Little Cat, but the location of this film and dialogue was a lot more recognizable.  It doesn’t make it any more sad, though.  This collection of shorts are really heart-wrenching and eye-opening, which is unfortunate because there are a lot of cases like these where children are invisible and it’s almost irreparable.  These are issues that there should be films about, even if they have to be short to become louder and help the issues come more at hand.  My first reaction to this film was about the relationships between parents and their children that are in those situations and how sometimes it’s like the child has to be the parent because there isn’t much the parent can do to take care of them.  The ending of the film wasn’t anything that I was expecting and it made me feel worse for the girl as she clearly had no friends or any sort of escape from her homelife.

Written by madieshortfilm

May 7, 2011 at 1:44 am

To Each His Own Cinema

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To Each His Own Cinema is a French anthology collection that was created in 2007.  Like it said on my post on World Cinema, this collection is a tribute to the Cannes Film Festival as it celebrates it’s 60th anniversary.  The 36 acclaimed directors that were chosen to participate in this collection were asked to express “their state of mind of the moment as inspired by the motion picture theatre” through their own short films.  Each short is 3 minutes long and stems from different parts of the world.  World Cinema was the first film we watched that is a part of the collection and we followed up with 9 others.

  • One Fine Day by Takeshi Kitano – this one was mainly about types of movie lovers and the lengths they’ll go to see the movies they want, like walk miles down a dirt road.  And even if the film keeps screwing up, it’s still the satisfaction and escapism of seeing a film.
  • Three Minutes by Theo Angelopoulos – this was more about the actors in films and their interactions with one another and how they are just as effected and moved by films as the directors are.
  • Dans le Noir by Andrei Konchalovsky – this is about the people who work for film on a smaller level than a director or an actor or a producer.  this is about the people who control and distribute a movie-goer’s ticket.  even though it’s a job, it’s still something they love and times still stops for them while they’re watching film.
  • Diary of a Moviegoer by Nanni Moretti – this is a wide look at someone’s own personal diary of all the films he’s seen and how each of them have been significant to his own life and the people who he cares about the most or enough to take to them to a film with him, along with doing it by himself.
  • The Electric Princess Picture House by Hou Hsiao-hsien – this is about a larger community coming together and waiting in line to watch a film.
  • Darkness by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne – this is just about the darkness and isolation of a movie theater
  • Anna by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – this is a little similar to “Darkness” because the majority of it is filmed in a theater but this is also like “One Fine Day” because there are so many types of movie lovers, like the blind woman who needs to be told what is happening as she listens.
  • Movie Night by Zhang Yimou – this is about a wide community of children and adults coming together to watch films and participate in making their own for their own entertainment and enjoyment.
  • The Lady Bug by Jane Campion – this is about the little creatures who share a love for film as much as humans.

Each film is the director’s own personal exhibition of what film is to them and the importance of it to them in particular. These films have a different context but still have the definition of the love of film and why it’s important for a wide variety of reasons. Because, it is extremely important for more reasons than a collection like this could expand on.  These directors do an excellent job in expressing the different sides of a love for film.

These films can be paired with a term that we learned in class, a term that relates to a passion for cinema and all of it’s components.  The term cinephilia refers to the passion of a cinephile, which is a person who loves film to the highest extent.  This term has been used since the silent film era, when film clubs and groups first began after the particular medium changed everything.  Cinephilia is often discussed with Post-War France after World War II with students in France were rioting in front movie theaters after foreign films were banned, along with screenings and film clubs. This eventually generated a lot of uproar for the youth culture during that time which evidently led to the riots.  But it was the love of film that led the students to riots and the anger for not having the access to see films.  Eventually that term kept moving as film gained more and more lovers and will continue to do so as the years go on.  Currently, blogging (oddly enough) is included as a part of contemporary cinephilia.

Stories on Human Rights

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According to the description underneath this video on youtube: This small collection of films was created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and make them accessible to the largest possible audience, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has chosen ART for The World to produce a long-feature film composed by a series of short films directed by filmmakers and video artists to convey the timeless significance of human rights and their underlying values.

The first one we watched of this collection was Mobile Men (2008) which was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

I feel like the main way to understand this film you’d really have to understand the culture these guys were from to understand the importance of the details of the film, like his tattoo.  I think this was a very subtle way of visualizing a story about human rights.  It was somewhat confusing considering there are so many components to what makes a story a story about human rights.  There wasn’t much for me to take notes of except that I really felt like I was left out of what the true meaning behind this film was.

a BOY, a WALL, and a DONKEY (2008) was directed by Hany-Abu Assad.

This film has a lot to do with children and their interactions with film and how important it is for children to embrace film just as it is for adults or anyone.  It was lighthearted but the story they were trying to film seemed a little strong and powerful compared to what any usual group of boys would want to film.  I thought it was an interesting way to see how cultures are different within each generation because they film things that have a lot to do with their own lives and unfortunately, in this case, it’s violent and ugly.  The ending of the film was really disappointing because you are left unaware but can already assume the worst has happened. It’s sad.

Lily & RA (2008) was directed by Armagan Ballantyne

This film was the one that I enjoyed the most out of the small part of the collection we got to watch.  It touches on the subject of children issues with cultural problems and family issues and how they have to deal with the problems.  It’s just another sad reality that these type of films are evoking.  It’s like their all really artistic PSA’s that are meant to open the viewer’s eyes more and they’re working.

Written by madieshortfilm

May 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

Ten Minutes Older

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Ten Minutes Older is a collection of films put together in a 2-part feature film: The Trumpet collection and the Cello collection.  The films are meant to evoke time in different ways and throughout different parts of the world.  A lot of the directors that took part in this project are pretty well-known including Spike Lee, Werner Herzog, and Jean-Luc Godard.  The collection was a tribute to Herz Frank who directed the original Ten Minutes Older film in 1978.  The collection is also a statement of how movies essentially make you older and how you are older after you’ve completed a film, no matter how long the length.  These films are specific in their length, ten minutes but each have different stories in the same time frame.

Ten Minutes Older is a film about children, with the main focus on a young toddler boy, in a movie theatre.  The film shows the reactions of children as they watch the film and the viewer watches the children as they watch a film that the viewer cannot see or hear.  The only evidence the viewer has, besides the children’s faces, is that the movie is a tale about good and evil and there is some music playing.  This plays upon the idea that as you watch a film, you tend to not be able to separate yourself because you become emotionally invested.  Frank puts in that position but makes it difficult for us to get involved in any way because all we see is someone else’s reaction, instead of being able to create our own.

100 Flowers Hidden Deep (2002) was directed by Kaige Chen for the Trumpet series of the Ten Minutes Older collection.  Chen was also a part of the To Each His Own Cinema anthologies.

This film was extremely bittersweet.  It took the topic of time and broadened it more into the topic of time that we, as a human race, are so familiar with, age.  The old man was someone who had clearly been there a lot and it showed through his face, his body and his actions, and so much more.  The fact that he was so certain of the house being placed somewhere where there was clearly nothing also is evidence that there was something there, especially when the workers say that there isn’t anything there but a tree.  The man has obviously been around for a much longer time than the movers and the movers’ boss.  This sense of time is very familiar with everyone because we all have our own pasts and our own reasons for that little bit of craziness inside of us.  This man was so certain of himself and his home and his things inside of that home, that the movers helped him anyway, even if they joked about moving “invisible” stuff.  This concept and story was a good choice for this kind of project because it puts into thought the time affects everyone very differently and what can seem extremely important to one person, can seem absolutely ridiculous to another and everyone should always keep that in mind.  It’s an extremely sad reality but this film did great in showing a visual representation of that notion. Visually, I thought this film was very well done and the time of day was really well chosen because it kind of added to the fact of time as the sun was going down.

Lifeline (2002) was directed by Victor Erice.  This film was also a part of the Trumpet collection in this anthology.

This film has a lot to do with family and how time can easily stop for anyone in that sort of community.  There’s so much going on in this film and the everyone finally just stops and gets together once the youngest is bleeding.  This film really made me wonder about how hard it is for my family to just stop for one another.  It’s disappointing and somewhat embarrassing to think that if anyone in my family was that badly hurt, not everyone would easily be there by their side.  Everything is so busy now, in our culture.  Everything is so fast-moving and there’s only a few days within the year that families get together and actually are around each other, but even then it sometimes feels so forced.  This film takes place in Spain, presumably in a small village and a large family is all throughout the property of where the family lives.  There are lots of generations present here, too.  And it all centers around the youngest, who is sleeping in his own little crib in his mother’s room.  The mother and the baby are both napping during the middle of the day and the rest of the family is moving about their own way.  The baby proceeds to bleed through it’s clothing as it sleeps and he still remains pretty quiet and unaware of what is happening with his body.  The rest of the family is unaware, too.  Until after what seems like a long period of time, but only just a short amount of time (within 10 minutes), the baby is finally found and taken care of.  That second of fear for that baby brings each family member together, all in one room and time essentially stops as the nanny or maid or nurse (it’s hard to tell what exactly her role is in the house) stitches the baby back up and the family is relieved.  The movie then ends and the viewer is left with a mix of discomfort and relief.  How often does this happen? It took longer than it should’ve for anyone to figure it out, but it happens.  We forget about how much and how fast time goes by and once we realize that there’s something big that we’ve missed, time literally stops, or we almost expect it to even though we’ve neglected it for so long.

Another message lies within this movie about the fact that like the baby did for the family, film brings us all together.  As we watch a film, our entire days are almost frozen and we forget about everything else that we could or need to be doing as we’re sitting down together watching a film.  Time stops.  We don’t even realize how precious time is, we just take it for granted and only notice it when we really need it to do something for us but it’s always moving.  It’s not a person or something we can touch or feel, but we treat as if it were because it effects so much of our lives.  Film is kind of the enjoyment of time, because you never feel guilty about watching a film, or at least true film buffs wouldn’t feel guilty about spending their own time on something they truly love.

Ten Thousand Years Older (2002) directed by Werner Herzog.  This film is another one that is a part of the Trumpet Collection.  This is the only film we watched in this collection that was more of a documentary style format.

Herzog visited the Amondauas tribe in Brazil for this particular film and after his first attempt in 1981, he decided to re-approach the idea 20 years later and fit into this collection.  The idea behind this film is that time isn’t as considered in other cultures as it is in our own or from the films that we’ve watched so far that are a part of this collection.  Once someone from the tribe (who was evidently the main character in the film) picked up a clock, he barely knew what it was or what it even meant.  Time doesn’t exist to them there, just their own tribe and the issues of it.  But the issues involve time and how it has basically run out of it for him and his tribe.  Just from the movie, the Amondauas tribe seems like it’s dwindling and decreasing in numbers and the people that are showcased in the film are in a state of embarrassment because of their parents.  Instead of being native to their tribe, they’d much rather be citizens in modern Brazil.  This film really opened my eyes on the fact that we really do neglect time as a whole and that it isn’t the same for everyone else outside of our own world.  Sometimes it isn’t even seen as an existing factor.  There are probably a lot of tribes all around the world that are like this one that Herzog documented.  This was a great representation of another culture’s idea, definition and trials of time.

Lost and Found

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Lost and Found is a small collection of shorts from 6 different filmmakers that touch upon the subject of the differences between generations.  We only had the chance to watch one and I really really enjoyed it.

Das Ritual (2005) is the Bulgarian film apart of the collection and it is a visual presentation on the differences between two different generations between families and cultures.

This film brought me to tears because I was so nervous for what was going to happen.  For awhile, I was certain that the couple was going to get into a horrible accident or something terrible was going to happen to someone in the movie and I was so pleasantly surprised but really sad for a different reason.  The comparison of the Bulgarian wedding to the wedding at Niagara Falls was an extremely well done representation of differences in generations.  The Bulgarian celebration was centered around family being there and the importance of a good ceremony and about the entire production and how much of a responsibility the mother took it upon herself to make sure everything was just right, as if they were actually going to be there.  The one in Niagara Falls was far more personal to the bride and groom, even though they had that opportunity to have the more traditional wedding, it was done their way which was made them happy in the end.  This film also brings up that idea of how the bride is usually the one that organizes the ritual – usually the bride’s family is the many contributors and planners of the wedding itself.  It was hard to tell if going to Niagara Falls was the bride’s idea because they’re both just so overjoyed with their “choice of ritual.”  I loved this film, it was great, visually and conceptually.  The director made sure to keep the details of each ritual down to the very last bit, like the bride not wearing the earrings to the number of bands at the family’s celebration.  The family’s celebration was also very real and believable for two people who weren’t even there.

Written by madieshortfilm

May 6, 2011 at 1:51 am

Posted in Anthologies, Lost and Found

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Visions of Europe

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Visions of Europe was an opportunity for 25 respected directors to document and present their visions of the 25 countries of of the European Union throughout the medium of film – short film.  “Each director will give a personal vision of current or future life in this coming cultural melting pot.” (www.visionsofeurope.dk)  Through the website, you can click on a European country and the name of the director and his or her work will show up.  The first film we watched was a good start to understand the purpose of these particular films

European Showerbath (2004) was directed by Peter Greenaway.  This film is the United Kingdom’s installment in the Visions of Europe project.

This film reeked of sarcasm from the start.  Obviously, it had a different outlook considering it used a giant shower bath for people with painted flags on their bodies to wash in.  The flags made it a lot more clear to that sarcasm because there were more French, German and United Kingdom flags before any other European flag should up.  The idea of unity was presented as a joke, especially once there wasn’t any room for anyone else who seemed incompetent compared to who had the chance to get under the water.  This film was extremely critical and really pointed the idea of an “elitist” group and how certain countries definitely have more power, and resources to survive and “clean” themselves than others.  And the main three countries clearly have the most.  As a viewer, I liked the idea that all of these people seemed extremely different, which obviously makes sense considering the whole melting pot idea, and each country in Europe is so diverse in their cultures and citizens.  And the only thing they had in common was the shower and the fact that they were all nude with the exception of their painted country’s flags on their bodies and they all had to squeeze – no matter how “different they were – to fit, much like the Union, or what I’ve learned from the Union just by these movies.  This was my favourite out of the ones we watched in this collection.  It was a lot more understanding and kind of started off the next few films pretty well because it established the whole vision of the project itself.

Europa (2004) is unfortunately not anymore to be found while I was researching.  I have in my notes that it is directed by a Croatian director and I apologize if I possibly copied that wrong but this is a film that is apart of the Visions of Europe project.

This is just a great example of the grass is always greener on the other side, or at least it seems that way.  Two sides interacting with one another and while still keeping their differences in mind, they still communicate.  I like that there is a Soccer Championship reference and that it weighs heavy against the Union because both of those things are pretty significant in unifying parts of Europe, even if it involves disagreements and unsatisfactory results.  This film as a particular vision was well done and really shined through as a real truth in parts of Europe.  It’s interesting to see it in this type of perspective when the border is that small and even if it’s just an invisible line, it’s still there and separates a lot between people and environments.  There wasn’t a lot to find about this film, unfortunately.  I think it was a very simple way of looking at the European Union and this director must’ve felt like it didn’t need a lot of complexities to explain the Union, which is most likely really complex already.

Prologue (2004) was directed by Bela Tarr.  This film is the Hungarian installment of the Visions of Europe project.

This film was a lot more familiar in terms of a “Union” environment.  I really liked the shot value, though.  I liked the black and white, the detail of each person waiting in the line, the diversity was still maintained and even enhanced without a color film shooting it.  I think it was extremely powerful without dialogue and had such a huge message that portrays the fact that these workers go through extremely long days (much like the line). It was really hard to think of how long it would take the very last person just to get something to eat, probably not too much long before his break finished.  These films are difficult to track down on the internet but it’s evident that this film probably took a really long time to have that dramatically long line and the number of people that had to get together to produce this 6 minute film that showed at least 150+ people in that amount of time.  It was extremely impressive in terms of something that seems pretty simple to shoot and put together, but there is a lot of complications that had to of gone into this, much like the Union itself has a lot of complications it has to go through daily.  This film was much like the European Shower bath, except for the evidence of the different countries, Prologue still made it more recognizable that the Union has a lot of diversity, in their people and their situations and after watching this particular film in this project, it seems like it just can’t get worse.

Invisible State (2004) was directed by Aisling Walsh and is the Irish installment of the project.

This was by far the most powerful film that we watched in this collection.  It was hard-hitting and very straightforward which I think was fully the intention of the director of this one.  It’s hard to not feel the compassion the speaker has as he is speaking about the Union and the people involved and how affected everyone is.  It’s clearly a visual statement against the European Union and it’s presented very clear and thoroughly.  The camerawork and images  that accompanied the speech were also extremely powerful and helped the film’s message immensely.  Since we talk a lot about director’s styles, I think this collection of films really has a lot to do with the director’s styles and their personal take on the European Union.  The director’s had the freedom to present a visual component to their personal opinions, or their country’s perspectives and it was all in their hands to present it well.  I think out of the films we watched, they all had many differences about the same topic but each had a different style behind them that defined the director.

Written by madieshortfilm

May 6, 2011 at 12:23 am