Tonight, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced the winners of its 2017 Student Film Awards in a gala ceremony and presentation at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
The vote for the first ever BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation presented by LAIKA resulted in a tie between Alicja Jasina from the University of Southern California for “Once Upon a Line” and Kal Athannassov, John McDonald and Echo Wu from Ringling College of Art & Design for “The Wishgranter.” The BAFTA Student Film Award for Documentary was awarded to Daphne Matziaraki from University of California, Berkeley for “4.1 Miles.” The BAFTA Student Film Award for Live Action was awarded to Jimmy Keyrouz from Columbia University for “Nocturne in Black.”
The Special Jury Prize was also presented to Daphne Matziaraki from University of California, Berkeley for “4.1 Miles.” The panel of Hollywood luminaries included BAFTA® and Oscar® nominated directors Ron Clements and John Musker (Moana, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), Oscar® nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, BAFTA® winning actor Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Emmy® nominated director/producer David Gelb (Chef’s Table), and BAFTA® nominated editor Joan Sobel (Nocturnal Animals).
This year, the BAFTA Student Film Awards underwent an international expansion, and this year’s finalists were selected from over 400 submissions by students at film schools in 15 countries across the world, including Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
“The films were incredibly moving and shocking, and the stories were brilliantly told,” remarked Special Jury member Shohreh Aghdashloo. “I found myself forgetting that I was watching the work of students, and not professional filmmakers.”
“This was a very exciting experience for me. The films were so moving and I was glad to have seen them all,” added Special Jury member Ron Clements. “I was not sure what to expect, but was incredibly impressed with the quality of the students’ work.”
“We are delighted that our first international BAFTA Student Film Awards has exceeded our expectations, bringing together a multi-cultural group of filmmakers who have produced a range of films with depth, humor, and pathos,” said Peter Morris, Chair of the BAFTA Los Angeles New Talent Committee. “The future of our industry is in great hands!”
The 2017 BAFTA Student Film Awards were sponsored by new presenting sponsors LAIKA and Bank Leumi USA, as well as returning sponsors American Airlines, AKA, and AFEX.
The program of activity curated for the finalist filmmakers also included a networking reception with the BAFTA Membership, a Masterclass presented by LAIKA, and a roundtable discussion on global production supported by Pinewood Studios Group.
BAFTA’s Student Film Awards competition was expanded this year as part of BAFTA’s growing international footprint, which seeks to foster strong talent connections across the globe. The expansion also furthers BAFTA Los Angeles’ work within its newly launched Access for All campaign, a commitment to ensuring that talented individuals are offered a clear pathway to careers in the entertainment industry, uninhibited by background, demographics or personal circumstance. The campaign will drive funds towards BAFTA Los Angeles’ acclaimed scholarship, education and community initiatives, allowing the organization to discover, support and nurture talented professionals.
In 2016, the BAFTA US Student Film Award, as it was previously named, was presented to Clara Roquet from Columbia University for “El Adiós” and the Special Jury Prize was awarded to Seth Boyden from California Institute for the Arts for “An Object At Rest”. The panel of Hollywood luminaries included BAFTA nominee Yann Demange (’71), BAFTA and Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (Inside Out), The Hollywood Reporter Film Critic and Editor Jon Frosch, BAFTA and Academy Award® winner William Goldenberg (Argo, The Imitation Game), actress Ashley Madekwe (Salem, Revenge), and STX Entertainment President Sophie Watts. The finalists were selected from 245 films submitted by 56 schools across the US, with each school submitting their best films for consideration.