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BAFTA Announces the 2017 Student Film Awards Special Jury

14 June 2017

Gala ceremony and live voting to take place Thursday, June 22 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has today announced the impressive list of industry notables who will make up the Special Jury at the 2017 BAFTA Student Film Awards.  These include BAFTA® and Oscar® nominated directors Ron Clements and John Musker (Moana, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog), Oscar® nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, actor Ioan Gruffudd (LiarFantastic Four​), Emmy® nominated director/producer David Gelb (Chef’s Table), and BAFTA® nominated editor Joan Sobel (Nocturnal Animals).

This year, select film schools worldwide were invited to submit up to nine films for consideration for four top prizes – the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation presented by LAIKA, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Documentary, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Live Action Film, which will all be voted on by BAFTA members, and the Special Jury Prize, selected by the event’s panel members.

Following the international expansion of the Awards, 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. 

Also new for this year’s Awards is the addition of animation studio LAIKA as the official sponsor of the first ever BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation.  Other sponsors for the event include new presenting sponsor Bank Leumi USA as well as returning sponsors American Airlines, AKA, and AFEX.

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.

The gala ceremony and live voting will take place on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.  Tickets for the event are now available here.

The finalists are (listed alphabetically by Film Title):


Directed by: Evelyn Jane Ross, Rhode Island School of Design

Directed by: Alicja Jasina, University of Southern California

Directed by: Kal Athannassov, John McDonald and Echo Wu, Ringling College of Art & Design


Directed by: Daphne Matziaraki, University of California, Berkeley

Directed by: Julia dos Santos of Goldsmiths, University of London

Directed by: Martin Read, University of South Wales


Directed by: Reed Van Dyk, University of California, Los Angeles

Directed by: Michael Podogil, Filmakademie Wien

Directed by: Jimmy Keyrouz, Columbia University

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.