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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.

For further information:
Elyse Weissman at SLATE PR
[email protected]


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. To access the best creative minds in film, television and games production, visit For more, visit

Founded in 1987, BAFTA Los Angeles serves as a bridge between the Hollywood and British production and entertainment business communities. Its commitment to professional and community education is at the heart of all activity, including an award-winning community outreach programme, screenings, seminars, Behind Closed Doors series, Q&As, scholarships for British students studying in the US, a Newcomers Program for emerging British talents working in the US, and a Heritage Archive project that preserves in-depth interviews with the industry's leading talents for future generations. BAFTA Los Angeles celebrates and promotes excellence through its annual Britannia Awards, Awards Season Film and Television Tea Parties and the Student Film Awards.

BAFTA Los Angeles is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation and relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing work.

About The Theatre at Ace Hotel

The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is Ace's loving re-animation of the historic United Artists Theater. Built in 1927 for the maverick film studio founded by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, The Theatre stands as a monument to a group of seminal American artists — modern iconoclasts striking out on their own. Ace’s restoration of this majestic space serves as a singular stage for art, film, dance and creative celebration in the heart of the Broadway Theater District’s vibrant modern renaissance. View all upcoming events at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA at


Fueled by the vision of its owner, Nike co-founder and former Chairman Philip H. Knight, and its President & CEO Travis Knight, feature film animation studio LAIKA was founded in 2005.  Located just outside Portland, Oregon, LAIKA was awarded a Scientific and Technology Oscar® for its innovation in 3D printing in 2016.  Its four films, Kubo and the Two Strings (2016); The Boxtrolls (2014); ParaNorman (2012), and Coraline (2009) were all nominated for Oscars® and PGA Awards as Outstanding Animated Film.  Kubo, which marked the directorial debut of Travis Knight, also received an Oscar® nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects.  Kubo won this year’s BAFTA Award as well as three Annie Awards, the National Board of Review and 19 regional and critics’ group awards.  The Boxtrolls also earned Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Award nominations and 13 Annie Award nominations, more than any other film that year. ParaNorman garnered BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and GLAAD Media Award nominations and won two Annie Awards and was cited as the year’s best animated film by 14 critics’ groups.  Coraline earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice nominations, and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). For more information, visit

About Leumi

Bank Leumi USA (Leumi) is a full-service commercial and private banking institution providing financial services to middle market firms, as well as a full range of private banking solutions to domestic and international clients. Leumi also offers a broad range of securities and insurance products through its brokerage subsidiary, Leumi Investment Services Inc. More information about Leumi is available at