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Filmmakers receive Student Academy Award nomination

first_imgPhoto courtesy of USC School of Cinematic ArtsRoad to the red carpet · Halima Lucas, a third-year Masters of Fine Arts student in the production program at the School of Cinematic Arts, works with actress Kira Jane Pinkney on the set of Amelia’s Closet.Two graduate students from the School of Cinematic Arts received nominations earlier this month for Student Academy Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.Halima Lucas, a student pursuing an MFA within the production department, worked on her film, Amelia’s Closet, for her Thesis 581 class. Lucas did everything herself, from developing ideas to post-production. She credits her success to her team’s cohesiveness. “It has been an amazing collaborative effort from an amazing team,” Lucas said in an interview with the Cinematic Arts department. “We made the film on God’s grace and gaff tape.”Lucas’ story of an 11-year-old girl learning how to face harsh words received recognition under the Narrative category. She is one of seven finalists.“I was stunned and humbled,” Lucas said. “I couldn’t wait to tell the team what we had accomplished. Truly it came together with a team of people who were passionate about the story and deeply committed to the project no matter what we were facing or resources we had.”Lucas worked closely with Helaine Head, an associate professor at SCA. Head mentored Lucas, offering advice and strengthening her direction. According to Head, Lucas’ story captured a perspective not commonly told.“I thought her ideas were great,” Head said. “She had a very personal and unique point of view and experiences not everybody had. She’s a really talented filmmaker who has some interesting ideas and more stories to tell that we would be interested in seeing.”But Head didn’t overwhelm Lucas with guidance. He let her have her own artistic direction to enhance her learning experience.“She can address the problems the way she wants, as opposed to saying, ‘You should put this here,’” Head said, “The object of this exercise was so that people can make a film that reflects their point of view. That will make them stronger when they leave here.”Head felt that Lucas’ production style aligned with the school’s stance on diversity. The school’s admissions team has tried to foster diversity by hiring faculty from different backgrounds and expanding academic opportunities, according to an SCA statement.“This is a place that tries to foster the vision of the students who come here, and we get students that come from a lot of different places and points of view within the United States,” Head said. “Hopefully, they’ll be part of a new wave. Halima will be one of the people who will change the stories that are told and how they will be told.”The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972, and its awardees have included industry giants such as Robert Zemeckis, Spike Lee and Trey Parker, according to the Academy. Student candidates cannot apply individually, but need the endorsement of a faculty adviser in their film school to be considered for an award.Alicja Jasina, a master’s student from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, created the short film Once Upon a Line. Her story features how a man escapes his dull life by falling in love. She was nominated under the Animation category.The awards ceremony will take place Sept. 22. The University has had long-standing success with Student Academy Awards, with their first victory dating back to 1975. Last year, then-graduate student Alexandre Peralta won the gold medal in the Documentary category for his film Looking at the Stars.last_img

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