Two CalArts students named Student Academy Awards Finalists

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California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) film students Mathieu Libman and Aram Sarkisian were among a select group of U.S. and international students chosen as finalists for the 2017 Student Academy Awards.

Established in 1972 by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Foundation, the awards recognize and encourage filmmakers from colleges around the world.

Each year, more than 1,700 college and university film students compete for awards and cash grants by submitting their work to one of seven categories.

These include four domestic school categories and three international school categories in Alternative, Animation, Documentary and Narrative work.

Both Libman and Sarkisian were selected as finalists in the Animation (Domestic Film School) category for their original films.

Libman, a film and video student expected to graduate in 2019, was selected for his animated short “Pinky Toe.”

The film follows a character who is overwhelmed by a “phantom itch” from his missing pinky toe.  He must either come to terms with his situation or succumb to complete obsession, according to the film’s description.

“This is my second year film here at CalArts,” Libman said on his Tumblr page before thanking all those involved in the film’s creation.

“Pinky Toe” was featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick and a Cartoon Brew Pick of the Day on May 8.

Sarkisian, a recent film and video graduate from CalArts, was selected for his character animation film “Winston.”

His fourth and final film at CalArts is a poetic short about a mad man living alone during a cold winter.  On his Tumblr page Sarkisian said he “channeled some good old Edgar Allen Poe” when creating the film.

“Winston” was named a Vimeo Staff Pick on April 26 and earned more than 38,000 views.

Additional students nominated in the Animation (Domestic Film Schools) category include: Devon Manney from USC for “Cradle,” Young Gul Cho from the School of Visual Arts for “E-delivery,” Ashley Anderson and Jacob Mann from Ringling College of Art and Design for “Extinguished,” Beth David and Esteban Bravo from Ringling College of Art and Design for “In a Heartbeat” and Xia Li from USC for “Once a Hero.”

Winners are chosen by “judging the product as a whole, as well as the artistic and technical skill of the filmmaker in whatever motif or animation technique the student has chosen,” according to the Academy.

Past winners from The Student Academy have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and win or shared eight awards, and include artists like Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Bob Saget, Cary Fukunaga and Patricia Riggin and Oscar winners Robert Zemeckis and CalArts alumnus John Lasseter.

The 2017 Student Academy winners will be announced at a ceremony Oct. 12 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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