August 20, 2020
Trojans Shine Bright with Student Academy Award Nominations
A Student Academy Awards is one of the highest honors a School of Cinematic Arts student can achieve. This year, nine student projects are represented among finalists and semi-finalists for the student academy awards.
Documentary Domestic – Unfinished Lives – Yucong Chen (finalist)
Xinran's case shook the Chinese community to its core, both in Los Angeles and back home in China. But again, this story remains untold, ignored, and understated by American mainstream media, just as a lot of other minority stories that are neglected. So USC MFA student Rae Yucong Chen decided to bring the story to light in her thesis film.
View Trailer Here: https://youtu.be/XzckIMbZB9Q
Documentary Domestic - The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins Allison A. Waite (finalist)
A personal retelling of the life and death of Latasha Harlins, the forgotten spark igniting the Los Angeles uprising of 1992, popularly known as the LA riots.
View Trailer Here: https://cinema.usc.edu/festivals/firstlook/2020/documentary.cfm?FilmID=7
Narrative Domestic – Avil – Sofia Drai (Semi-finalist)
Unable to bare man's cruelty, a loyal priest commits murder and justifies his action using old testament law.
Narrative Domestic – Sunshine Room – Nick Lopez (Semi-finalist)
Cutting-Edge technology allows a young woman to grow up alongside her beloved Abuela. However, on the brink of leaving for college, her financial realities threaten to erase their relationship for good.
View Trailer Here: https://cinema.usc.edu/festivals/firstlook/2020/thriller.cfm?FilmID=9
Narrative Domestic – Headlock – Damon Laguna (finalist)
A student athlete struggles with his identity and family as he comes of age.
View Trailer Here: https://vimeo.com/439313814
Narrative Domestic – Sweet Potatoes – Romel Villa Barriga (finalist)
1951, Mexico City. After synthesizing the main component of the contraceptive pill, young scientist Luis Miramontes deals with the religious and personal consequences of his groundbreaking invention.
View Trailer Here: https://cinema.usc.edu/festivals/firstlook/2020/social.cfm?FilmID=8
Animation Domestic - Yuan Yuan and the Hollow Monster - Catherine Chen (Semi-finalist)
This is a personal story, with characters based on my family members, and memories from Hurricane Katrina, Wilma, Charley, Ivan, and Frances from 2004 - 2005. The film centers the director's younger sister and their childhood, growing up Chinese American:
Eight-year-old Yuan Yuan (Jackie) is determined to protect her newest pet, a tiny turtle named Lucy, at all costs. Even if it means chasing down a massive hurricane called the Hollow Monster.
Alternative/Experimental – SIMULACRA - Curry Sicong Tian (finalist)
It is about an elderly Buddhist woman recalls a ritual from her past, undertaking a journey of duality expressed through her many identities.?
View Trailer Here: https://currytian.com/SIMULACRA
Alternative/Experimental - A Mother's Soliloquy - Cameron Kostopoulos (Semi-finalist)
Told without dialogue, Soliloquy combines contemporary dance with a nonlinear narrative, using the human body as its primary means of expression. The project incorporates an original score with stylistic world-building to create an immersive experience, travelling inside the mind of a recovering addict as she faces her temptation.