The successes at the Student Academy Awards® just keep coming: the numerous award-winners in recent years have now been followed at the 44th edition with another two prizes going to German short films. This was announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

GALAMSEY by Johannes Preuss (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg) won Gold in the Documentary category (International Film Schools). WATU WOTE – ALL OF US by Katja Benrath (Hamburg Media School) will receive an award in the Narrative category (International Film Schools). The decision of whether it is a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal will be revealed at the award ceremony in Los Angeles on 12 October 2017.

Both of the award-winning films from Germany have Africa as their subject matter. GALAMSEY is a reportage about the illegal gold mining in West Africa. Director Johannes Preuss saw how the gold rush had gripped a small town in Ghana when he was there as young aid worker. A few years later, he went back there for his documentary to see what the supposed windfall had really brought the people. Who are the profiteers and who are the victims in this destructive hunt for the shiny gems?

WATU WOTE – ALL OF US is the graduation film of the director Katja Benrath at the Hamburg Media School. It is set in Kenya which has been targeted for decades by the terrorist attacks of the Islamist Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust has been growing between Christians and Muslims. Until in December 2015 when the passengers of a bus succeeded in achieving an unprecedented example of humanity.

German films are traditionally very successful at the Student Oscars. The last two years saw three awards going to German filmmakers at both award ceremonies. In 2016, INVENTION OF TRUST by Alex Schaad (University for Television and Film Munich HFF) won Gold and WHERE THE WOODS END by Felix Ahrens (Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF) Silver in the Narrative category (International Film Schools). AYNY by Ahmad Saleh (Academy of Media Arts Cologne KHM) received the Gold Medal in the Animation category (International Film Schools). In 2015, all three awards in the category for Best Foreign Film went to German directors - Ilker Çatak, Dustin Loose and Patrick Vollrath. Patrick Vollrath's EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY also received an Oscar® nomination in the short film category.

The Student Academy Awards®, also known as Student Oscars, are presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are among the most prestigious of awards in the field of student film. The awards for the best international film school productions have been presented in three categories since 2016. The best three fiction films are awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in the Narrative category (International Film Schools), and one film each receives the Student Oscar Gold Medal in the Animation (International Film Schools) and Documentary (International Film Schools) categories respectively. All of the Student Oscar-winning films are eligible to participate in the Oscars®.

All of the winners at the 44th Student Academy Awards can be found here.

Nicole Kaufmann (Regional Coordinator USA)
Birgit Koch (Press & PR)