Columbia Thesis Film Wins Student Academy Award

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Nocturne in Black, a Film Program thesis film written and directed by Jimmy Keyrouz ’15 and produced by Felecia Hunter ’16, won a Student Academy Award in the Narrative category. The awards are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same organization responsible for the Academy Awards; by winning, Nocturne in Black is now eligible for the Academy Award for Best Short Film.

Nocturne in Black follows Karim, a young musician living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, who struggles to rebuild his piano after it has been destroyed by Islamist militants whose interpretation of shariah forbids the playing of music. The short film won Jury Selects at the Columbia University Film Festival, a National Board of Review Student Grant, a Caucus Foundation Production Grant, a Marion Carter Green Award, and an IFP Audience Award, and was also selected as a Kickstarter Staff Pick; it will screen at the Telluride Film Festival in early September and has played at LA Shorts Fest and other international film festivals.

The 43rd Student Academy Awards awarded prizes to 17 short films in seven categories: Alternative, Animation, Documentary, Narrative, Foreign Narrative, Foreign Animation, and Foreign Documentary; the winners were selected from 1,749 films submitted by 286 U.S. and 95 international colleges and universities. The awards ceremony will take place September 22 in Los Angeles.

Past Student Academy winners include Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, and Robert Zemeckis.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.