The Student Academy Awards (SAA) recognizes and honors student filmmakers who demonstrate excellence in the creation of motion pictures. By awarding these outstanding achievements, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences strives to support and inspire emerging filmmakers and to foster growth and education in the art and science of motion pictures.

Go to Oscars.org: http://www.oscars.org/saa

Awards & Prizes

Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal Awards (which include cash grants of $5000, $3000 and $2000, respectively, and a trip to Los Angeles for SAA Week) may be given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in recognition of outstanding achievements in student filmmaking in each of five domestic and international film school categories: Narrative, Animation, Alternative, Documentary, and Narrative (International Film Schools). Gold medals may be given in two international film school categories: Animation (International Film Schools) and Documentary (International Film Schools).

Rules & Terms

PLEASE READ EVERYTHING!
THE SUBMITTER OF THE FILM SHOULD BE THE DIRECTOR, OR ONE OF THE DIRECTORS IF THERE ARE TWO. IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE, THEN THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE SUBMITTER SHOULD BE THAT OF THE PRIMARY DIRECTOR OF THE FILM. ALSO, FOR THE SAKE OF OUR JUDGING PROCESS, IT IS ENCOURAGED THAT FILMS BE SUBMITTED WITHOUT PASSWORD PROTECTION.

RULES & ELIGIBILITY

1. Eligibility

A. DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS COMPETITION (for students enrolled in U.S.-based schools)

1. The SAAs honor the single director or person most responsible for the creative production of the submission. Shared credits will be allowed for no more than two students if the responsibility is shared. If there are any credit discrepancies or controversies, the Academy will insist that credits be settled before the submission may be considered for an award. The final determination for credits in any event will be made by the SAA Executive Committee. The Academy will not be bound by any contract or agreement relating to the sharing or giving of credit, and reserves the right to make its own determination of credit for purposes of SAA consideration.

2. The student filmmaker must have been enrolled as a full-time student in a degree-granting program at a U.S. college or university recognized by the SAA Executive Committee as indicated by the “Student Academy Awards School Eligibility” criteria (found at the end of the rules) at the time the submitted film was made.

3. Entries must have been made in a teacher-student relationship within the curricular structure of the teaching institution.

4. Entries must be submitted to the SAA no later than one year from the date of graduation.

5. Entries must be motion picture works that have been completed and submitted to the student’s school for final credit/grading between June 2, 2016 and June 1, 2017 (Eligibility Period).

6. Entries must be identical in content and length to the version submitted to the student’s school for credit/final grading and may not be altered once submitted for Student Academy Award consideration. (Do not submit work in progress.)

7. A film can only be submitted to the SAAs once. Making changes to the film, even significant changes, does not make the film eligible again.

8. Submitted films (including still images, poster images, or similar graphics) must not contain mention of any accolades received, such as festival laurels, or awards won.

9. Entries must be submitted online through the designated SAA submission portal on or before close of business on the last day of the above defined Eligibility Period.

10. Advertising films, promotional films, and films made as works for hire are not eligible.

11. Entries submitted for the Academy Awards competition (regardless of the outcome) are not eligible for entry into any subsequent SAA competition.

12. No entry may be longer than 40 minutes including opening and closing credits.

13. All entries submitted must be in English, subtitled in English, or dubbed in English.

B. INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS COMPETITION (for students enrolled at schools outside the U.S.)

There are two ways to become eligible: the CILECT school option or the film festival option

1. CILECT SCHOOLS

a. The SAAs honor the single director or person most responsible for the creative production of the submission. Shared credits will be allowed for no more than two students if the responsibility is shared. If there are any credit discrepancies or controversies, the Academy will insist that credits be settled before the submission may be considered for an award. The final determination for credits in any event will be made by the SAA Executive Committee. The Academy will not be bound by any contract or agreement relating to the sharing or giving of credit, and reserves the right to make its own determination of credit for purposes of SAA consideration.

b. Each CILECT member school (www.CILECT.org) is allowed to submit one film in each of the Foreign categories: Foreign Narrative, Foreign Animation and Foreign Documentary.

c. The submitted filmmaker must have been enrolled as a full-time student in a non-U.S.-based college or university that is a current member of CILECT (The International Association of Film and Television Schools).

d. Entries must have been made in a teacher-student relationship within the curricular structure of the teaching institution.

e. Entries must be submitted to the SAA no later than one year from the date of graduation.

f. Entries must be motion picture works that have been completed and submitted to the student’s school for final credit/grading between June 2, 2016 and June 1, 2017 (Eligibility Period).

g. Entries must be identical in content and length to the version submitted to the student’s school for final credit/grading and may not be altered once submitted for Student Academy Award consideration. (Do not submit works in progress.)

h. Submitted films must not contain mention of any accolades received, such as festival laurels, or awards won.

i. A film can only be submitted to the SAAs once. Making changes to the film, even significant changes, does not make the film eligible again.

j. Entries must be submitted online through the designated SAA submission portal on or before close of business on the last day of the above defined Eligibility Period.

k. Advertising films, promotional films, and films made as works for hire are not eligible.

l. Entries submitted for the Academy Awards competition (regardless of the outcome) are not eligible for entry into any subsequent SAA competition.

m. No entry may be longer than 40 minutes including opening and closing credits.

n. All entries submitted must be in English, subtitled in English, or dubbed in English.

2. FILM FESTIVALS

a. The SAAs honor the single director or person most responsible for the creative production of the submission. Shared credits will be allowed for no more than two students if the responsibility is shared. If there are any credit discrepancies or controversies, the Academy will insist that credits be settled before the submission may be considered for an award. The final determination for credits in any event will be made by the SAA Executive Committee. The Academy will not be bound by any contract or agreement relating to the sharing or giving of credit, and reserves the right to make its own determination of credit for purposes of SAA consideration.

b. Eligible students enrolled at non-U.S. based colleges or universities (regardless of membership in CILECT) can submit one film to the Student Academy Awards if that film meets all other eligibility criteria and has been selected for screening in competition at three film festivals recognized by the SAAs (see SAA Qualifying Festivals List at the bottom of the rules) over the last two years. Films must be in competition, not just screening at the festival. Proof of “in competition” status must be provided, ideally through links to festival pages highlighting the film’s “in competition” status

c. The student filmmaker must have been enrolled as a full-time student in a degree-granting or professional credential program at a college or university based outside the U.S. and recognized by the SAA Executive Committee as indicated by the “International Student Academy Awards School Eligibility” (found at the end of the rules) criteria at the time the submitted film was made.

d. Entries must have been made in a teacher-student relationship within the curricular structure of the teaching institution.

e. Entries must be submitted to the SAA no later than two years from the date of graduation.

f. Entries must be motion picture works that have been completed, submitted to the student’s school for final credit/grading and selected for competition at three qualifying festivals between June 2, 2015 and June 1, 2017 (Eligibility Period).

g. Entries must be identical in content and length to the version submitted to the student’s school for final credit/grading and may not be altered once submitted for Student Academy Award consideration. (Do not submit works in progress.)

h. Submitted films must not contain mention of any accolades received, such as festival laurels, or awards won.

i. A film can only be submitted to the SAAs once. Making changes to the film, even significant changes, does not make the film eligible again.

j. Entries must be submitted online through the designated SAA submission portal on or before close of business on the last day of the above defined Eligibility Period.

k. Advertising films, promotional films, and films made as works for hire are not eligible.

l. Entries submitted for the Academy Awards competition (regardless of the outcome) are not eligible for entry into any subsequent SAA competition.

m. No entry may be longer than 40 minutes including opening and closing credits.

n. All entries submitted must be in English, subtitled in English, or dubbed in English.

2. Entry Procedures

A. Entry forms and films must be submitted digitally using the designated submission platform. Filmmakers should contact the Academy office if any issues prevent digital submission.

B. Entry films must be viewable on the official designated SAA submission platform. Submission links that take the viewer to a third party site to view the entry are not allowed.

C. Entry forms must list the name(s) of the film’s director or pair of directors most responsible for the creative production of the submission. Submitting more than two names will cause your entry to be disqualified.

D. Entry forms must include an acknowledgement that Student has read and agrees to the Student Academy Awards rules. A faculty adviser from the Student’s school is required for all submissions, and the form must include the adviser’s correct name and contact information.

E. Entries must be submitted to one (and only one) of the SAA Submission Categories. Failure to apply in the correct category could result in disqualification.

F. Entries that advance to the semifinal round of judging must be provided in an approved format as defined by the “Student Academy Awards Approved Formats.” Filmmakers will have at least one week to provide the copy to the Academy.

G. Upon request submitted with the entry form, any hard media provided (with the exception of DVD) will be returned to the entrant within 30 days of the the conclusion of the competition.

H. The Academy is not responsible for late, misdirected, missing, or damaged entries.

I. Failure to adhere to the entry requirements within the Eligibility Period will result in disqualification.

3. Judging Procedures

A. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shall judge entries on the basis of resourcefulness, originality, entertainment, and production quality without regard to cost of production or subject matter. Entries shall be judged only within their respective category.

B. All stages of judging, including Preliminary, Semifinal, and Final rounds, shall be overseen by the members of the Academy. The Academy may designate additional non-member judges as required at the sole discretion of the SAA Executive Committee.

C. Upon submission, entries shall be verified for eligibility and category.

D. Preliminary entries will be judged via their online digital submission. At this stage, the Academy has the option to re-categorize the entry into a more suitable category. Filmmakers will be notified of advancement to the semifinals by July 17, 2017.

E. Semifinalist entries shall be judged online only. Filmmakers will be notified of advancement to the finals by August 18, 2017.

F. Finalist entries shall be judged theatrically and online. Final ballots will be tabulated by the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers and filmmakers in each category will be notified of their final status by September 18, 2017.

G. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may award Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Awards to winners in the Domestic categories and Foreign Narrative category. Additionally, Gold medals may be given to winners in the Foreign Animation and Foreign Documentary categories. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medal Awards include cash grants of $5000, $3000, and $2000 respectively and a trip to Los Angeles for the SAA Week.

H. Presentation of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Award winners in each category will be made at the Student Academy Awards Ceremony on October 12, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California.

4. Advertising and Publicity
Student Academy Award participants may only promote their status in the competition within the explicit guidelines provided by the Academy.

5. Miscellaneous

a. Student Academy Awards winning films are eligible for entry into the following year's Academy Awards competition, provided the films satisfy all criteria for the Academy Award category for which they are entered.

b. If the eligibility and/or category of any entry is questioned, the Academy reserves the right to make a determination as the SAA Executive Committee may deem appropriate at its discretion.

c. The Academy reserves the right to amend or modify any procedure, process, or rule, as may be considered necessary by the SAA Executive Committee for the proper conduct of the Student Academy Awards or to adhere to any standards set forth by the Academy.

d. The decisions of the Academy regarding any matter regarding the SAA will be final and binding in all respects.

Student Academy Awards School Eligibility
1. Domestic schools (U.S. based) must be accredited by one of the following agencies:

a. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
b. New England Association of Schools and colleges
c. North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
d. Northwest Accreditation Commission on Colleges and Universities
e. Western Association of Schools and Colleges
f. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

2. International schools (non-U.S. based) must meet the following criteria

a. Schools must be either a member of CILECT (www.cilect.org) or be accredited by the responsible governing body in their country.

b. International programs that are part of American based colleges and universities fall under international rules regardless of the nationality of the student. For example the NYU program in Dubai would be an “International School”.

c. Programs must offer an associates, bachelors or graduate degrees

d. Animation Training Programs do not have to provide college degrees but may offer a certificate to its students upon completion of the program.

e. Program must be either a non-profit educational organization or a government sponsored educational institution.
Student Academy Awards Submission Categories

1. Domestic Film School Categories include Animation, Documentary, Narrative, and Alternative.

2. International Film School Categories include Animation, Documentary, and Narrative.

3. Category Descriptions

a. ANIMATION - Animated films may present an original narrative story, an existing story or fable, or an exploration of a mood or thought. Either comical or serious, they usually fall into one of two general fields -- character animation or abstract animation. Various techniques include cel animation, computer animation, clay animation, stop-motion, pixilation, cut-out pins, camera multiple-pass imagery, kaleidoscope effects, and drawing on the film frame itself. Winning Animation films 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.

b. DOCUMENTARY - Documentary films are nonfiction visual essays that seek to present historical subjects, current social or political issues, or specific human experiences in such a way as to have a dramatic impact upon the viewing audience. Documentaries may be filmed in the cinéma vérité style where camera and microphone merely record the event without injecting the comments or subjective conclusions of the filmmaker, or may be a reenactment. In the latter case, the distinction between dramatic and documentary film lies in the fact that while dramatic film is fictional, documentary film deals with factual situations and circumstances. Winning films in this category are chosen on the basis of artistic technique, as well as the ability of the documentarian to fashion reality into a film essay which leaves the audience better informed and/or moved.

c. NARRATIVE - Narrative films strive to portray life, a character or a narrative story much the same way a novel does, but within the context of an audiovisual medium. Past narrative films by students have included, but were not limited to, dramas, comedies, musicals, and many other story oriented genres. Winning entries in this and all other categories reflect the merit of the film when viewed as a whole, as well as the professional execution of its component parts, such as script, dialogue, direction, cinematography, lighting, acting, editing and scoring. Narrative category films may be adaptations of existing pieces of literature or original stories written by the student filmmaker.

d. ALTERNATIVE – Sometimes referred to as “experimental,” films submitted in this category risk disqualification if they could also be submitted in any other category (i.e. the narrative, documentary, or animation categories, as defined by these rules). This category is not meant to be a “catch all” category for films that have unusual narratives or simply lack structure and/or craftsmanship. Alternative films challenge traditional cinematic boundaries and conventions of expression. Alternative films employ progressive aesthetic and/or technical elements. Alternative films convey a reinterpretation of traditional structural components such as story, imagery, words, time, space, motion, sound, light and color. Alternative films often expand the language of cinema and generally are non-narrative and may not necessarily have a story arc. The Academy strictly evaluates if films submitted in this category are appropriately Alternative.

Student Academy Awards Approved Formats
1. Approved formats include:

a. HD quality digital file (min. resolution of 1920x1080): Quicktime (Pro Res 422. Pro Res 4444), AVI, H.264

b. DCP
i. Aspect Ratio: 1.78, 1.85, 2.39
ii. Soundtrack: 2 Channel Stereo PCM, 5.1 (6) Channel PCM

c. Film
i. Gauge: 16mm (optical only), 35mm
ii. Aspect Ratio: 1.33, 1.85, 2.35
iii. Soundtrack: Optical, Magnetic
iv. Films with a separate magnetic sound track will not be accepted.

SAA International Film School Qualifying Festival List

AFI FEST
ALCINE – FESTIVAL DE CINE DE ALCALÁ DE HENARES
ANIMA, THE BRUSSELS ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL
ANIMA MUNDI
ANIMAFEST ZAGREB – WORLD FESTIVAL OF ANIMATED FILM
ANIMATOR INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL
ANIM’EST – INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL
ANN ARBOR FILM FESTIVAL
ANNECY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FILM FESTIVAL
ASPEN SHORTSFEST
ATHENS INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL
ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL
AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL
BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
BERMUDA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
BILBAO INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF DOCUMENTARY AND SHORT FILM
BRONZELENS FILM FESTIVAL
CALGARY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CAMDEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CAMERAIMAGE
CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CARTAGENA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL
CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CINANIMA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL
CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL
CLERMONT-FERRAND INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
CLEVELAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
CORK FILM FESTIVAL
DOC NYC
DOCLISBOA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
DOCUMENTARY EDGE FESTIVAL
DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
EDINDOCS
EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
ENCOUNTERS SHORT FILM AND ANIMATION FESTIVAL
FLICKERFEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL
FOYLE FILM FESTIVAL
FULL FRAME DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
GALWAY FILM FLEADH
GIJON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
GO SHORT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL NIJMEGEN
GUADALAJARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
GUANAJUATO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL
HIROSHIMA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL
HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
HOT DOCS CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL
HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
HUESCA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
JERUSALEM FILM FESTIVAL
JIHLAVA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
KRAKOW FILM FESTIVAL
LEEDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
LEIPZIG INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL FOR DOCUMENTARY AND ANIMATED FILM
LEUVEN INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
LOCARNO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL
LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
LA SHORTS FEST
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
MONTREAL FESTIVAL DU NOUVEAU CINEMA
MORELIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL
NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS FESTIVAL
NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL
NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL
NORDISK PANORAMA FILM FESTIVAL
NORWEGIAN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
OBERHAUSEN INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
ODENSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL
PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL SHORTFEST
THE PAN AFRICAN FILM & ARTS FESTIVAL
RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
REGARD – SAGUENAY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
RIO DE JANEIRO INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
RIVERRUN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
ST. KILDA FILM FESTIVAL
ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SHEFFIELD DOC/FEST
SHORT SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
SHOW ME SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
SIGGRAPH
SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
SITGES INTERNATIONAL FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL OF CATALONIA
SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST
STUTTGART FESTIVAL OF ANIMATED FILM
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL
TAMPERE FILM FESTIVAL
TRAVERSE CITY FILM FESTIVAL
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
UPPSALA INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
URBANWORLD FILM FESTIVAL
VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
VIS VIENNA INDEPENDENT SHORTS
VISIONS DU RÉEL, NYON
WARSAW FILM FESTIVAL
WINTERTHUR INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL

TERMS (MUST READ)

By submitting a film to the Student Academy Awards competition you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Student Academy Awards rules and that the submitted film meets all of the eligibility requirements. Violation of the rules may result in disqualification of the film and any other penalties deemed warranted by the Student Academy Awards Executive Committee.

If the entry, hereby submitted, is selected as an award winner in the final competition, that motion picture may be included in a compilation produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is distributed for educational and noncommercial exhibitions in any medium throughout the world. It may also be displayed on the Academy’s official websites and exhibited at the Academy theaters and facilities for the non-profit purpose of promoting the Student Academy Awards.

In connection with the use of the motion picture, the applicant(s) agree(s) to the following conditions:

1. I (We) grant the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Foundation, a non-exclusive license to include all or any portion of the entry in said compilation, for the above described uses.

2. I (We) grant the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Foundation the right to use my (our) name, likeness, and biographical information in connection with the Student Academy Awards.

3. I (We) will submit to the Academy within 30 days of the Award Presentation all necessary clearances, consents and releases required, including, without limitation, the consent of the performers in the film, clearances from the copyright owner(s) and performer(s) of music used in the motion picture, and, if the film is based on a literary work or work from another medium, the consent of the owner of the underlying property.

4. I (We) shall indemnify, defend and hold the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Foundation harmless from and against all losses, costs, damages, judgments, liabilities and expenses (including, without limitation, attorney’s fees and any payment that may be due any music publisher, writer, director, actor, union, guild or other party) arising from any claims, whether or not groundless, which may be brought based directly or indirectly upon the use of the motion picture.

5. I(We) grant the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the right to make/retain a copy of the motion picture, for archival purposes only, and will have it available within 30 days of the awards presentation.

2 Reviews

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
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Networking
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    Yvonne Ng

    Most amazing experience. SAA staff were superb.

    November 2016
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    Scott Thompson

    It was an exciting experience!

    October 2016