The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced (June 9) the medal winners in the 39th Student Academy Awards and New York University alumna Keiko Wright was among those earning gold. Wright, a 2011 alumna of the Undergraduate Film & TV division in the Kanbar Institute at the Tisch School of the Arts, received a Gold Medal for her documentary Hiro: A Story of Japanese Internment.
The documentary is based on Wright’s grandfather, Hirosh “Hiro” Hoshizchi, who in 1942 was forcibly removed, along with other family members, from his Los Angeles home. He was eventually shipped, along with 10,000 other Japanese Americans, to an obscure and desolate place called Heart Mountain, Wyoming. He was kept there for several years until the war ended. Wright premiered her documentary at a ceremony opening up a commemorative learning center at Heart Mountain.
Wright joins a long list of past award recipients from NYU, including Spike Lee. In all, there were ten students from nine U.S. colleges and universities who were honored with either a gold, silver, or bronze medal. The awards were given out at a gala ceremony in Beverly Hills, California at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The event featured as presenters actors Laura Dern, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Greg Kinnear, and Mena Suvari, along with Academy President Tom Sherak.