Chloe Aktas, Rongfei Guo, Williams Naranjo, and Kevin Rios - 2015 graduates of New York University - were among the 26 US nominees selected from over 500 applicants for Student Academy Awards.

still from Kevin Rios's Made of Sugar. Young man looking into the distance.
Kevin Rios's Made of Sugar

Four 2015 graduates of New York University were among the 26 US nominees selected from over 500 applicants for Student Academy Awards, announced today by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Three nominees, Chloe Aktas, Williams Naranjo, and Kevin Rios, attended the Undergraduate Film & Television program at the Tisch School of the Arts. The fourth, Rongfei Guo, graduated from the News and Documentary program in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. NYU alumni received more nominations than those of any other institution worldwide.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. The awards are open exclusively to college and university film students who compete for awards and cash grants, with films being judged in four categories: Animation, Documentary, Narrative, and Alternative. Film students from outside the U.S. are also honored each year in separate Animation, Narrative, and Documentary categories. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight awards. They include John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker, and NYU alumnus and current arts professor Spike Lee.

Rios received his nomination in the “Alternative” category for Made of Sugar, which tells the story of three generations of a Cuban family as they reflect on their culture loss and their relationships with each other.

Guo received a nomination in the "Documentary" category for Fairy Tales, which chronicles the life of a working-class woman from rural China whose eccentric fashion designs, posted on Weibo, the country's largest social media site, turned her into an overnight Internet celebrity.

Aktas and Naranjo received their nominations in the “Narrative” category. Aktas’s film, Mutt, is about two children in the 1970s rural south whose father, after shooting a stray dog, insists they bury the body. Naranjo’s film, A New Civilization, is a political drama – inspired by Venezuela's 2013 presidential election – about a young group of volunteers about to deliver presidential ballots after voting has closed.

Winners of the Student Academy Awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, to be held September 22, 2016.


Rongfei Guo's Fairy Tales. Woman sitting in row of red seats.

Rongfei Guo's Fairy Tales

Williams Naranjo's A New Civilization. Young man with Venezuelan flag on face.

Williams Naranjo's A New Civilization

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