Student Academy award winning shorts through the years.

2018 was a banner year for the already-award-winning Ringling College Computer Animation major. Heralded as the best in the world by 3D World Magazine and consistently listed among the top animation programs by Animation Magazine and Animation Career Review, the 27-year-old, boundary-breaking major just received three more accolades: 

• #1 Animation School by Animation Magazine 
• #1 Animation School by College Magazine 
• One of the “Best Schools in the U.S. to Become An Award-Winning Filmmaker” by Miniflix

#1 is #1, and that’s pretty clear. But how are schools selected for the honor of being one of the “Best Schools in the U.S. to Become An Award-Winning Filmmaker”? The answer is simple: The Student Academy Awards.

For the unfamiliar, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced the Student Academy Awards in 1972 “to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.” It is one of the top honors a film student can earn, and many go on to receive professional Oscar nominations. And it is competitive. This year, at the 45th Student Academy Awards, winners were selected from a total of 1,582 entries from 278 domestic and 122 international colleges and universities. These entries were whittled down to just seven finalists voted upon by a record number of Academy members. Four of those seven finalists were recent graduates of Ringling College.

But that’s not all. Winners are notified they have won an award, and, in keeping with the suspense of the professional Academy Awards, they don’t know which award they will be taking home. Students fly out to Beverly Hills in the fall to attend the Student Academy Awards Ceremony and receive their medal in front of their families, faculty, staff, peers, and industry professionals. 

Ringling College Computer Animation frequently claims top rankings and was bestowed the title of “the king of short animated films” by Miniflix. And with 14 student winners since 1998, the title is well-deserved. 

Jim McCampbell, Head of the Computer Animation department and one of Variety’s “2018 Entertainment Educators of the Year,” explains, “Winning a Student Academy Award is a huge boost to a recent graduate’s career. Not only does it gain them notoriety and attention, it also confirms their growth as a filmmaker to the public on an enormous scale. But most of all… it gets their film in a spotlight where it can bring the joy of the art form to countless thousands.”

While the winning films vary in topic and message, one thing is certain: Ringling College students, graduates, and faculty have a lot to be proud of.


by Eaza Shukla

“In A Heartbeat”
by Beth David and Esteban Bravo

“The Wishgranter”
by Kal Athannassov, John McDonald, and Echo Wu

“Dia De Los Muertos”
by Lindsey St. Pierre, Ashley Graham, and Kate Reynolds

“Peck Pocketed”
by Kevin Herron

“My Little Friend”
by Eric Prah

“Defective Detective”
by Avner Geller, and Stevie Lewis

“Departure of Love”
by Jennifer Bors

“The Visionary”
by Evan Mayfield

“A Leg Up”
by Bevin Carnes

“The Dancing Thief”
by Meng Vue

“Things That Go Bump in the Night”
by Josh Beveridge

“Passing Moments”
by Don Phillips, Jr.

by Peter Choe, Jeff Baker, Neal Nellans, Dominick Cecere, and James Hill

By Stephanie Lederer
Stephanie Lederer is the Editorial + PR Manager for Ringling College and Editor of CONTXT magazine.