Two students from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts won awards during the 43rd Student Academy Awards on Sept. 22.
Brian Robau, a senior film production major, earned a silver medal for his movie “It’s Just a Gun,” and Brenna Malloy, a film production master’s student, received a bronze medal for her film “Rocket.”
The event was hosted at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles. The students submitted their films online, where they were viewed and voted upon by members of the Academy.
“The Student Academy Awards are the most important marker of achievement for Dodge College filmmakers,” said Janell Shearer Bassett, chair of the media arts division of Dodge College. It brings national recognition to the talent of our students and the quality of their work. “To get to the semi-finalist round means that these films are among the top 5 percent of all films submitted, which are of course from the best film schools around the country.”
“It’s Just a Gun” is a about a boy named Gabe who was bullied in school and has an abusive stepfather. The film deals with many themes including power, police brutality and gun violence, Robau said.
“A lot went into making the film, but I think what was most important was the collaboration of a truly great team. I was blessed to be able to work with really talented people who put their heart and soul into the film. It was an incredible experience,” Robau said. “I got to meet so many incredible and inspiring people and I got the opportunity to share the experience with my cast and crew. I feel incredibly grateful and really humbled having won. There were a lot of great films and our film being recognized as a product of a lot of great people and circumstances coming together.”
“Rocket” is a bittersweet fairytale that takes place in the world of 1950s dirt racing, Malloy said.
“With a legacy traditionally passed down from father to son, Annie Pankratz strives to build a destiny all her own,” Malloy said.
It took Malloy and the key creative team two years to create the film.
“Non-stop work from all of us is what has made this film what it is today. Talking on the phone for many hours every day with my producer Sarah Hulsman definitely was a big part of making sure we had all our bases covered. She was on top of it,” Malloy said. “I was very lucky to have such a strong and dedicated team across the board.”
Both Robau and Malloy said it took focus and dedication to create their films.
“I feel proud of the film and everyone who had a hand in making it. ‘Rocket’ was truly a labor of love. We believed in this story and sharing it with an audience. When days got tough and we wanted to give up, we never lost track of telling this story to the best of our capabilities,” Malloy said. “We learned a great deal along the way about ourselves and how to tell a moving story that people actually care about. To be recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures for directing ‘Rocket’ is truly an honor that I will never take for granted or forget.”