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Academy of Art University’s 2nd Epidemic Film Festival Dazzles Hollywood Elite

The historic Castro Theatre was buzzing with excitement and anticipation for Academy of Art University’s 2nd Annual Epidemic Film Festival. The festival, hosted by the School of Motion Pictures & Television, gives Academy students the opportunity to showcase their work for movie industry professionals and the public.

“I was very pleased with the 2nd annual Epidemic festival and inspired by the winning films,” said Epidemic Film Festival Director Jonathan Fung. “I was excited to witness our industry guests praising the work of our students and also Academy of Art University.”

Second-time presenter Michael Nankin, who has worked as a writer, producer and director on various hit television shows such as Life Goes On and Battlestar Galactica, was excited to be back.

“For the second year, I am really impressed with the professional work being done here,” he said.

Rock band Finding Mercury set the tone for the festivities, and hostess of Ceremonies Megan Cavanagh kicked off the event with her infectious humor.

                                 Martin Landau and Tippi Hedren

Martin Landau was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Academy of Art University. The actor first struck fame with his role in the television series Mission Impossible for which he received Emmy nominations for the three seasons he appeared.  He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in Ed Wood. Recently, Landau returned to the small screen for a role in the hit TV show Entourage.

“I am pleased that this institution exists and I am pleased to accept this award,” Landau said.

                                 Chris Milk with Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of AAU

Chris Milk was presented with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Since graduating from the Academy, Milk has had a prolific career as a music video director, working with artists such as Green Day and Kanye West. In 2007, Chris won the MVPA Director of the Year award. Veteran actress Tippi Hedren was given a surprise award, honoring her illustrious acting career.

                                 Natalie Weiss, Best Documentary winner

The student work from the film school, ranging from experimental film, to documentary to films shot in Super 8, impressed the audience. The mock trailer Some Girls, shot in Super 8, was arrestingly beautiful while the Best Documentary winner Drumline shed light on percussion as an art form.

“Sweet, simple storytelling at its best,” host Cavanagh exclaimed over Viv Koh’s film Overnight, A Rose.

Steve McGlothen, presented the final Best Picture award to Viv Koh along with an offer to mentor Koh in the year to come.  McGlothen, who made the same offer to winner Alexandra Overton at last year’s Epidemic festival, encouraged the other presenters to offer their skills as mentors, as well.

                                 Viv Koh accepting her third award for the evening

Koh, returning to the stage for a third time, was speechless. She held up her award to the audience and exclaimed, “I love this school!”

Best SUPER 8
Penelope Allyn Collins, Some Girls

Casimir Fornalski, Panic

Best Production Design
Seung Yong Song, Self-Portrait

Best Music Video/ Best Editing
Bilal Lashari, Sajni

Best Commercial
Jillian Pierce, Ruth Chris

Best Cinematography
Patrick Durkin, Set Your Goals “Echoes”

Best Documentary
Natalie Weiss, Drumline

Audience Choice/Best Screenplay/Best Director/Best Picture
Viv Koh, Overnight, a Rose


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