Three Latino directors are winners at the 40th annual edition of the Student Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced today. Colombian-born director David Aristizabal from the University of Southern California won in the Documentary category with his short film A Second Chance, while Nuyorican director Raffy Cortina from Occidental College won in the Alternative category with his short film Bottled Up (pictured), and Swiss-Mexican director Mauro Mueller from Columbia University was a winner in Narrative category with his film Un mundo para Raúl / A World for Raul.
David Aristizabal was born in Bogota and earned a BA in filmmaking and he then studied Economics in Colombia. He worked in television and directed three short films (1000 Colombian Pesos, and the documentaries Penalty and 213) before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a MFA in Film and TV production from USC.
His 23-minute documentary short A Second Chance is his thesis project. The film tells the story of a combat medic who can’t adjust to civilian life following his honorable discharge and post traumatic stress diagnosis. After applying for a support dog, he looks to a rescued companion for a second chance at life.
Raffy Cortina was born in Spanish Harlem in New York City. He moved to Los Angeles to study film at Occidental College in Los Angeles and in 2007 founded his own production company, Flavor Films. His fantasy short film Bottled Up (pictured right) tells the story of a dockworker who's life is trapped in the current of monotony. His only refuge is a wish bottle that embodies his desire to escape the mundane.
Starring Alexander Barceló, Adrián Alonso (Under the Same Moon) and Gerardo Taracena (Apocalypto), Mueller's Un mundo para Raúl is a dramatic coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Raul, a thirteen year old boy in Mexico. Mueller's short films have played at various festivals including Hong Kong, Singapore, Huesca, Morelia, Brooklyn, Denver, Outfest, Frameline35 and have won numerous awards including twice the CINE Golden Eagle Award, Big Beach Best directing award, and IFP Audience Award.
Additionally, one other Mexican-theme project was also a winner at the 2013 Student Academy Awards: Día de los Muertos (pictured left) by Lindsey St. Pierre and Ashley Graham from the Ringling College of Art and Design which won in the Animation category.