Winners of the 43rd Student Academy Awards were officially recognized during the ceremony held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on September 22, where Chapman University / Dodge College film school students Brian Robau and Brenna Malloy earned silver and bronze medal placements, respectively, in the narrative category.

Brian Robau (MFA/Film Production’17) took home the silver for his short film It’s Just a Gun and Brenna Malloy (MFA/Film Production’16) won the bronze for her short film Rocket.

Both films are eligible to compete for 2016 Oscars® in the Live Action Short Film category. 

“This is a landmark moment for our film school and reflects tremendous credit on the talent of our students and the commitment of our faculty and staff to mentoring them as they develop their creative visions,” says Dean Bob Bassett.   “These two films in particular effectively tap topics very much in the zeitgeist—how women define themselves and how the prevalence of guns is shaping our society.”

Brenna Malloy’s Rocket tells a bittersweet tale set in the world of 1950’s dirt track racing. Under the shadow of a legacy traditionally passed down from father to son, Annie Pankratz finds a path to building a destiny all her own.

In addition to directing the film, Malloy wrote the screenplay with Ian Hock. The film stars Lizzie Clarke, Cameron Diskin and Danny Downey.

Brian Robau’s It’s Just a Gun asks audiences to imagine the lifetime of a gun and all the hands it passes through. “It’s Just a Gun” is just one chapter in that story and features Joshua Johnson-Lionel and Claude Sharpe from a script by Daniel Klein.

Robau and Malloy’s wins come one year after Daniel Drummond (BFA/Digital Arts’14) became the first Chapman student to win a Student Academy Award, winning the top prize in the Alternative Film category for his inventive film “Chiaroscuro.”

Overall, 17 student films were named winners of the 43rd Student Academy Awards® competition. The Academy received a record number of entries this year – 1,749 films from 286 domestic and 95 international colleges and universities – which were voted on by a record number of Academy members.

The 2016 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis. 

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 to provide a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work.