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And the Student Academy Award goes to…

Screenshot of The Ballad of Holland Island House

Photo courtesy of lynntomlinson.com

EMF assistant professor Lynn Tomlinson, ’14, MFA, has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 Student Academy Awards for her animated film “The Ballad of Holland Island House.”

The Student Academy Awards is a national student film competition conducted by the Academy and the Academy Foundation. Each year over 500 college and university film students from all over the world compete for awards and cash grants in four categories: animation, documentary, narrative and alternative.

“My film has received awards and been screened in dozens of festivals around the world,” Tomlinson said. “I usually don’t enter it as a student. But the Student Academy Awards is a special opportunity. And I think it’s important that people understand students and learners come in all ages.”

Tomlinson’s film is one of seven finalists in her category. She will learn in late August if her film has been selected as one of the top three. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on September 17 in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

“The Ballad of Holland Island House” is a short animation made with an innovative clay-painting technique in which a thin layer of oil-based clay comes to vibrant life frame by frame. Tomlinson tells the true story of the last house on a sinking island in the Chesapeake Bay. Told from the house’s point of view, the film is a soulful and haunting view of the impact of sea-level rise.

“The film was created as my final MFA thesis project for Towson’s Studio Art MFA, where I studied interdisciplinary media,” Tomlinson said. “I am a mature adult student, returning to my graduate studies mid-career like many at Towson, so I never felt out of place.

“I have been an animator since 1988, and in the 1990s I made independent short films using clay-on-glass animation and even a couple of spots on Sesame Street,” she continued. “Going to Towson’s MFA program gave me the gift of time, supportive community and the motivation to make the project come to life. I was able to dedicate the time it takes to make a personal film. It takes about three hours to make one second using my unique animation technique.”

Students from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, UCLA, Cornell University, Brown University, Villanova, Stanford, Columbia, as well as international universities from Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Austria and Sweden are among the nominees.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight awards. They include John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker and Spike Lee.

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