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Student Award Winners

Ellen Tripler Award Winner

SOC's Student Award Winners

Check out these award-winning Film & Media Arts students!

2012 Student Achievements

A selection the achievements of Film & Media Arts students for 2012

Documentary Films

Ellen Tripler’s thesis film, "Dying Green" Silver Student Academy Award. “Dying Green” also:

  • Won 3rd place in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences prestigious College Television Awards
  • Won an Accolade Award and was screened at the American Documentary Film Festival in CA
  • Won a CINE Golden Eagle award
  • Was selected for NATURAL HEROES Season 6, to appear on PBS affiliates late summer of 2013
  • Was selected by the faculty to be the film representing American University in the CILECT Student Film competition
  • Was selected for the American Conservation Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Greenville International Film festival
  • Was screened at the Myrtle Beach Film Festival
  • Assisting Ellen on the film were Stephen Tringali, Kevin Wells, and AU alums: Kelly Donnellen, Emily Gaines Bringham, and Doug Burnette.

"The Vigil" produced by Arya Surowidjojo for his thesis production in 2010 was winner of the Best Documentary Film in the DC based Our City Film Festival in 2012. 

Other films selected for the festival included:

Arya Surowiidjojo’s film was also awarded a special Golden Eagle award of excellence by CINE.

Irene Magafan’s thesis film, “The Bonobo Connection” is an official selection and a finalist at the International Wildlife Film Festival. 

Sarah Gulick and Helenah Svedberg’s film “Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay” produced with the assistance of students* in Sandy Cannon-Brown’s class was screened during Chesapeake Week on Maryland Public television. The film was also:

SOC Sarah Gulick
  • Won a CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Won 3 Student Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: Chesapeake Region
  • Selected for the American Conservation Film Festival and Gulick was invited to serve on a panel at the festival to discuss the film
  • Was screened at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Maryland
  • Was accepted into the Alexandria Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Neuse Riverkeeper Film Festival at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Was screened at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Chesapeake Folk Festival

*Students participating in the production were Alison Ogden, Brian Kelley, Gillian Ray, Jennifer Stratton, Jordan Brown, Tony Azios.

Maura Ugarte’s and Michael T. Miller’s thesis project, “Divide,” won best short documentary at the Workers Unite fest and was screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

Richard Concepcion’s MFA thesis film, "Politics of U.S. Occupation," will have free public screenings at the University of the Philippines Film Center and in various schools/communities in the Philippines sponsored by the Philippine government-subsidized film festival.

Narrative Films

Anne Coburn’s thesis film, “Pretty All The Time,” was selected to screen at the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival. (Out of 1450 independent short film entries submitted, only 158 films were chosen.)

Jason Fraley won a CINE Golden Eagle and was screened at the DC Shorts Film Festival for his thesis film, “Liberty Road.”

Anthony Brenneman won a Golden Eagel from CINE for his thesis film “Frienemies."

"The Funeral" by Colin Foster was screened at DC Shorts.

Yi Chen’s film, "FL 324" was selected for the SAG Foundation's Short Film Showcase.

"Waiting on a Train" the thesis film by David Joyce won Outstanding Local Film from the 2012 DC Shorts Festival.


Jon Malis’s thesis portfolio was selected as part of “Intersections: Where Art Meets Science,” a series of exhibitions investigating the crossroads between art and science at Montgomery College.

Jon Malis was presented with The von Leibig Center's 2012 National Photography Award for his thesis portfolio of photographs (as well as other work).

Autumn Moran Barbie Restroom

Autumn Moran’s photography project, "Barbie Happy Hour" from her Fine Art Photo class was accepted into a show at Hillyer Art Space. Autumn’s film shot at FAMU in Prague, 'Sežer To, Lucie (Eat it, Lucie)' was selected to be screened at the Wallabout Student Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY.





"Stage Fright,” the web series produced by the students in Claudia Myers and Kyle Brannon’s Webisode class won best comedy in the 2012 LAWebfest.

Isabelle Zaugg, earned a Fulbright scholarship to work with arts education students from Addis Ababa University to develop a series of filmmaking workshops for adolescents, whose productions will be broadcast nationally on Ethiopian Television.

Melissa McCord was awarded one of the prestigious and highly competitive internships offered by the TV Academy Foundation in Digital Entertainment at Ovation TV in Santa Monica, CA.

Peter Kimball selected as a finalist and won best screenplay award in the DC Shorts Screenplay Competition with his film "Shenanigans."

Carl Randolph, MA Producing Film 2012, won a TIVA PEER Award for best make-up for the short "Never Dream, The Beginning."

2011 Student Achievements

The following are a selection the achievements of Film & Media Arts students for 2011

Documentary Films

Jonathan Eason’s thesis film "Waiting for Oil" co-produced and shot by Brad Allgood was selected as a regional finalist at the Student Academy Awards. It was also an official selection in the New Orleans Film Festival, an Official Selection in the Gasparilla Int'l Film Festival, and an Official Selection in the 2011 Orlando Film Festival

Don Fish, Kady Buchanan, Helenah Svedberg and Scott Bastedo were awarded first place in the student film category at the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival for their film, "Mending History: A Sofer's Story," that documents the reconstruction of a Torah from Ostrag, Poland that survived the Holocaust.

Lois Lipman & Paul Kim (Emily Gaines Bridges, editor) won a CINE Golden Eagle for their film, "A Place to Belong." The film also earned an Accolade Merit Award and was televised on Toledo Public TV repeatedly over Thanksgiving.

Suzanne Taylor’s thesis film, “The Road We Know,” was selected as an Official Selection in DocMiami Int'l Film Festival.

Ellen Tripler’s thesis film, "Dying Green," won a CINE Golden Eagle in the Independent Short category. She also won Best Student Documentary and Best Educational Content (a Merit Award) at the Montana CINE International Film Festival in Missoula, MT.

Ted Roach and Aditi Desai’s documentaries, "I Sank the USS West Virginia," and "Letters from My Father," produced for the National Park Service/Valor in the Pacific National Monument, were selected for St. Louis International Film Festival.

Larry Dortch’s documentary film, "One Punch at a Time" produced in Professor Bill Gentile’s Backpack Documentary, class won best DMV Short Film at the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza.

Arya Surowidjojo won a CINE Golden Eagle in student category for his thesis film, "The Vigil."

Narrative Films

Ben Graham Smith won an Award of Merit for his thesis film, "Marshall, Texas", at the Best Short Competition (La Jolla, CA).

Randall Blair's (alum and faculty) film, “Soul Searching,” won a Gold Remi for Dramatic-Original short film at the 44th Houston International Film Festival.

Alexandra Garcia’s "Scene In," was nominated for a Webby People's Voice Award,

Anthony Brenneman’s thesis, “Frienemies” was accepted into the LA Short Fest and will be part of the Film Market at the Palm Springs International Shortfest.

Michael Pollak’s (alum) thesis film, "Death of a Nation" won the 2011 Directors Circle of Shorts Best of Genre award, and it also won in the New York City International Film Festival.

Jason Fraley won a CINE Golden Eagle in student category for his thesis film, “Liberty Road.”


John Malis 2011 Thesis

Jon Malis’s photography which was submitted in partial completion of his MFA thesis requirements, was accepted into the Conner Contemporary Art Academy 2011 invitational survey of outstanding work by MFA/BFA students in the Washington/Baltimore area.






Ten of Prof. Leena Jayaswal’s photo students were accepted into the juried Portrait DC show. The students were Michelle Cogut, Jennifer Ehlers, Sareen Hairabedian, Bryan Innes, Kevin Kunitake, Autumn Moran, Danny Peters, Kristen Velit, Danika Onsley and Carrie Walters. Of area photo schools AU had the most number of acceptances.

Nikki Khan, SOC BA 95, was one of the three photographers from the Washington Post to win the Pulitzer Prize for her work in Haiti.


Sareen Hairabedian won The American News Women’s Club’s scholarship. ANWC is the oldest active national organization for women in the media. It encourages and supports women who are pursuing professional excellence throughout their careers.

Peter Kimball and Katelyn Morey made it into the Motion Picture Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinals.

Kafi Kareem had an article, "Trinbagonianness in Film," published in Senses of Cinema, an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema.

2010 Student Achievements

The following are a selection the achievements of Film & Media Arts students for 2010

Documentary Films

Richard Conception’s MFA thesis film “Politics of U.S. Occupation” accepted to the 2011 Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival.

Megan Barrett, Ingrid Specht, Eileen Keegan, Jen Mandeville, Mark Petruniak, and Chris McMurrow’s ten-minute film “La Pesca Vivencial” produced through The Practice of Environmentalism class was selected for the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival.

Ted Roach, Aditi Desai and Chuck Dunkerly's project "I Sank the USS West Virginia" was selected by the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Dan Curl & Denise Nakamizu got a mention in Variety for their work on Gerry Wurzburg’sWretches & Jabberers.”

Jp Eason’s thesis production "Waiting for Oil," DP’d by Brad Allgood, was an official selection in the Gasparilla International Film Festival.

Brad Allgood's thesis film, "Saving the Seaflower Conch," was an honorable mention in the 2010 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and an official selection in the Hamptons Wildlife and Conservation Film Festival.

Brad Allgood's short documentary, "Power to the People," was also an official selection in the Hamptons Wildlife and Conservation Film Festival.

Rebecca Howland’s, “The Bay is Your Oyster,” "Working with Fire" by Dustin Harrison-Atlas and Danny Ledonne, “On the Fence” by Brian Kelley, and “The Struggle for Mt. Nimba” by Kari Barber were broadcast nationally on an Earth Focus Special on LinkTV.

Brian Kelley’sOn the Fence” was awarded a CINE Golden Eagle.

Ted Roach, Aditi Desai, Chuck Dunkerly won a CINE Golden Eagle for “World War II: Valor In The Pacific Webisodes.”

Welma Redd (alum) received a Morgan State University Heritage award for her production of "BOTSWANA: An African Jewel."

Kai Fang, Aditi Desai and Steve Erdman received a TIVA Peer Award for “Skipjacks.”

Lois Lipman (producer) and Emily Gaines (editor) received a TIVA Peer Award for “A Place to Belong” a film about children with Asperger's.

"ECOVIEWS: THREE STORIES FROM THE CHESAPEAKE BAY" produced by Ted Roach, JP Eason, Dustin Harrison-Atlas, Norma Aguilar-valer, Alex Morrison, and Suzanne Taylor was an Official Selection in the Wildlife and Conservation Film Festival. It also won:

  • 2010 CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • 2010 National Student Academy Award Finalist (Documentary, 1 of 9 selected nat'l finalists)
  • 2010 Regional Student Academy Award Winner
  • 2009 TIVA-DC Peer Silver Award
  • All 3 shorts featured on Life on Terra website (Summer 2009, currently available on iTunes podcasts)

"CHESAPEAKE GOLD" produced by Ted Roach, Alex Morrison, & Caroline Aguilar received:

  • 2010 BEA Student Short Documentary Competition - 2nd Place Award
  • 2009 TIVA-DC Peer Gold Award

Olha Onyshko and Sarah Farhat’s film, “Three stories of Galicia” was booked at and pre-paid for two screenings of at the Film Market in Cannes by The Ukrainian Film Commission (part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture).

Peggy Fleming, Kaveh Rezaei and Lobna Hassairi’s film “Checkers” was shown at the Our City Film Festival. It was also invited to Cinestud in Amsterdam.

Brad Mendelson’s film, "Un-Natural State," won a Cine Golden Eagle and also premiered in the Washington DC International Film Festival.

Narrative Films

Michael Pollak won Indie Fest in CA for Best Short Film for his thesis film, "Death of a Nation."

Drew Louis and Katie Neff’s film, "Hope," was selected by the Rosebud Film Festival.

Kim Spurlock (alum) earned a Silver in the Narrative category of the Student Academy Awards for her film “Down in Number 5.”


Andamion Murataj (alum) won the Silver Bear for the best script at Berlinale, The Berlin International Film Festival.

Ted Roach received the Human Rights Film Series grant for his film, "120 days."

Peter Kimball’s TV pilot entitled "Greater Chicago" became a Finalist in the Slamdance Writing Competition.

Mary Ratliff’s script,”Catching Up”, was one of the selections for the 2010 DC Shorts Screenplay Competition.

Michael Hyde was a finalist in the ACE editing competition.

Jeremy Diamond, Yi Chen and Douglas F. Williamson each had films shown at the Our City Film Festival.