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SAA 2017

Actors Amber Tamblyn and Andy Serkis, producer DeVon Franklin and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson will be presenters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 44th Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The awards ceremony caps a week of industry activities for the 17 winning student filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad.

Amber Tamblyn was born and raised in Venice, California, and is a third-generation Californian. She has been a writer and actress since the age of nine. She has been nominated for an Emmy®, Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award for her work in television and film.  In 2007, she won the Locarno Film Festival award for Best Actress for her work in “Stephanie Daley” (2006), in which she starred opposite actress Tilda Swinton. Her television credits include “Joan of Arcadia” and “House.” In film, she has starred in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005), Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” (2010) opposite James Franco, as well as Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” (2012). Most recently, Tamblyn wrote and directed the critically acclaimed feature film “Paint It Black” (2016), based on the novel of the same name by Janet Fitch. The film was acquired by Netflix and will premiere in 2018. Tamblyn is currently writing a novel on rape culture that follows an amorphous serial rapist, and her next book of poems covers her journey traveling and campaigning for and with Hillary Rodham Clinton between both her 2008 and 2016 presidential runs.

Andy Serkis is an award-winning actor who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in a range of memorable roles.  He gained legions of fans around the globe for his performance as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (2001-2003), for which he won an Empire Award. Reuniting with Jackson, he played two roles in “King Kong” (2003), taking performance capture to another level as the title character of “Kong,” while also appearing as Lumpy, the ship’s cook. Serkis’ additional acting credits include “24 Hour Party People” (2002), “13 Going on 30” (2004), “The Prestige” (2006), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015) and “War for The Planet of The Apes” (2017), and he will reprise his role as Supreme Leader Snoke in the next installment of the Star Wars Saga in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017). Serkis will make his directorial debut this October with “Breathe”, an inspiring true love story starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. In addition, Serkis is in post-production on “Jungle Book: Origins” (2018), an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” for Warner Bros. on which he serves as director, producer and actor, in the role of “Baloo.” 

DeVon Franklin is an award-winning film and Television producer, best-selling author, internationally known preacher and motivational speaker. Franklin serves as President & CEO of Franklin Entertainment, a dynamic multimedia entertainment company that produces inspirational and uplifting content. The company recently signed a new multi-year first-look film deal with 20th Century Fox. Prior to starting Franklin Entertainment, Franklin served as Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures, making him one of the highest ranking African-American studio executives. During his near tenure at Columbia Pictures, he built a name for himself overseeing films that had both uplifting content and commercial appeal including box office hits such as “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006), “The Karate Kid” (2010), “Jumping the Broom” (2011) and “Heaven is For Real” (2014). Franklin’s current projects include his recently released third book “The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success” and the animated holiday feature “The Star,” which will hit theaters on November 17th.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson made her feature film directorial debut with “Kung Fu Panda 2” (2011), which earned more than $665 million at the worldwide box office. She, along with Alessandro Carloni, most recently directed the franchise’s successful follow-up “Kung Fu Panda 3” (2016). Nelson has lent her talents to a variety of DreamWorks Animation pictures, including as head of story for “Kung Fu Panda” (2008), story artist on “Madagascar” (2005),  head of story for “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” (2003) and story artist on “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron’ (2002). Prior to joining DreamWorks Animation, Nelson worked at HBO Animation and served as director, story artist and character designer for HBO’s animated series “Spawn,” which won an Emmy Award in 1999 for Outstanding Animated Program. She is currently directing “The Darkest Minds” (2018), a live action science fiction thriller.

A complete list of this year’s Student Academy Award® winners can be found here. 

New this year, the competition has expanded to allow two options for students at international film schools to submit their films. In addition to CILECT-member schools submitting one student film per international film school category, international students may now enter films that qualify through film festivals recognized by the Student Academy Awards Executive Committee. 

The 44th Student Academy Awards ceremony on October 12 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required.  Tickets may be obtained online at starting today.  Any remaining tickets will be made available at the door on the evening of the event.  The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

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.