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Media Release

Cinema Division Students Excellence Awards 2011

Our fifth Cinema Division Students Excellence Awards luncheon was held on Friday, Sept. 30, at 11:30 a.m., at the Walker Arts Center, Skyline Room. This is a yearly event that celebrates MCTC's best Cinema students and highlights their best productions of the year. This year we had a special guest, screenwriter Stephen McFeely.

Our Excellence Awards luncheon has also become a yearly opportunity for the Twin Cities’ film and video community to gather, interact, meet, greet and celebrate the successes of our students. We pride ourselves for the unique relationship we have nurtured through the year with the community and they do respond in kind by heavily participating in this event through their representatives, presidents, CEOs and other executives. Political representatives, mayors, senators and members of the press have regularly participated in these events as well.

Finalists and Winners for 2011

Photography: Ryan Coit for “Portfolio 2011" (nominee and winner)

Sound Arts: David Green for “Court of Bayonets” (nominee); Chris Spetcher for “Damage Republic” (winner)

Media Production: Stanislav Choumiatchkine for “Video 7” (nominee); Matthew Faltersack for “Movies” (winner) Phu Si Huynh for “SP 26” (winner)

Cinematography: Kevin Horn for “Bloodshed Love” (nominee); Brittany Gustaffson for “Sun Gods” (nominee); Joseph Wannemacher for “After the Beginning” (winner)

Editing and Post-production: Josh Mruz for “Your Mother is a Hunt” (nominee); Tony Larson for “Sun Gods” (winner)

Screenwriting/Shorts: Kevin Semlak for “After the Beginning” (nominee); Sammy Sarzoza for “Sun Gods” (winner)

Screenwriting/Features: Kevin Semlak for “Nightmares and Dreams” and Brandon Crowson for “Poorman” (tied as winners)

Directing/Producing: Nial Nelson-Hopkins For “Sun Gods” (nominee); Ryan Melling For “After the Beginning” (winner)

Cinema AwardsAll receive a cash award commensurate to their efforts.  That cash is raised through the year by our division, from organizations such as the Minnesota Film and TV Board, the Screenwriters Workshop and the Twin Cities Film Fest, but mostly from private companies in the Twin Cities and abroad such as US Federal Credit Union, which is our main sponsor; the law firms Frederickson and Byron, Lommen Abdo, and Satorius Law; Production Companies such as Werc Werk Works, Page Productions, Magnolia Pictures and the Kodak Company from New York. Smaller production companies such as Custom Sports Video or Enduradata participate as well; even individual producers such as Christine Walker or alumni donate individually.

Cinema Student Scholarship

Cinema AwardsThe new scholarship is intended for underserved students which includes low-income, first-generation and students of color in their third semester of the Cinema program. It is offered for the first time this year, and will be offered every year through a generous grant from the Twin Cities Media Summit Community and the MCTC Foundation.

The 2011 winners of the two scholarships of $1,000 each are Gabriel Siert for Screenwriting. Gabriel is a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Tribe. And Mustapha Hassan for Directing. Mustapha is a Somali American who grew up between Canada and the US.

About the Cinema Division

Our Cinema Division offers production programs that are uniquely designed and innovatively delivered. No other college or university in Minnesota or in the five surrounding states offers anything comparable.

We are one of the most successful award winning programs in the U.S. as our students garnered prestigious awards in national competitions, such as the McKnight, the Bush and the Academy Awards Nicholl’s fellowships. We also won the prestigious Kodak Excellence Award two times, one of which is this past year.

In terms of academic achievement, this year, instead of the traditional four sections we usually open, we had to open a fifth one, which translates into a 20% increase in our enrollment and that is after a rigorous selection of the incoming students and despite the rather difficult economic situation. Our graduation rates hover around 85%. Our students have access to state of the arts equipment that many 4-year programs do not offer.
Our promotional videos, produced jointly by the teachers and the students, have been highly appreciated by our college and by MNSCU. A recent example would be Tube Girl I and II about College Readiness, Jump Start, Power of You and PSEO, as others the former MNSCU chancellor and the Minnesota education Commissioner.