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Florida State University

FSU Film School students take top College Television Awards

With a pair of prestigious wins at this year's College Television Awards, the Emmy-winning tradition continues at the Florida State University College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts—best known as The Film School.

Sou Yun Sim and Michael Lloyd Green
Still photograph from "The Wall"

A short film written, directed and produced by FSU film students finished first in its category, while another "short" earned a third-place prize in its division at the 29th Annual College Television Awards, held March 15 in Hollywood, Calif. The producers and directors of both winning films attended the black-tie awards gala, hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

"These latest awards give us a total of 24 top honors from the Academy in 17 years and offer further proof that Florida State is a leader in U.S. film education," said Frank Patterson, dean of the FSU Film School. "In each of those winning years our students have beaten hundreds of entries from other top film programs across the country. In fact, The Film School set an Academy record by winning five College Television Awards in 2004 alone, the most ever for one school in a single year."

For 2008, the Academy received more than 400 entries from a total of 176 colleges and universities nationwide, all vying for the top three awards in each of 10 categories.

This year, "The Wall" garnered first-place film honors in the "Best Use of Music" category. The seven-and-a-half minute "short" was produced and edited by FSU film student Sou Yun Sim and written and directed by fellow FSU graduate student Michael Lloyd Green. The film tells the story of Bernard, a New York City cellist tormented by guilt, and his new neighbor—a Holocaust survivor at her wit's end who loves classical music and finds solace listening through her apartment's wall as Bernard plays his cello for what may be the last time.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, and with an undergraduate degree from Seoul National University, Sim came to the FSU Film School via Canada, where she began her filmmaking education. She will graduate from FSU in August with a Master of Fine Arts degree in film studies.

Green also will earn his master's degree (in film production) in August. Before enrolling at FSU he shot behind-the-scenes video for the major film "Altered" by Haxan Films (best known for creating "The Blair Witch Project"); assisted actor Colin Farrell on the set of the major motion picture, "Miami Vice"; and pitched one of his three feature screenplays at the Sundance Producers' Workshop.

In the "Comedy" category, "Tough Crowd" earned the third-place prize. Produced by FSU graduate student Atiya Wheelings and written and directed by fellow student Iman Zawahry, the eight-and-a-half minute film focuses on a female Muslim college student and stand-up comedienne torn between family tradition and her life's ambition but embracing both in hopes of finding her true identity.

Wheelings completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Florida A&M University in 2003 and entered medical school, but in 2004 decided to instead pursue her passion for filmmaking. She will graduate from FSU in August with a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Writer-director Zawahry was born in Panama City, Fla., to immigrant Egyptian parents. With an undergraduate degree in religion and Near-Eastern languages and cultures, she worked as a television field reporter before enrolling in the FSU Film School. The emerging filmmaker will earn her master's degree in August and already has a film in pre-production.

Both of this year's College Television Award-winning productions began as "D3" assignments for the graduate students, which means they had to be shot in just three days.

With its College Television Awards the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences seeks to spotlight the role of the producer in the filmmaking process, though all the major players, including the director, are honored. After the gala awards ceremony each spring, the Academy screens the winning films for industry bigwigs, film students and faculty and the general public. Along with an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, each winner receives a cash prize, a product grant for film stock, and mentoring from television professionals.

By Libby Fairhurst


"These latest awards give us a total of 24 top honors from the Academy in 17 years and offer further proof that Florida State is a leader in U.S. film education."

Frank Patterson
Dean, FSU Film School