The 44th Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tonight honored 17 student winners from colleges and universities around the world. The top award in the documentary category – the Gold Medal – went to Brad Bailey for Hale. This win automatically makes the film eligible to compete for the Documentary Short Film Subject Oscar at the upcoming 90th Academy Awards in 2018.
At the center of the film is Hale Zukas (73), called the grandfather of the disability movement, who was born with cerebral palsy. Berkeley is the birthplace of the disability movement, and the work started there by Hale and others in the 1970’s forever changed how the world looks at disability. Every morning, he wakes up to fight for the right to live independently, with dignity, strength and courage. A pointer attached to his helmet pilots his wheelchair, and he communicates by tapping letters on a board.
Originally from Moultrie, Georgia, Brad Bailey just completed his graduate degree in Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his B.A. from Yale University in Political Science and his Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University. He is currently at Columbia University receiving a Master’s in Oral History. This film is his directorial debut and the documentary thesis from UC Berkeley, advised by Robert Calo and Orlando Bagwell (an AMPAS member).
Isaac Smith is co-producer.
As it heads to compete for the Documentary Short Oscar next year, Hale is not yet available to watch online. Below is director Bailey’s Student Academy Award acceptance speech. Suffice it to say that he’s a filmmaker you should know, and keep an eye on as he moves onto whatever his next project will be.
At the 44th Student Academy Awards ceremony, the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal awards were announced and presented by actors Amber Tamblyn and Andy Serkis, producer DeVon Franklin and director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
The full list of 2017 Student Academy Award winners are:
— Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Opera of Cruelty, Max R. A. Fedore, New York University
— Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: In a Heartbeat, Beth David and Esteban Bravo, Ringling College of Art and Design
Silver: Cradle, Devon Manney, University of Southern California
Bronze: E-delivery, Young Gul Cho, School of Visual Arts
— Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Hale, Brad Bailey, University of California, Berkeley
Silver: On Pointe, Priscilla Thompson and Joy Jihyun Jeong, Columbia University
Bronze: One Way Home, Qingzi Fan, New York University
— Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: My Nephew Emmett, Kevin Wilson, Jr., New York University
Silver: Mammoth, Ariel Heller, University of Southern California
Bronze: Who’s Who in Mycology, Marie Dvorakova, New York University
— Narrative (International Film Schools)
Gold: Watu Wote, Katja Benrath, Hamburg Media School
Silver: Facing Mecca, Jan-Eric Mack, Zurich University of the Arts
Bronze: When Grey Is a Colour, Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands Film Academy
— Animation (International Film Schools)
Gold: Life Smartphone, Chenglin Xie, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (China)
— Documentary (International Film Schools)
Gold: Galamsey, Johannes Preuss, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg (Germany)
Watch Brad Bailey’s acceptance speech below: