L.A. students tops at CTAs


Students from USC, UCLA and Northwestern University were among those taking first place in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's 28th annual College Television Awards, which were handed out Saturday in a black-tie gala ceremony at Culver Studios.

Octavio Warnock-Graham from City College in New York was the recipient of two special awards for his documentary "Silences," in which a biracial son confronts his mother and experiences her refusal to acknowledge that he is of African-American descent. He was presented with award for achievement in the direction of a comedy, documentary or drama as well as the Bricker Humanitarian Award, for which he received $4,000.

Ellie Burrows and Kunal Savkur of Northwestern University in Chicago won in the comedy category for "The Detention Teacher," which centers on a high school detention teacher who, after a fight with his wife, forces two people who would never talk otherwise to have a nonstop conversation for an entire detention period.

In the drama category, UCLA students Alexandra Fisher and Justin Wolske won first place for "Parthenabe," about a unique friendship between a geriatric caretaker and a man who suffers from dementia.

Kate Kuttler and Kamy Leach of Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City took top honors in the animation/nontraditional category with "Las Pinatas," in which two pinatas attempt to escape a birthday party, while Ian Worrel of CalArts in Valencia won first place in the animation/traditional category with "Icarus & the Tree Herder," a story about the fate of Icarus when he disrupts order within the world of the tree herder.

There was only one winner in the children's and music categories. Nathan Collett of USC won in the former for "Kibera Kid," about a lonely 12-year-old street boy who must choose between gang life and redemption, while Darin DiNapoli, Brad Grimm and David Toole of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh won for " 'Archetype' by Identity X," in which the lead singer of Identity X chases after his archetype and finds it all too elusive.

The College Television Awards recognize excellence in undergraduate and graduate student film/video productions. This year, the foundation received 408 entries submitted by 176 colleges and universities nationwide, which were judged by blue-ribbon panels of industry professionals.

"The entries this year were truly outstanding," said Terri Clark, executive director of the ATAS foundation.

First-place winners were awarded $2,000, second place $1,000 and third place $500. First- and second-place winners also received the Eastman Product Grant sponsored by Kodak in cooperation with the foundation with the value of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, in film stock.

Also during the ceremony, hosted by Tom Bergeron, Emmy-winning producer-director-writer Mark Burnett received the inaugural Innovation in Television Award, which honors a person who has had "significant and groundbreaking impact on the television landscape."

The complete list of winners can be found at www.emmys.tv.