Academy of Art University Film "Soar" Wins Gold Medal at Student Academy Awards

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Academy of Art University graduate Alyce Tzue’s film "Soar" received the Gold Medal at the 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony

Academy of Art University graduate Alyce Tzue’s animated short film "Soar" won the Gold Medal at the 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards ceremony held on September 17 in Los Angeles. Tzue, who received her MFA in Animation & Visual Effects in 2014, developed "Soar" as her thesis project at the Academy. She credits the intense collaboration required to create an animated film for the award. “Over 100 people touched 'Soar,' and we were able to make something cohesive that doesn’t look like a student film,” she says.

John Lasseter, the chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, presented the Gold Medal to Tzue at the awards ceremony.

The stunning film was produced in classes at Academy of Art University’s StudioX during a three-year period. The StudioX program, led by Catherine Tate, the school’s Collaboration Lead, emulates a studio experience in which students learn to work as part of a team in a production pipeline, with real project challenges and real deadlines. The experience prepares them for employment at companies like Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic.

“It’s wonderful that Alyce was able to realize her vision through the combined efforts of the Academy of Art University community,” says Tom Bertino, Graduate Director of the School of Animation & Visual Effects. “Our program is designed to mirror the collaborative atmosphere of a professional studio, and the fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized the results is a tremendous tribute to the talents of our student body and the dedication of our faculty.” Academy of Art University previously saw 2010 MFA alumni Lisa Allen, Bernardo Warman, and Shaofu Zhang strike gold at the Student Academy Awards with their 2011 animated short, "Dragonboy."

"Soar" has also garnered multiple awards from festivals including the Palm Springs International Shortfest and the USA Film Festival. The film also was shortlisted at the 2015 BAFTA US Student Film Awards.

For more information about Alyce Tzue, "Soar," and to watch the official trailer, visit

Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design university in the nation. Founded in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, BS, B.Arch*, MA, MFA, and M.Arch degree programs in 29 areas of study, as well as continuing art education, pre-college art experience programs, certificates, and teacher grants. Classes are available in Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Art Teaching Credential, Automotive Restoration, Costume Design, Fashion, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Development, Game Programming, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design (Transportation & Product Design), Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Studio Production for Advertising & Design, Visual Development, Web Design & New Media, and Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. Students can also enroll in flexible online degree programs in most areas of study.

Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.Arch*, M.Arch), and CTC (California Teacher Credential).

For more information, visit or call 1-800-544-2787 (U.S. only) or 415-274-2200.

*B.Arch is currently in candidacy status.

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Martin Haro

Erika Couric