The gold medal prize for narrative films went to Gregg Helvey of the University of Southern California for "Kavi," a short film about an Indian boy forced to work.
The top prize for animation was presented to Glenn Harmon of Brigham Young University for "Pajama Gladiator," a computer-animated short film about a boy who gets caught stealing cookies in the middle of the night. The gold medal documentary winner was Liz Chae of Columbia University for "The Last Mermaids," which chronicles female Korean divers.
"When I finally heard I won, I was so excited, I just told my parents right away," said Chae. "This has really been a dream come true for something that I've been working on, so I was very excited."
The prizes are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars. Winners get $5,000 for gold medals, $3,000 for silver medals and $2,000 for bronze.
The awards were presented to the students during a ceremony at Samuel Goldwyn Theater by "The Dark Knight" actor Gary Oldman, "Blues Brothers" and "Coming to America" director John Landis, "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" animator Andreas Deja and producer and academy first vice president Robert Rehme.
Established in 1972, the Student Academy Awards are intended to support young filmmakers. Past winners include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter and Trey Parker.
A complete list of the winners in each category:
_ Gold Medal: "Kavi," Gregg Helvey, University of Southern California.
_ Silver Medal: "The Bronx Balletomane," Jeremy Joffee, The City College of New York.
_ Bronze Medal: "Bohemibot," Brendan Bellomo, New York University.
_ Gold Medal: "Pajama Gladiator," Glenn Harmon, Brigham Young University.
_ Silver Medal: "Sebastian's Voodoo," Joaquin Baldwin, University of California, Los Angeles.
_ Bronze Medal: "Kites," Jed Henry, Brigham Young University.
_ Gold Medal: "The Last Mermaids," Liz Chae, Columbia University.
_ Silver Medal: "The Wait," Cassandra Lizaire and Kelly Asmuth, Columbia University.
_ Bronze Medal: "A Place to Land," Lauren DeAngelis, American University, Washington, D.C.
_ Gold Medal: "Alice's Attic," Robyn Yannoukos, University of California, Los Angeles.
_ Silver Medal: "Matter, in a Quiescent State, Prepares Itself to Be Transformed," Kwibum Chung, School of Visual Arts, New York.
Honorary Foreign Film:
_ "Elkland," Per Hanefjord, Dramatiska Institutet, Sweden.