Film School is first school to sweep student competition of American Cinema Editors

School of Filmmaking students from UNCSA have swept the American Cinema Editors (ACE) student editing competition.

The all-UNCSA final included Chris Dold, a third-year undergraduate from Frederick, Md.; Aneesa Mahboob, a fourth-year undergrad from Fairfax Station, Va.; and Emily Rayl, a fourth-year undergrad from Salisbury, N.C. Mahboob was a repeat finalist, having represented UNCSA as the Film school’s first ever finalist in the competition last year.

ACE student editing award finalists

 From left: Emily Rayl, Chris Dold and Aneesa Mahboob

Dold beat out hundreds of competitors from universities across the country to win the student editing award.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams presented Dold with the special Student Award at the black-tie American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards recently at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.  Recognizing the best editing of 2015, the ACE Eddie Awards bestowed trophies in 10 categories of film, television and documentaries. More than 1,000 people attended.

ACE President Alan Heimtold the audience that UNCSA is the first school in ACE history to sweep the student editing competition.

Mahboob and Rayl, who attended the ACE Eddie Awards ceremony with Dold, also received plaques honoring them as finalists. The three students spent part of their trip out west visiting Los Angeles production studios and editing suites with their faculty mentors and enjoyed a dinner with UNCSA editing alumni working in the Los Angeles area.

UNCSA School of Filmmaking editing faculty members Julian Semilian and Michael Miller, A.C.E., as well as adjunct faculty member Eric Strand accompanied the students to LA and also attended the awards ceremony.

Julian Similian

“We are filled with elation about our ACE student finalists and winner,” said Semilian.

“When I began working here in 1998 I resolved to make our school the best picture editing and sound design school in the world. We have been super-fortunate to attract the level of students such as Aneesa, Chris and Emily. To sweep the ACE student editing competition is an unprecedented achievement. This puts us on the big map in this discipline.”
 Michael Miller

New editing faculty member Miller said: “What’s so exciting about the editing department at UNCSA’s School of Filmmaking is an approach that encourages students and faculty to view undergraduate projects not as ‘student films’ but as films that can compete with the work of professionals. Students’ work is never treated as ‘good enough.’ We work it until it’s great.”

UNCSA film students’ third- and fourth-year films will be screened for the public on May 5 and 6, respectively.

Dold’s second-year film was Terms and Conditions, which premiered at Cucalorus in November. His third-year film will be The Coat, The Check, and The Trial.

Mahboob’s third-year film was Madness; her fourth-year film will be Looking Good.

Rayl's third-year film was Everyday Heroes: The Story of Dr. Hooves (a mockumentary); her fourth-year film will be Broken.

Students in the ACE competition are nominated by their universities and compete by editing the same set of video dailies. The entries are judged by a panel of professional film editors. Three finalists are invited to be guests at the annual ACE Eddie Awards ceremony.

In addition to the special Student Award, the winner also receives publicity in the Hollywood trade papers.

The mandate of the American Cinema Editors is to advance the art and science of the editing profession.

by Lauren Whitaker 

February 26, 2016