Freshly painted Oscar Statues.
University of California, Los Angeles graduate student Tatenda Mbudzi is one of six college students selected for the Oscar Experience College Search.
Entrants had to submit a 30-second video answering the question, “How will you contribute to the future of movies?”
The winners will serve as trophy presenters at the 85th annual Academy Awards, which take place this Sunday, February 24.
In his video, Mbudzi, originally from Zimbabwe, talked about storytelling from a “foreigner” perspective. He said he is familiar with the feeling of being an outsider.
“Everyone has that feeling of being an underdog,” he said. “That type of story tends to travel.”
Mbudzi is in his second year of UCLA’s Producers Program. He has worked on all stages of production and hopes to continue telling stories from “different perspectives” — including the modulated Optimus Prime voice he used in his original video entry.
“I hope he’s not offended by it,” Mbudzi joked.
Another winner, Jennifer Brofer, is a radio-television-film major at the University of Texas Austin. She has a story that is quite different from Mbudzi.
A military journalist of more than 10 years, she has reported on U.S. Marines across several mediums — including print, photography and video.
Brofer got her start when she walked into her local Marine Corps Recruiting Office. Her journey took her from South Carolina to Washington D.C. to Afghanistan, before being honorably discharged in January 2012.
Before she heads to Los Angeles for the Oscars, she plans to watch Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. But she is well aware of the differences between the movies and real life.
“Having the actual experience, not just reading it in a book or talking to someone secondhand, I think I can gave it a little more credibility,” she said.
Brofer wants to be a producer or director, and her video submission, in high definition quality with angled lighting, is evident of that.
“I just have a passion for everything that goes on beyond the lens,” Brofer said.
Brofer and Mbudzi will travel to Los Angeles with four other winners from across the country. In addition to the main event, they will visit the Academy Library and meet the Academy Award nominees for Short Film.
Samsung will also provide each of them with a Galaxy Note II to document their experiences as college presenters.
“There is no better way to inspire young filmmakers than to make them part of film’s most important night,” Zadan and Meron said.
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