An Israeli and a Palestinian-identified filmmaker have won the Student Academy Awards. The winners were announced earlier this week in anticipation of the Student Academy Awards ceremony that will take place on September 22 in Los Angeles.
Maya Sarfaty, a student at Tel Aviv University, won the award for her documentary “the Most Beautiful Woman.” The film tells the story of Helena, a young Slovakian Jewish woman who had an affair with Franz, an SS officer while held in Auschwitz concentration camp. In return for granting him sexual favors, Helena managed to secure the survival of herself and her sister Rosa, though not the lives of her sister’s two children.
Ahmad Saleh, who was born in Saudi Arabia to a Palestinian family (Saleh identifies as Palestinian), also won a Student Academy Award with his stop-animation film “Ayny – My Second Eye.” The movie details the dangers of war as seen through the eyes of two young boys who share a love for music.
Saleh studied Electrical Engineering in the West Bank between 1998 – 2003, following which he went to study Film in the University of Cologne, where “Ayny – My Second Eye” was made. The film’s main storyline is based on a tragic story that his own family in Nablus went through. As part of their research, the film’s German producer traveled to Nablus to interview the two people who the film’s two main characters were based on.