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MFA Graduate’s Thesis Film Up for Student Academy Award

One figure holds another in lap
A still from Georden West’s Patron Saint, a finalist for a Student Academy Award.
By Erin Clossey

Patron Saint, a short film by media artist Georden West, MFA ’18, was named a 2019 Student Academy Awards finalist in the Alternative/Experimental category.

The seven-minute film, which premiered at Outfest in Los Angeles last month, was West’s graduate thesis project. Assistant Professor Shaun Clarke and Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Jan Roberts-Breslin were their advisors.

Georden West head shot
Georden West. Photo/Colton West

A number of Emerson students worked on production of Patron Saint, including camera operator Cheng Jin, MFA ’18; first assistant cameras Isaac Nelson ’18 and Maria Servellon, MFA ’18; producer and first assistant director Kendall Wilmot ’18; gaffer Greg Ports; grip Evan Horowitz ’18; and colorist Alex Geller, MFA ’19.

“Our team is incredibly thrilled and honored to be finalists at the Student Academy Awards,” West said.

A celebration of the Divine Queer, according to West, Patron Saint reimagines religion and history as queer deities wearing Jamall Osterholm’s fashions interact within a mystical landscape.

Osterholm is a Rhode Island School of Design graduate and Project Runway contestant whose futuristic fashions reinterpret the past.

Patron Saint is a step towards demonstrating the power of fashion and media to unpack traditional conventions of gender, race, and sexuality,” West said in a statement. “Our filmic collaboration strives to rebuild a world reimagining power dynamics and elevating the queer body to the celestial.

“I feel lucky to have a team willing to take risks and challenge conventions with me.”

Patron Saint is up against two other films in its category, by filmmakers from Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in Germany, and Chapman University in California.

According to their website, West’s work “explores historic authenticity, ecstasy, and reimagines historical characters in the context of modernity. Their work explores fashion as an inherently queer medium of gender expression.”

They have exhibited internationally, and were nominated for Best Director and Best Cinematographer at the International Fashion Film Awards in 2018. They are currently a LEF Fellow, and will join Emerson as an affiliated faculty member this fall.

The Student Academy Awards are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same body that awards the Oscars. Past winners have included Robert Zemeckis, Cary Fukunaga, Patricia Cardoso, and Spike Lee. The ceremony will take place Thursday, October 17, in Los Angeles.

Women talk on set
On the set of Patron Saint. Photo/Shannon Grant
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