Iowa Short Film Wins Student Academy Award

A still from “Frozen Out,” a short film created by two Iowa City filmmakers reflecting on an immigrant’s struggles with mental health.

Two Iowa City filmmakers won a Student Academy Award and a $5,000 grant during the 48th annual ceremony presented virtually last week by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The five-minute experimental film, called “Frozen Out,” reflects on an immigrant’s struggles with mental health. It was written and directed by its star, Hao Zhou (pronounced How Joe), a graduate student in film and video production at the University of Iowa, and produced by Iowa City filmmaker Tyler Hill. In a statement, Zhou said the award is the most prestigious competitive prize for student-made films in the world.

Zhou and Hill’s work has already attracted attention in Iowa. “Frozen Out” was selected for the sixth season of “The Film Lounge,” which will air statewide on Iowa PBS in January 2022. “The Film Lounge,” an annual series that showcases Iowa films, is produced in partnership with the Iowa Arts Council and Produce Iowa, both divisions of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Watch the trailer here.


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