Four students, each from a major region of the world, have been named first-place winners in the 2008 Kodak Filmschool competition. Now in its ninth year, the annual contest recognizes outstanding achievements in cinematography by student moviemakers. This year’s winners include Devendra Golatkar from the Film and Television Institute of India, Mateo Soler from the Universidad ORT Uruguay, Aonan Yang from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Canada and Amparo de Miguel Viguer of ECAM in Spain. The winners will receive a trip to the 2009 Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in France, where their films will be presented in the Kodak Short Film Showcase.

Don Burgess, ASC, a renowned Oscar-nominated cinematographer who has worked on such films as Forrest Gump and Spider-Man, judged several of the regional competitions and praised the winning students for their sensitivity, storytelling and artistic abilities. “Golatkar’s work had a strong use of light and shadow, a very natural quality… All submitted very thoughtful work,” Burgess observes.

This year, the student moviemakers tackled a diverse range of subjects. Gotlatkar’s Who Thought About Little Boy revolves around the issue of children’s rights, while Singularity from Yang contemplates what happens when computers become superior to human intelligence.

“The quality of the entries increases every year and that’s gratifying for us to see,” says Wendy Elms, worldwide education segment manager, Entertainment Imaging Division, Eastman Kodak Company. “By providing recognition of their work, we hope to encourage the next generation of cinematographers to pursue their passion to tell stories on film.”

The Kodak Filmschool competition is open to students and recent graduates in Asia, Latin America, Canada, the U.S. and—for the first time this year—Europe and the Middle East. All entries must be produced on film by a student crew, and all participants must compete at a national level.

“Kodak gains as much from the competition as the students do,” says Elms. “While we devote great resources in our laboratories to developing the next generation of films, this next generation of filmmakers shows us how they want to use that film. The more they challenge it, the more we challenge ourselves. And, through the process, we all get better at what we do.”

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