Don Hertzfeldt, a 1998 UC Santa Barbara graduate, is one of just three filmmakers (and the only American) to be nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Short Animation Film.
His film "Rejected" has earned 13 awards to date, and was one of the most talked about films at the Sundance Film Festival last month.
"I am unbelievably thankful and flattered that a risky, experimental and dark cartoon can still be recognized in this era of Ôsafe' filmmaking....,"said Hertzfeldt, who received his degree in Film Studies, and is the third UCSB graduate from the department in as many years to be nominated for an Academy Award.
The film, produced in Hertzfeldt's Santa Barbara studio at a cost of under $5,000, will be featured during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 1-11.
The young filmmaker has won a total of 92 awards for his work, which can be seen at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theater Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 16-18). Hertzfeldt was recently hired by Department of Film Studies Chair Constance Penley to teach a class this summer on contemporary animated short film.
"I'm glad I hired him before he got the Oscar nomination, because now he would be too hot to hire, far too much in demand," said Penley.
"We are extremely proud of Don's nomination for such a prestigious Academy Award," said Chancellor Henry T. Yang.
"It speaks well of our Department of Film Studies, its faculty, students, and curriculum that we have had several nominations for these awards in recent years."
Last year, UCSB alumnus Roko Belic was among the Academy Award nominees in the Best Documentary Film category for "Genghis Blues," and in 1999, UCSB graduate Scott Frank was nominated for best adaptation of a screenplay for the film "Out of Sight."
Referred to as "very likely the best undergraduate program in the country," in a 1992 External Review, the Department of Film Studies currently enrolls 470 student majors, who take production courses only within an "intensive history and theory curriculum and a strong liberal arts education, according to Penley.