Once again, the Oscar goes to an FSU grad at Student Academy Awards

Florida State University’s award-winning Film School has reeled in another one.

A senior thesis film written and directed by 2005 graduate Melissa Rossi—and appropriately titled "Charm"—endeared itself to the judges and took home an Oscar during the 32nd annual Student Academy Awards. A dozen students from 11 different colleges and universities, including FSU, were honored during the June 12 ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

With its bronze medal finish in the Narrative Category, "Charm" becomes only the second FSU undergraduate film ever to win a Student Academy Award, following a bronze in the Animation Category for "A Work In Progress" in 2003.

"Melissa is super-talented and a real fighter for her vision, qualities that are essential for young newcomers in our extremely competitive industry," said Frank Patterson, dean of FSU’s School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts—also known as The Film School. "We’re very proud of her win, and look forward to watching as more of her entertaining work hits the big screen."

Rossi, 22, completed her short film in December 2004. She describes "Charm" as a musical comedy about a shy woman, always in a sister’s shadow, who emerges stronger and more self-assured after facing down a major challenge in her life. As luck would have it, the prize-winning work was shot primarily at the Florida Lottery building. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from FSU in April, Rossi headed straight for Los Angeles, where she just finished writing her first feature-length script. Along with high hopes for that project, she has set her career sights on professional screenwriting and directing.

"Being recognized by the Academy at such a young age is really a blessing," said Rossi. "In a narrative competition, where excellent dramas pull at the heart, it was an honor for the Academy to recognize a musical comedy as one of the best."

Rossi adds her prestigious prize to an ever-growing collection of industry honors for FSU’s Film School, one of the largest and best-equipped facilities devoted wholly to film education—and recently recognized by the Directors Guild of America for its distinguished contribution to American culture. A sampling of accolades includes:

  • The 2005 Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award for "The Line Starts Here," a short film written and directed by student Matthew Pope and currently part of the pre-feature entertainment on more than 21,000 movie screens nationwide.
  • A 2004 Student Academy Award apiece for two recent alumni of the Film School’s Master of Fine Arts program.
  • An unprecedented total of five "College Television Awards" in 2004 from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for videos created by FSU students—the most ever honored from a single film school.