The Pulitzer Center-supported film Seasons by 2022 Reporting Fellows Gabriella Canal and Michael Fearon has won a Student Academy Award and is now eligible for the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected 14 winning films out of 1,796 entries from 614 colleges and universities around the world.
“It's just such a validation of the time and love that we put into crafting this film,” Canal said. “And it's an honor to have the memory of our work and of this story live on like this. It feels surreal. I was definitely surprised when we got the news, but I'm really excited for what's to come.”
“We are grateful to have been recognized as Student Academy Award winners in the documentary category. I hope that this award encourages us to continue pursuing our documentary craft and to tell stories that we are passionate about," Fearon said.
The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 to “provide a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work,” according to its website. “The 2022 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Spike Lee, Patricia Riggen, and Robert Zemeckis.”
Seasons chronicles the story of Nevia No, a Korean immigrant who decides to start her own farm in New Jersey, and her daughter Euni, who attempts to reconnect with her mother through helping on the farm. As the seasons of planting and harvesting change, so too do Nevia and Euni’s relationships with the land, their Korean-American heritage, and each other. Both face social expectations from an older generation; Nevia defied expectations by choosing a life of farmwork, and now Euni must decide how to forge her own path.
The film was published in The New Yorker with text by Vivian Cheng. In directing the film, Canal and Fearon say they “embedded at the farm from sunrise to dusk” over the course of months to get to know the farm and their subjects. Canal and Fearon also each wrote field notes about the production process: “Unearthing the Story of 'Seasons'” and “Farming as Art.”
Linda Winslow, Pulitzer Center board member and former executive producer of PBS NewsHour, advised the project.
“I was honored to be an advisor on Seasons, which is a beautiful story about so much more than organic farming. It deserves to be recognized as [a] remarkable testament to an amazing woman who loves her family as much as she loves the land that sustains them all,” Winslow said.
The in-person award ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30pm, at the David Geffen Theater in Los Angeles, where gold, silver, and bronze medals will be announced. It is free and open to the public; advance tickets are available here.
All award-winning films are eligible to compete for the Oscars in their respective categories. Nominations will be announced on January 24, 2023.
Congratulations to Canal and Fearon on this remarkable achievement! Watch Seasons below: