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SUNY Potsdam student wins Oscar Experience contest at 2013 Academy Awards

ChaRon Brabham of SUNY Potsdam on stage at the Oscars with other Oscar Experience Talent Search finalists

SUNY Potsdam student ChaRon Brabham has been named the first place winner in the national “Oscar Experience Talent Search,” sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU.  Subsequently, she was among five winners to hand Oscar trophies to winners in Sunday night’s ceremony along with being featured on stage during the live broadcast to an estimated one billion viewers.

The aspiring SUNY Potsdam filmmaker from Brooklyn, N.Y., won top honors for her video entry. Entrants had to submit a 30-second video answering the question, “How will you contribute to the future of movies?”

Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2012 were presented on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.  Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and Ted, hosted the event, which was televised live on the ABC Television Network and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Brabham, a junior theater major who is also a student ambassador for the College’s admissions office, submitted a black and white short film. All winning video entries may be viewed at the Oscars YouTube channel.

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ChaRon Brabham


“As an aspiring film director, I have plans to both educate and broaden horizons for the future of children, showing them that life isn’t always so easy, but that greatness will always be attainable if you work towards your dreams,” she said.

“For me, film is a continuous change, but always goes back to those big ideas. I want to take those ideas and make them blossom like flowers, into a new era of film.”



The winners of the contest are:

  • ChaRon Brabham from SUNY Potsdam (NY) – Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Jennifer Brofer from the University of Texas at Austin (TX) – Hometown: Austin, Texas
  • Abe Diaz from DePaul University (IL) – Hometown: Duluth, Minn.
  • Hearin Ko from Emerson College (MA) – Hometown: Shanghai, China
  • Tatenda Mbudzi from UCLA (CA) – Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe
  • AJ Young from Columbia College Chicago (IL) – Hometown: Mesa, Ariz.

The winners were individually notified by show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

“We created this contest when we came on board to produce this year’s Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron. “We felt that every person on the Oscar stage should have a passion for film and its future, and there is no better way to inspire young filmmakers than to make them part of film’s most important night.”

In addition to their appearance on the Oscar stage, the students will be treated to film industry experiences including a visit to The Academy Library to see its renowned memorabilia collections; studio tours; and a meet and greet with this year’s Academy Award Nominees in the Short Film category.

    Maxwell Morgan

      Written by Maxwell Morgan

      Maxwell was a Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.

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