Villanova students are finalists for award

VILLANOVA Two Villanova University social justice students and a Temple University graduate have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 41st Student Academy Awards.

Villanova is entered for its documentary Heel'd. The half-hour film focuses on Hand2Paw, an organization that connects homeless pets with homeless youths in Philadelphia. "This project means a lot to me personally because of the issues involved in this film," said Thomas Smith, who co-directed Heel'd with McKenna Hinkle.

Heel'd is one of 11 documentaries vying for the coveted award. In total, 41 students from 23 U.S. colleges as well as 10 students from foreign universities have been chosen as finalists. In the narrative category, "Sweepstakes," by Mark Tumas of Temple, is a finalist. The film is about a new mother who contemplates the life she could have had after her husband suffers a neurological complication.

Three winners - gold, silver and bronze - but not the order in each category will be announced this month. The awards ceremony will take place June 7 at the DGA Theater in Hollywood. - Mari A. Schaefer