April 5, 2019

Cash and Scholarships Awarded and Hollywood Legend Burt Reynolds Remembered

(West Palm Beach, FL – April 5, 2019) - The 24th Annual Palm Beaches Student Showcase of Films (SSOF) Red Carpet Award Show honored Florida film students and a true Hollywood legend in spectacular fashion! The SSOF, Florida’s largest student film competition and award show, recognized top high school and college students at a star-studded, red carpet celebration today at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.

Along with award-winning students, the life and legacy of Burt Reynolds, a longtime SSOF supporter, was celebrated at the gala event. Several Trans Ams and “Bandit” cars (similar to those made famous in Reynolds’ film, Smokey & The Bandit) were on display. Touching video testimonials; a beautiful sidewalk mural; tributes from his family and friends capped off the heartfelt celebration of the man who called Palm Beach County home and dedicated his life to helping students fulfill their dreams of a career in the entertainment industry.

Tributes to Mr. Reynolds and late County Commissioner Burt Aaronson warmly highlighted the contributions of these two dynamic supporters of the arts. Award presenters included music and TV star Vanilla Ice (Rob Van Winkle) who energetically presented the eponymous Music Video Award and posed for selfies; TV personality Montel Williams inspired the audience with words of wisdom; and actor/producer Chris Hayes, (Divergent) charmed all with his engaging presence. Frank Licari, star of the South Florida PBS series On the Town in The Palm Beaches and veteran SSOF host, captured the audience with a cleverly arranged performance set to the hit Queen song, Bohemian Rhapsody. The live, two-hour program was simultaneously broadcast on The Palm Beaches.TV by global media company, Olympusat, Inc.

Special guest presenters included Jemma Currie, teen star of the new series Little Wonders of The Palm Beaches, Broadway producer and documentary filmmaker Suzanne L. Niedland, international violin virtuoso Nick Kendall, Film Florida’s John Lux, Palm Beach Post pop culture columnist Leslie Gray Streeter, and more. 

Attendance reached an all-time high, with more than 800 people from around the state, packing the theater at Lynn University to enjoy the highly anticipated event. Students, family, faculty, film industry professionals, celebrities, elected officials and film enthusiasts cheered on the nominees. A new scholarship was introduced by Dr. Kevin Ross, President of Lynn University. The Donald E. Ross Education PSA category will be included in next year’s award competition.  Forty-five film industry professionals from around the world had the difficult challenge of selecting finalists from 279 eligible entries in 12 categories.  

The 2019 Student Showcase of Films Award Winners are:

Burt Reynolds Scholarship ($5,000)
Roberto Torres, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach

Film Florida’s Sara Fuller Scholarship ($500)
Joey Aliberto, G-Star School of the Arts, Palm Springs

College Feature/Short Awards:

  • 1st Place – Xiao Ma, Florida State University, Tallahassee ($1,500)
  • 2nd Place – Maxwell Price, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton ($1,000)
  • 3rd Place - Jake Hutchison, Florida State University, Tallahassee ($500)

High School Feature/Short Awards:

  • 1st Place - Isaiah Fernandez, Kris Marx and Rachel Cohen, West Broward High School, Pembroke Pines ($1,500)
  • 2nd Place - Amaya Cranston, Dixie M. Hollins High School, St. Petersburg ($1,000)
  • 3rd Place - Molly Smith, Allison Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Buzbee, Monteverde Academy, Monteverde/Orlando ($500)

Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary Award ($500)
Eli Dreyfuss, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

Vanilla Ice Music Video Award ($500)
Brunel Irene, Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Gardens

Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Inc. Environmental PSA Award ($1,000)
Julia Moran, Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Gardens

Nellie & Fred Chasin Screenwriting Award ($500)
Jason Dobuler, Jupiter High School, Jupiter

Mental Health Awareness PSA Award ($500)
Vincent Amadeus, G-Star School of the Arts, Palm Springs

Animation Award ($1,000)
Sagar Arun and Rachel Kral, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota

Commercial/PSA Award ($500)
Molly Smith, Allison Fitzgerald and Lilly Anderson, Monteverde Academy, Monteverde/Orlando

Poster Design Award ($500)
Matthew Ohnmeiss, Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Gardens

About The Palm Beaches Student Showcase of Films
The Palm Beaches Student Showcase of Films (SSOF) is Florida’s largest student film competition, presenting over $1.6 million in cash and scholarships during its history, to high school and college students enrolled in film, television, graphic design and digital media courses. The SSOF red carpet awards show attracts more than 750 students along with celebrity presenters, entertainment industry professionals, educators, state and county officials and others. Previous presenters include Burt Reynolds, Vanilla Ice, actress/comedian Cheri Oteri, Howie D. (Backstreet Boys), actor Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie), actor/director Bruce Campbell (Escape from LA), actor Clint Howard (The Waterboy), actress Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and more! The SSOF is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners through the Department of Housing & Economic Sustainability. Major sponsors include Lynn University, Olympusat Inc., and the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission. For more information, visit www.pbfilm.com/ssof.


Media Contact:
Enid Atwater
M:(561) 706-0191
O: (855) 525-2899


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