Radio-TV-Film Alumna Wins Student Academy Award

Radio-TV-Film alumna Ruth Fertig (Master of Fine Arts '09) has won a student Academy Award for her documentary film "Yizkor."

"Yizkor," which means Remembrance in Hebrew, is the story of a woman's struggle to keep herself and her children alive in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. The story, based on Fertig's grandmother's experience during the Holocaust, was her master's thesis film at The University of Texas at Austin.

"My grandparents survived the Holocaust but they never talked about it. Years after both their deaths, I discovered a memoir my grandmother had written in the last years of her life, and I finally learned their story," said Fertig. "'Yizkor' uses my grandmother's own words, along with animation, archival material and present-day Super 8 footage, to tell that story, one of survival and resilience in the face of crushing loss."

Fertig's first documentary, "The Cockroach Project," was completed while enrolled in the Department of Radio-TV-Film and was one of the first four films to broadcast on the Documentary ChannelĀ® through a partnership with The University of Texas at Austin Documentary Center.

Her work has screened internationally, including in the London International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the Texas Documentary Tour and Frameline's San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Her previous film, "Two Spirits," aired on PBS stations and Free Speech TV. Her first film, "The Cockroach Project," premiered on the Documentary Channel this year.

Fertig's honors include awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, University Film and Video Association, the Texas Cable and Telecommunications Association and the Lone Star Emmy Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Arch Campbell Award for Creative Vision, a scholarship from the University of Texas Documentary Center, partially funded "Yizkor."

She will be honored June 12 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 37th annual Student Academy Awards competition in Los Angeles.

Fertig is the third Department of Radio-Television-Film alumnus to win a Student Academy Award since 2002.