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Westminster graduate wins prestigious ‘Sound Oscar’

Television, Film and Moving Image 27 April 2017

Zoltan Juhasz receives award for Fishwitch

Zoltan Juhasz, a Film and Television Production graduate (now Film BA Honours) from the University of Westminster, has won the prestigious Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, often called the ‘Sound Oscar’, with his animated short film FishWitch.

Zoltan was the supervising sound editor, foley artist and sound designer for the stop motion fairy tale in which an aquatic creature tries to win the heart of a sea-witch.

Speaking about the challenges he faced in the making of Fishwitch, Zoltan said: “There were many sounds that were not straightforward in how they should sound - we had to imagine and create them. We needed to make up things like the sound of magic and a fish singing underwater.”

He added: “I think our film won because we paid meticulous attention to all the little details and we were very precise. We also focused on storytelling, trying to trigger people’s emotions.”

The Motion Picture Sound Editors, founded in 1953, are the most highly regarded society in the profession. Their Motion Picture Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Award is the second biggest accolade after the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.

Frame from the short film Fishwitch
Frame from the film Fishwitch

Zoltan won the Verna Fields Award for Student Film Makers. At the awards ceremony in Los Angeles, he brushed shoulders with the makers of La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Deepwater Horizon, Westworld, Game of Thrones and Arrival, to name but a few. Zoltan was presented his award by sound editor Liam Price, who won a Motion Pictures Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Award for Hacksaw Ridge, and also received an Ethel Crutcher Scholarship worth $1,500. Zoltan’s film was screened on awards night providing an exceptional opportunity to showcase his talent.

After graduating from Westminster, Zoltan landed a place on the National Film and Television Film School’s (NFTS) Sound Design for Film and Television postgraduate course and made FishWitch as his graduation film.

Zoltan says that he discovered his passion for sound editing and sound design during his time at Westminster. He said: “When I started university I thought that I wanted to be a film director. But then at Westminster I tried my hand at a whole range of things.

“I made a documentary in my first year and I made the sound for the film and that is how I found out that I like doing it and I am also good at it. From then on I was the ‘sound guy’ in our year. I had something to do with the sound of pretty much all the films made by my classmates and I spent the rest of my degree sound editing. By the time I got to my final year, when I was working on my graduation film it was obvious that I would be a sound editor. During my time at Westminster I got the chance to work on so many projects which all helped me to get accepted by NFTS.”

Watch the trailer of FishWitch.

Learn more about the Film BA Honours course at the University of Westminster.

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