Prior to the Academy Award win, Sing had already earned recognition across the globe, winning Best Short Film at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, Short Shorts 2016 Tokyo, Olympia Film Festival Greece and People's Choice Award - TIFF Kids 2016 Toronto.
The 25-minute short film was in competition with four other short films including Ennemis Intérieurs directed by Sélim Azzazi, La Femme et le TGV by Timo Von Gunten, Silent nights by Aske Bang, and Timecode by Juanjo Gimenez.
When accepting his prize on stage, Deák thanked his family, cast, crew as well as teachers and highlighted the importance of education. “I am dedicating this award to all those people who can make this world a better place, namely to children. Let’s try to bring them up well so that we can be proud of them,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Education also appeared as a significant theme in his short film Sing as the story follows an award-winning school choir, their teacher and a new girl in the class whose arrival starts a series of events that might expose the dark truth behind their fame.
After being nominated for the Academy Award, the now Oscar-winning Westminster alumnus said: “My time as a student on the Directing Film and TV MA course and then as a teaching assistant at the University of Westminster gave me so much. One of the best days of my life was our final project screening which we held with full house in the University’s Regent Street Cinema which has since undergone a historic refurbishment project.”
Peter Hort, Course Director of the Film BA Honours course at the University of Westminster, expressed his pride in regards to his former student’s achievement. “I’m really proud of what Kristof has achieved, and it’s amazing that this is the second year in a row that a Westminster film alumnus has won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short. Kristof’s transition from editor to director is exactly the kind of thing that our postgraduate film production programme was designed to enable.”
The film Stutterer produced by Westminster film graduate Shan Christopher Ogilvie also won the Short Film award in 2016.