University of Hertfordshire graduate wins prestigious student Oscar

By Zoe Fripp

University of Hertfordshire graduate Mart Bira was presented with a Gold Medal Student Academy Award by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on 11 October at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. This makes her eligible to compete for this year’s Oscars in the Documentary Short Subject category.

Mart, who graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a Masters in Film and TV Production last year, won the Documentary (International Film Schools) category with her entry, Nomadic Doctor, beating all film schools from outside the United States. The documentary follows a doctor who travels long, isolated distances, up to 100km in a single day, often in harsh weather conditions. She travels day or night, by horse, camel or car to provide medical care to nomadic families in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Although officially a paediatrician, she now covers every aspect of medical practice, including gynaecology, surgery and dentistry.

When asked about her success and how she came up with her ideas, Mart said: “It wasn’t easy to find a topic for my MA final major project and I had so many ideas in my head. I am originally from Mongolia and always wanted to introduce my culture to the world. My sister was a doctor there and she told me about the long-distance travels and frequent walks or rides in the dark that she undertook to reach patients. Through my discussions with her, I began to formulate the idea of Nomadic Doctor.

“My film has been so well received and I am delighted to win a Student Academy Award. It will also be an honour to be considered for The Academy Awards along with so many other amazing film-makers.”

The Student Academy Awards provides a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work. This year’s winners were chosen from 1,582 entries. Past recipients of the annual honours include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter and Trey Parker, and winners have gone on to receive 59 Oscar nominations and won or shared 11 awards.

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