BRIDGEWATER, NJ - School of Visual Arts (SVA) thesis student Jared Simon, of Bridgewater, is going to be part of the school's 26th Dusty Film & Animation Festival May 9 through May 12 in New York City.

"A description of the film I edited Citta ' dei Sogni is it's a film is set in Puglia, Italy, where two brothers run away from an unloving home in search of their aunt," Simon said. "However Puglia, their 'city of dreams,' isn't what is seems."

Reeves Lehmann, chair of the BFA Film & Video and BFA Animation programs at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), announced that the four-day event will showcase more than 100 films and animations from students graduating this spring. Annie Flocco, independent producer/filmmaker and SVA faculty member, will produce the event.

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According to Flocco, this years headlining sponsors are AbelCine, Adorama Rental Company, Animation Magazine, B&H Photo, Bryan Singer, Carlos Saldanha/BottleCap Productions, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Feature Systems/Kits and Expendables, Foto Care, Gotham Sound, IFP, New York Women in Film & Television, Nice Shoes, Nickelodeon, Rota6, SCS Agency, SVA Campus Store, Technicolor PostWorks New York and Toon Boom Animation. One hundred percent of the sponsor donations will benefit future students in the form of grants and in-kind gifts.

The 2015 Dusty Festival kicks off with three days of film and animation screenings, and concludes with an awards ceremony on May 12. Fifteen awards - including Outstanding Film and Achievement in Directing, Outstanding Documentary, Outstanding Animated Film and the New York Women in Film & Television Award - are given to students in recognition for outstanding thesis work.

All festival screenings are free and open to the general public and take place at the state-of-the-art SVA Theatre, located at 333 West 23rd Street, NYC. The final list of presenters and special guests will be made public at a later date.

"We are thrilled the Dusty Film & Animation Festival is celebrating its 26th year," Lehmann said. "We invite everyone to come and discover the next generation of great filmmakers and animators, who we know will entertain and educate audiences near and far."

This year, SVA will present Dusty Outstanding Alumni Awards to producer/director Daniel Minahan (Game of Thrones, True Blood, Marco Polo) and animator Alex Kupershmidt (The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, Frozen). The awards will be handed out at the Dusty Awards May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the SVA Theatre.

The Dusty Film & Animation Festival was established with the mission of introducing films made by students in the BFA Film & Video and BFA Animation programs to a wider audience, and was named after SVA Founder Silas Dusty H. Rhodes. Filmmakers who got their start at SVA include alumnus and Academy Award nominee Jeremy Dawson (MFA 1993 Photography, Video and Related Media), who produced the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel; past BFA Film & Video student Morten Tyldum, Academy Award nominee for Best Director for The Imitation Game; and, Academy Award nominee Daisuke Dice Tsutsami (BFA 1998 Illustration), who co-directed The Dam Keeper. BFA Film & Video and BFA Animation alumni have received accolades from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Sundance Film Festival; New Directors/New Films; International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France; American Film Institute; Women in Film; and the National Board of Review, among many renowned institutions and organizations.

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