David Frias


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ACE Awards Winners Show off their Skills  

Wednesday, June 7, 2006; Last Updated: 11:41 PM EDT (23:41 GMT)

Keith Fleetwood and David Frias win the 2006 Ace Award for New Business

Photo by Film student Robin Mallard, winner of the Best Photo award.
ACE Awards recognizes the best artistic works of students.
There was original music. There was an inspirational poetry reading. And there was Hunter in various exotic headdresses and costumes. The 1st annual ACE Awards, hosted by the unrelentingly silly RA Course Director Hunter Menning and his sophisticated cohort and Student Advisor Natasha Henry, was a success, judging by the interest and number of entries (45) the event attracted.

The awards, created to recognize excellence in student work, attracted an eclectic mix of media entries – which was precisely the point. The event was designed to give students the opportunity to show off their talents in all the diverse fields of study here at Full Sail.

“We opened it to the entire school,” said Student Advisor Liane Pardo, the lead coordinator for the event.

“Regardless of program, you could submit for all the categories that were put out there.”

In the end, there were five Ace Award categories, which recognized one winner each for Best New Business Idea Pitch, Best 2D Animation, Best Lyrics/Poetry, Best Photo and
Best Original Music.


"[Because] of the quality of the work, it was really difficult to pinpoint the nominees, not to mention the winners."

Liane Pardo, Student Advisor


Discussion   Full Sail Masterpieces


Best New Business Idea Pitch
In the category of Best New Business Idea Pitch, the winner was Dream Tree Media, a video company seeking to specialize in commercials, weddings, and corporate training videos. The company was founded this year by Keith Fleetwood (a Film grad) and David Frias (who completed Film and will graduate from EBBS this month).

Already the company has a preliminary agreement with a state government agency to shoot a corporate training video. Fleetwood and Frias also regularly film concert events for the Hard Rock Live. Both previously worked on film projects, and on television, including The Pax Network, Spike TV, PBS, and the television show “Extreme Neighborhood Makeover” in 2005.

To win the award, the group had to present their business plan to the judges, EBBS Course Directors Laresa Tapia, Ron Cook and Jerry Waller.

“David is really concise with his business plan,” said Fleetwood. “He’s very thorough and he’s a very good presenter. He has a very good presentation style. So I think that made a difference. We really covered all the bases.”

Award receivers were all given a plaque with their name and the category for which they were awarded. While some awards were presented on the basis of aesthetics and subjective interpretation, the judges also included many measurable criteria.


Frias is the founder and CEO of Dream Tree Media. He has won several business awards in his hometown of New York, and he has produced several independent films. He is also credited for his camera work, and is listed on the Internet Movie Database (David Frias) site.

Fleetwood is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he studied theatre and biology. He has directed several stage plays and independent films. He's also toured with several bands, playing guitar, drums and keyboards, and has had several of his songs on regional radio stations, and on national TV, including "Rock Soup" and CBS-TV's "Late Night with David Letterman". He composes music for his films.

Best 2D Animation

In the category of Best 2D Animation, the winner was Digital Arts & Design student Tyler Gaw, who won for his skateboarding animated short, “Skate City.”

Gaw said the animation was his interpretation of how skateboarders interact with city buildings and architecture (such as railings) to do tricks. Gaw, a skater for more than 10 years, originally created the piece for his History of Visual Communications class.

Gaw used Adobe After Effects and worked on the piece for about three weeks. “This is the first [animated piece] that I’ve done of this particular kind that uses rotoscoping for the tricks. It’s a frame by frame animation,” said Gaw. “It takes about three hours to do one second of rotoscoping, [and] there are four or five tricks in it. It was time-consuming!” Gaw admitted.

Click here to watch Tyler's winning 2D animation.

Best Lyrics/Poetry

RA grad and EBBS student Alfredo Molina won in the category of Best Lyrics/Poetry for his spoken word poem, “And the Sun Sets on… Babylon.”

Molina, who was born in New York and also lived in Puerto Rico, said he has always been into poetry. In December, Molina participated in an international slam competition at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City, and placed in the quarter-finals for New York. However, he couldn’t complete the competition because he had to get back to school.

About his winning poem, Molina said, “It was about being in New York and seeing how everything was in New York, and just that environment. Babylon was an ancient city that was very corrupt but had a beauty also. So that’s kind of what I see in New York, and that’s why I say, “We 'need a road to Zion' because Zion is that mythical [heavenly] place.” Molina hopes to combine recording arts with poetry.

Best Photo

The winner in the Best Photo category, Film student Robin Mallard, is a self-professed picture junkie. Her winning entry, taken with a Pentax manual SLR camera, was an abstract picture of her friend’s hand on the ledge of a pool.

“The color in it is so amazing. I just loved it. I was so surprised at how well it turned out,” said Mallard, who also really likes shooting landscapes and people.

“When I was younger, I took a lot of pictures at parties and occasions. I was big into the candid pictures,” said Mallard. The Film student, who has about 82 disks worth of pictures, said her goal is to specialize in cinematography on films.

Best Original Music

Rounding out the event, Recording Arts student William Callahan won for Best Original Music for his piece “Out Spoken,” (download above). Callahan was not available for comment.

Pardo said the ACE awards was a collaborative effort between the Events Committee and the Student Advisors. “We try to come up with events that are new, different, exciting and showcase the students’ talent, so we decided to do kind of a Grammys/Oscars-ish event for them.”

She added, “All the judges [said] that they were very impressed,” said Pardo “[Because] of the quality of the work, it was really difficult to pinpoint the nominees, not to mention the winners.”

The ACE Awards judges were: Steve Kane, Keith Lay, Laresa Tapia, Ron Cook, Jerry Waller, Steve VanZandt, Eric Rosenfeld, Jon Craig and Grover Austin.

By Christine Baker




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