“The evening before the awards ceremony, all the students and teachers meet in a pub near the hotel to have a drink and a bite to eat. This year we went to a nice little pub just one kilometre from the hotel in Seville, Spain.

For me, interacting with the young designers and filmmakers is one of the most exciting parts of the awards. It’s a bit like going on a blind date. Exciting all the way.

Most of the students I will meet for the first time. Now I can put a face to the names I’ve read in the Awards entries.

Now I can see who is behind Sandkit, Tapout and Pop Cap.  Now I can recognise the voice of “The Pros of Carton” and “Metamorphosis”.  In most cases, the face behind the voice looks different than I thought.  Exciting.  Every year again.

Students will share their story of the piece they worked on, they’ll share their excitement about being in the finalist round. We discuss questions about what they can expect from the big night, which is only 24 hours away.

We have designed the invitations so that there will be a final winner and runner-up for the different categories. So it will remain exciting until the winners are announced.

I’m reminded of my time as a student coming into contact with “the industry” for the first time. There is a certain amount of nervousness and the whole spectrum of shyness and demonstrative self-confidence. Living diversity, that’s what I feel throughout the evening. Students from all over Europe were also represented again this year: Germany, Norway, Austria, Uk, Spain different perspectives, different backgrounds.

We usually end up in the hotel bar late in the evening to dispel the uncertainty of the next day.

In most cases, the face behind the voice looks different than I thought.  Exciting.  Every year again.

The night of the award ceremony is a different story. The students and teachers arrive at the venue. Perfectly dressed for success. They are proud that they have finally arrived in the evening, ready to celebrate, but also a little worried because they know that not all of them will end up in the top places.

We announce the winners of the different categories. We choose the pieces of music which will carry the winners on stage.  They will forget the music, they will remember the endless 20 metres it took them to get on stage and enter the spotlight. There is a moment of relief and true happiness when they receive their trophies and certificates.

The runners-up are very disappointed, but some have a real fighting spirit and will try again next year. In the end, everyone is a winner at the awards ceremony. We eat and drink, take photos and, of course, conduct interviews in the Champions Corner.

The day after, back at the congress hotel, we brought the students together with converts from their respective home countries for the first time this year. They presented their projects to leading representatives of our industry. This was the first organised effort on our part. We will continue to improve this process. This is the ultimate learning experience.

And now I’ll let you in on a secret. Later this week, one of the students will be attending a presentation we are giving at a trade show. In his briefcase he will have a newly written CV that we have been developing over the past few weeks. He will be sharing it with some of our members at the show. An important part of his CV will be his winning entry for the PCYDA.

This is what we want to achieve with the Student Awards: a platform for meetings and interactions between the students and our industry. In this way, we want to take the Student Awards to the next level – a hands-on learning experience and a forum to get to know each other. This is likely the greatest value we can offer.

Many thanks to the dedicated and professional students and many thanks to the teachers and professors for their guidance and leadership. Living excellence.

The Pro Carton Student Awards for 2024 are now open for entries: