Alumnus wins Oscar at Academy Awards

Henry Tantum

Redwood alumnus Marc Sondheimer won an Oscar at the Academy Awards ceremony for his role as the producer of the short film “Piper” on Sunday.

The film was chosen out of five nominated films in the “Animated Short Film” category. Sondheimer’s award was one of 24 given out during the awards ceremony.

Sondheimer said that the film’s director, Alan Barillaro, started working on the project over three years ago. Initially, the film served as a test for Pixar’s software development group, but it soon transitioned into an actual short film.

According to Sondheimer, winning the award was exhilarating, but also nerve-wracking.

“It’s an amazing experience to win an Oscar,” he said. “You appreciate the difficulty of actually winning one. The history and legacy is overwhelming and thrilling.”

Marc Sondheimer, right, won an academy award for the short film
Marc Sondheimer, right, won an academy award for the short film “Piper”

After winning, Sondheimer said that he reflected on the people who had influenced him most in his life, many of whom were Redwood teachers and students.

According to Sondheimer, his time at Redwood helped him to achieve his success, including teaching him leadership skills and building his confidence.

“There were great teachers and inspiring people at Redwood that made me who I am,” he said.

Sondheimer said that when he attended Redwood, there were no film or animation classes. However, he participated in drama, which he studied at UC Berkeley after he graduated.

Later, Sondheimer got hired by Pixar to do finance and production strategy for their films. But, he always knew he wanted to move into the production side of film.

“I didn’t have the stomach to become an actor, so I thought the managing and producing side would be better,” Sondheimer said.

During the making of the Pixar film “Wall-e,” Sondheimer’s request to transition from finance to production was granted, and he made his way to becoming a full-time producer.

Now, Sondheimer works with the film directors to get their story into the film in an entertaining manner.

“The director has an idea and you work with them to get that vision on the screen and make it creatively entertaining,” Sondheimer said.