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Lee-Haugen_editBig screen dreams led University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Lee Haugen ’04, of Valencia, Calif., to win the first-ever U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Excellence in Editing at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

He’ll pick up another honor at his alma mater during Homecoming 2015, when the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association presents him with a 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Haugen’s biggest project, Dope, is a coming-of-age story that has a twisting, punk-comedy-thriller feel to it that stands out among traditional romcom movies.

The story involves a teenager who is considered a “geek” and is trying to make it to Harvard from The Bottoms, a tough neighborhood in California. The main character begins to branch out when he is invited to an underground party that leads his group of friends on a winding adventure throughout L.A.

Dope was released in theaters June 19.

Haugen majored in radio-TV-film at UWO with a minor in business. After graduation, he worked at a film company in Wisconsin. When an opportunity arose, Haugen moved across the country to L.A.

Besides Dope, Haugen also has worked on editing for popular TV shows like Last Comic Standing Season 5, Cartoon Network’s Level Up and Californication on Showtime.

Scott Richter, a fellow editor for movies like Ella Enchanted and See No Evil, nominated Haugen for the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, saying Haugen has a talent for editing beyond his years and does well telling stories.

“Not only does he show a great talent to edit a project, but he has the ability to see it through in all areas of post-production work,” Richter said.

Haugen described driving to L.A. in 2006 for the first time with his wife to see the Sundance Festival, which he had followed for years. He said it was an incredible opportunity for his film to be honored by the festival nine years later.

UWO taught Haugen to perservere and keep learning new lessons. His UWO hero, Troy Perkins, former RTF professor, assigned a project that allowed Haugen to analyze footage and create scenes the way he saw fit.

“Perkins taught a post-production class that made me look at assembling a scene differently,” Haugen said. “The assignment really showed the power of reaction shots. I take that lesson with me when editing a film today. Always think outside the box.”

For more information about the alumni awards celebration on Oct. 16 during Homecoming 2015, please contact the UW Oshkosh Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or send an email to

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