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October 17, 2019
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The Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) awarded a team of CCM Electronic Media and Acting students the 2018 Regional Student Production Award for Best Long Form – Fiction for a film they created in class. The students competed in the College/University category, which includes Ohio University, Xavier University, Asbury University and other schools in the Ohio Valley area.
Integration Episode 1: The Update is a science-fiction drama that was created in the Spring 2018 Capstone Film course (EMED 4003), taught by Electronic Media Division Head Kevin Burke. The professor is no stranger to having his students’ work honored at prestigious events and film festivals.
“Projects produced in the class have won multiple Student Emmy Awards at both the regional and national levels, have been entered and won awards in a number of film festivals and have won in a variety of student production competitions,” Burke says.
Integration Episode 1: The Update is set in a future where computers are even more ubiquitous than they are today. A charismatic but less-than-ethical CEO instructs one of his employees, an unsuspecting computer programmer, to create a dramatic software update to one of the company’s programs. The 22-minute film follows the consequences of this update. Watch a trailer for the film online.
Nine E-Media students and four Acting students participated in creating the film, with assistance from Burke and CCM Acting professor Bob Pavlovich. The E-Media students are Matthew Harris, Austin Baker, Javert Valbarr, Nile Ross-Watson, Jared Bailey, Connor Smith, Caleb Smiley, Jamila Flowers and Jesse Circelli. The Acting students in the film are Isaac Hickox-Young, Sarah Durham, Landon Hawkins and Briley Oakley.
“I think Matt Harris did a great job writing, directing and editing the film. Austin Baker’s cinematography, Caleb Smiley’s lighting, the sound design by Connor Smith and visual effects by Javert Albarr all helped the film receive recognition by the Student Emmy Awards,” Burke says.
However, Burke is quick to point out that this film involved the work of both E-Media and Acting students. He refers to the project as a “CCM Collaborative Film.”
“I believe the outstanding performances by the CCM Acting students really set the film apart from the other entries,” Burke adds. “The talent, range and discipline of these students allow the audience to suspend their disbelief, care about the fictional characters and buy into the premise of the film.”
Producer Nile Ross-Watson fondly remembers the moment that he and fellow students decided to work on a science-fiction film, a challenging genre that he thinks no other E-Media students have attempted before for their final projects.
“I remember sitting with Matthew and Austin, thinking of what we were going to do for our final project,” he shares. “After some time, we came up with the idea of a Sci-Fi project! We were instantly bouncing ideas back and forth. One of the big ideas that we knew we wanted to do was have a color scheme throughout the project. Matthew looks at me and says, ‘What’s a good color that says futuristic?’ I instantly said, ‘Teal.’ From there, we had a good idea of what our project was going to look like.”
The students approached this class project as they would approach any professional project, says Ross-Watson. They spent many days studying all aspects of the film until they were satisfied with the final product. CCM’s E-Media program emphasizes hands-on learning so students will have plenty of experience and preparation for their future careers. Alumni from CCM E-Media have recently been recognized at the Academy Awards, the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the Grammy Awards.
The Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was established in 1962. It is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. The Chapter presents the prestigious and coveted Emmy® Award to television professionals in thirteen markets in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, honors industry trailblazers with the Silver and Gold Circle and makes scholarships available to students at colleges and universities throughout the region.
Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle