Several UNI Digital Media students were winners of two competitive and prestigious film competitions this year. Between the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Upper Midwest Emmy Foundation and the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival, more than 20 students have been recognized for outstanding work in recent projects.
The Upper Midwest Emmy Foundation is a division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science. The Upper Midwest Chapter aims to award scholarships to media production students from Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, and parts of Wisconsin. The foundation is dedicated to supporting students and fostering excellence in video and television “by honoring exceptional work,” according to their website.
To be a nominee or recipient of a student production award is a great honour. Fortunately for UNI, five students have been recognized for exemplary work produced in the Advanced Digital Media Production course taught by Dr Francesca Soans. The recipients and nominees for the student production awards and their corresponding films are as follows:
With the production of “Training Iowa’s Future Farmers”, Estefania Ravasio and Taylor Palmer were honorees.
Jacob Ruth and Megan Studer, with the production of “Finding Community Through Art”, received an award.
David Hindman, a digital media student, was the recipient of the College AV All-Star award.
The productions “Our COVID-19 World”, a 30-minute magazine-style show, and “COVID-19 Comedy Show”, a 30-minute parody of a magazine-style show, were nominated. Although not awarded, these prestigious nominations are a great honor for the many UNI students who contributed to both productions.
They are: Jake Darling, Spencer Feinberg, Josh Michael, Cameron Wolff, Brock Guerrero, Kavieon Hughes, Brandon Haraldson, Megan Studer, Taylor Palmer, Jacob Ruth, Aaron True and Logan Tobler.
Beyond the Upper Midwest Emmy Foundation, various digital media students have been recognized for their work at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival. Founded in 2001, it’s an outlet for Iowa’s top filmmakers at the student, Pro-Am, and professional levels to showcase their work to audiences.
Two UNI students were recipients of the festival’s Eddy Awards. The Eddy Awards, as presented on the festival website, are:
“(The term Eddy) is defined as ‘a current going against the direction of the mainstream’, which is an apt description for independent filmmakers, who often go against the grain of current trends in mainstream cinema. .”
Held over Easter weekend, Tarrell Christie, a graduate of the Class of 2019, received the Student Long Form Gold Eddy Award for his direction in the film “Flava.”
Jenna Wilson received the Student Freestyle Silver Eddy for her music video titled “Ticks”.
Some nominees and finalists have waited years to be recognized as previous festivals have been postponed due to COVID-19. Jenna Wilson, Senior Digital Production Major and Silver Eddy recipient, explains the delay between submitting her work and being awarded.
“This project was originally my final project for Digital Media Production 1 with Professor Soans in the fall of 2019. I submitted it to this festival in early 2020. I was then selected as a finalist, but with the pandemic , things got pushed back, and the festival didn’t happen until this year,” she said.
Five other current and recent UNI graduates have been selected as finalists. Jacob Ruth and Kaylee Daniels for their direction, production and editing of “Finding a Forever Home”. Writer and director Kazek Israni-Winger created “The List of Ideas (To Get My Purse Back)”. Jasmine Aquino for directing “This Is For Her”. Finally, director Quinn Raunecker for “Weeds in the Garder”
Many of these projects and films are available on Youtube for public viewing. Or at the request of the students. These students have put in an immense amount of work to be recognized statewide and regionally. All are encouraged to view these award-winning plays. Wilson explains why supporting and appreciating student work is essential.
“It really feels good when something you put in the time and effort to create is shared and rewarded. I feel a sense of validation in what I do. This recognition will inspire me to keep working hard and achieving more. new goals,” Wilson said.