6 EMST students, recent grads take home 2023 BEA Awards

6 EMST students, recent grads take home 2023 BEA Awards

May 04, 2023
Jackson SchroederJackson.Schroeder@uga.edu

Work created by students in Grady College’s Department of Entertainment and Media Studies (EMST) earned high recognition at the 2023 Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Festival of Media Arts competition.

Syd Cohen (AB ‘22), a recent EMST graduate originally from Atlanta, earned an Award of Excellence in the Original Television Series Pilot Category for “Pat The Missile.” Likewise, Shiyan Dowling (AB ‘22), a recent EMST graduate originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Abbe Piccolo (AB ‘22), a recent EMST graduate originally from Decatur, Georgia, also won an Award of Excellence in the Original Television Series Pilot category for “Cinema 13.” 

Hyde Healy, a current EMST student from Covington, Louisiana, and Cam Kreitner, a current EMST student from Alpharetta, Georgia, earned third place in the Original Television Series Pilot category for “The Winner’s Circle.” And Meli Nunyakpe, a current EMST student from Conyers, Georgia, won third place in the Narrative Feature category for “Put on a Happy Face.”

Much of this award-winning work was created in a Writing for Television course taught by Matthew Nolte Evans, an assistant professor in the EMST Department. Many of the student and recent alumni award winners credited him for helping develop and improve their projects.

“Professor Matthew Evans (Fellow BEA Winner) gave extensive notes in the Writing For Television class that helped move the pilot along and challenged us to strive for a pilot we were proud of and wanted to share around,” said Kreitner.

“He guided me as I brainstormed my idea, provided ample notes and encouraged me to submit to festivals and fellowships with my newly finished sample,” added Cohen about Professor Evans. “I can officially say I learned from the best!” 

Each year, this competitive challenge receives more than 1,500 submissions from students and faculty from around the world. The BEA, a nonprofit organization, focuses on driving insights in media production and career advancement for educators, students and professionals around the globe.

Cohen’s “Pat The Missile”

After a fall from grace in which she is accused of killing President Reagan’s dog, Cohen’s “Pat The Missile” follows Dr. Elena Cohn, a foreign policy advisor, as she struggles with her career, relationships and herself. While navigating her first day in the chauvinist environment of the Department of Defense’s Nuclear Deterrence Agency, the agency receives its biggest wake-up call in years: confirmation from various global intelligence agencies that the Vatican has acquired nuclear weapons. 

“I am beyond excited to have received this award for my first ever pilot,” said Cohen “I feel so honored to be awarded in the same category as some of my closest collaborators and friends. Hopefully this isn’t the last award I win, but I am so grateful that it is the first!”

Dowling and Piccolo’s “Cinema 13”

Dowling and Piccolo’s “Cinema 13” is a workplace comedy that follows Willow Anderson, an anxious over-achiever who left behind her small town for the Ivy Leagues. But when Willow has to return to her old minimum wage movie theater job after dropping out, she has to re-navigate quirky co-workers, corporate policies and customer catastrophe. Will she be able to figure out her future before the building implodes? 

“The initial idea came from our experience in the service industry as teenagers,” said Dowling. “I worked in a movie theater for a few years and Abbe had a variety of customer-facing minimum-wage jobs under her belt. We shared some of the more ridiculous moments with each other and decided that our experiences would make for a fun show!”

“It was nice to see all of that hard work pay off,” added Piccolo. “It was also nice to see a lot of familiar names on the winner’s list.” 

Healy and Kreitner’s “The Winner’s Circle”

Healy and Kreiner’s “The Winner’s Circle” is an irreverent half-hour college comedy about Sam Walters, a sports-obsessed, intelligent but reckless college student, who, after being stripped of his position as University mascot and the full-ride that came with it, must resort to starting a sportsbook to pay his tuition.

“Cam and I worked very hard on this script and put a lot of hours in, so it’s a wonderful feeling to see our efforts rewarded in this tangible way,” said Healy. “BEA is a great organization, and the festival always has a ton of impressive entries. It’s an honor to be recognized amongst such a pool of talent.” 

Nunyakpe’s “Put on a Happy Face”

Nunyakpe’s “Put on a Happy Face” tells the story of a teenager who, after tragically losing her father, opts to ignore her grief and instead fakes being happy to appease everyone, including herself. 

“I was very inspired by the grief and emotions I felt after the loss of my father and brother,” said Nunyakpe. “I wanted to write about a teenager experiencing those feelings while also trying to reject them as I haven’t really seen that before in film.”

“I feel very honored and excited about being accepted to the BEA Festival of Media Arts as it’s my first time entering the festival,” she added. “I encourage any budding writers to submit their work to the festival.”