EMST students win national recognition

The work of two students in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies has earned national recognition in the annual Festival of Media Arts conducted by the Broadcast Education Association.

Emma Murphy earned Second Place in the Original Television Series Pilot category for her script “Cloverleaf Mall.” Joe Lavine and Chris Carson (cinematography) earned an Award of Excellence in the Short Form Documentary category for their film “From the Shadows: The Struggle for El Pueblo.” Included on the crew was EMST student David Andriate (animation).

Students from 175 different colleges and universities throughout the country submitted 1,540 entries to the competition. The award was announced Feb. 6.

“I can’t say enough about these accomplishments,” said James Hamilton, professor and head of the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies. “Given what our students continue to achieve in these important competitions, we can claim to be among the best in the nation.”

Murphy’s winning entry “Cloverleaf Mall: Yesterday’s Mall of Tomorrow” tells the humorous story of a world left behind by the Internet Age, and a man who refuses to let it go. Herman Stetson is an optimist to a fault as well as the mall’s longtime manager. In the pilot script, Herman plans to bring holiday revenue peaks to July by introducing Summer Santa, a mall Santa for the warmer months. However, when Santa must resort to pitching the mall’s ticket items to children, cries of Corporate Santa turn the event into a media scandal. The script explores how Herman in his blissful ineptitude tries to navigate this PR disaster.

“I am so humbled to be recognized by the BEA Festival and Competition,” said Murphy.  

One of the most important lessons she plans to take with her post-graduation concerns the value of creative collaboration. She thanked EMST faculty Kate Fortmueller for her creative guidance, and also her writing group members in Fortmueller’s class, students Thomas Heiges and Marshall Moore.

Murphy’s script is noteworthy in great part due to “the eccentric and original characters,” said Fortmueller. “What made this script particularly memorable was Murphy’s wit, word-play, and attention to structure to maximize the humor,” she added.

Lavine’s entry, “From the Shadows: The Struggle for El Pueblo,” highlights the struggles of the undocumented community, while calling for an end to deportation and incarceration in the United States. Produced in collaboration with the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition, the film is rooted in Athens, Georgia, but is applicable anywhere where immigrant organizing takes place. By offering a first-hand account of efforts to challenge Georgia’s anti-immigrant legislation–including a ban of undocumented students from University System of Georgia schools– the documentary also addresses the problematic narratives surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

“When you put in months of work on a project that you doubted on many occasions that you could actually execute, [and] a project that means something to the community” said Lavine, “it’s definitely nice to get recognized on a national stage.”

Along with crediting his crew members Carson and Andriate and a past adjunct instructor Dale Wheatley, Lavine appreciated the “amazingly thorough, constructive feedback” from Booker T. Mattison and Taylor Miller. “I cannot express enough gratitude for these professors and their dedication to pushing students to be their best storytellers.”

After viewing a rough cut of Lavine’s short documentary, “it was abundantly clear that he had vision” said Mattison. “I was eager to help him sculpt and refine his very fine documentary,” he continued. “I look forward to seeing all that he will accomplish.”