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Taylor University Receives Eight Student Production Awards from Regional Emmy Organization, Six Telly Awards

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students working on a film in a coffee shop

Student filmmakers at Taylor University won eight Student Production Awards from the regional Emmy organization as well as six Telly awards. This brings the total number of external recognitions for the Film & Media Arts program to 850.

The National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), Central Great Lakes Chapter, recognizes student work from across Indiana and Ohio. Taylor received fifteen nominations in April and won the following eight Student Production Awards from the regional Emmy organization, recognizing the best in television programming.

In the Fiction Short-form category, the winner was “Aisle 5,” from Professor John Bruner’s Directing & Cinematography class. The story features a marriage proposal in a grocery store that doesn’t go according to plan. In the Fiction Long-form category, Taylor project “Dream Soda” was the winner. The film, made by a team of seniors in Bruner’s 2022 Narrative Filmmaking class, is a high school comedy about a boy with an overactive imagination and a big crush. “Both of these projects were ambitious to make and ultimately very entertaining for audiences,” Bruner said. “We’re so glad that the judges also enjoyed them!”

Winning in the Non-Fiction Short-Form category was the documentary “Laurie,” featuring an artist/illustrator from Muncie, Indiana. Its director Naomi Yoder said she was honored that “many people have been touched by Laurie’s message of the healing nature of art.” In the Non-fiction – Long-form category, the judges named “Justice for Batman: the Mark Racop Case” the winner. The documentary about an Indiana man who makes licensed Batmobiles was directed by Aidan Merck ’24. Merck said, “I am extremely grateful for this recognition. My team and I put a lot of hard work into its production, so I’m thrilled that this story is resonating with others.” Professor Kathy Bruner was especially happy that both of these projects from her 2022 Documentary class were winners. “Telling the stories of largely unsung heroes has been so gratifying,” Bruner said, “and it’s a joy for me to work with such talented students.”

In the College Music Video category, Taylor project “Thinkin’ Bout You” was named the winner. “Music video was a new assignment option in the 2022 Directing and Cinematography class,” said John Bruner, Professor of Film & Media, “and it is exciting to see two music video nominations and one win in our first year entering this category.”

The regional Emmy organization also nominated individuals in “craft categories,” recognizing the achievements of individuals. In the Editing craft category, the winner was Sam McFarland, ’22 for his work on the fiction romantic comedy “Dream Soda.” When McFarland heard the news, he said, “I’m beyond grateful to receive this recognition for my editing.” In the Photography craft category, which recognizes outstanding camera work, Ben Tiede was the winner for his work on “Justice for Batman: The Mark Racop Case.” Tiede’s teammate Aidan Merck received a Student Production Award for his Directing on that same project. Productions were judged by panels of professionals working in television and video production and tallied on a point system.

In addition to these awards, six projects were recognized with Telly awards, one of the best known industry awards for non broadcast media. These awards include:

  • “Lizzi: Deeper than Water” - Silver Telly Winner
  • “Dream Soda” - Silver Telly Winner
  • “Paper Chasers” - Bronze Telly Winner
  • “Tango Para La Vida” - Bronze Telly Winner
  • “Dome Tribute” - Bronze Telly Winner
  • “Near Space Education” - Bronze Telly Winner

Taylor’s Film & Media Arts program prepares future storytellers for work in film, television and video production. The program gives students hands-on filmmaking experiences using state-of-the-art technology and provides opportunities for student projects to be recognized at regional and national levels.