J-school students rise to the top for documentary films

Three short documentary films by University of Oregon journalism students were recently recognized at the regional equivalent of the Emmy awards, the School of Journalism and Communication announced.

The films were recognized at the 2013 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences-Northwest Chapter Awards. Students produced the films for professor Dan Miller’s documentary filmmaking class during the 2012 fall term.  

The regional Emmy awards recognize outstanding film and television work from students throughout the northwest. Student productions from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington were nominated.

Two SOJC-produced films were nominated in the Long Form Non-Fiction category. The first, entitled “Walking Tributaries,” tells the story of how Eugene community members rallied around the cause of preserving the McKenzie River by forming the McKenzie River Trust. The other, “Gymnasium of the Mind,” examines the popularity of chess in Oregon from the perspective of coaches, players and educators.

“Gymnasium of the Mind” was produced and directed by John Hankemeier and written and co-produced by Bonnie Harris; Evangeline Laroque served as gaffer.

“Walking Tributaries” was produced by Leilani Rapaport and written by Jasmine Vasquez; Dillon Pilorget served as director of photography.

“Being able to spend ten weeks on one project and become wholly connected to it and the people you are working with is a hugely gratifying experience,” Pilorget said. “Receiving a regional collegiate Emmy nomination on top of that just made the whole experience even sweeter.”

The third production, “We Refuse To Be Enemies,” brought home an Emmy in the Arts and Entertainment/Cultural Affairs category. The film details the life of Ibrahim Hamide, a Palestinian-born activist who has dedicated his life to educating Eugene residents on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and fostering peace among people of different backgrounds.

Brandy Dominguez served as videographer and lighting coordinator; Summer Luu, as co-director/editor; Colette Levesque, as editor; and David Zupan, producer/co-director.

Miller is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who founded and currently directs the Oregon Documentary Project, which has supported the production of more than 60 award-winning student documentary films.

- from a story by Austin Lacter, PR, '14, UO School of Journalism and Communication