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Film and Media Arts: Awards and Achievements

Stage Fright has been chosen to premiere next Fall on NBC4's website. Directed by Claudia Myers, produced by Kylos Brannon, shot by Larry Engel, and written, edited and crewed by AU students, it tells the tale of a haunted D.C. community theater.

Award-Winning Work

Professors Claudia Myers and Kylos Brannon attended the LAWEBFEST with Stage Fright (the webseries they produced in conjunction with NBC4) and took home three awards - Outstanding Comedy Series, Director, and Theme Song.

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Thesis Film Wins Student Academy Award

Ellen Tripler’s thesis film, "Dying Green" Silver Student Academy Award. “Dying Green” also:

  • Won 3rd place in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences prestigious College Television Awards
  • Won an Accolade Award and was screened at the American Documentary Film Festival in CA
  • Won a CINE Golden Eagle award
  • Was selected for NATURAL HEROES Season 6, to appear on PBS affiliates late summer of 2013
  • Was selected by the faculty to be the film representing American University in the CILECT Student Film competition
  • Was selected for the American Conservation Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Greenville International Film festival
  • Was screened at the Myrtle Beach Film Festival
  • Assisting Ellen on the film were Stephen Tringali, Kevin Wells, and AU alums: Kelly Donnellen, Emily Gaines Bringham, and Doug Burnette.

"Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay" Sweeps Awards

Sarah Gulick and Helenah Svedberg’s film “Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay” produced with the assistance of students* in Sandy Cannon-Brown’s class was screened during Chesapeake Week on Maryland Public television. The film was also:

SOC Sarah Gulick
  • Won a CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Won 3 Student Emmys from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: Chesapeake Region
  • Selected for the American Conservation Film Festival and Gulick was invited to serve on a panel at the festival to discuss the film
  • Was screened at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Maryland
  • Was accepted into the Alexandria Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Neuse Riverkeeper Film Festival at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Was screened at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival
  • Was screened at the Chesapeake Folk Festival

*Students participating in the production were Alison Ogden, Brian Kelley, Gillian Ray, Jennifer Stratton, Jordan Brown, Tony Azios.

Thesis Film Selected to Screen at 36th Cleveland International Film Festival

Anne Coburn’s thesis film, “Pretty All The Time,” was selected to screen at the 36th Cleveland International Film Festival. (Out of 1450 independent short film entries submitted, only 158 films were chosen.)

Barbie Happy Hour

"Barbie Happy Hour" Accepted into Show at Hillyer Art Space

Autumn Moran’s photography project, "Barbie Happy Hour" from her Fine Art Photo class was accepted into a show at Hillyer Art Space. Autumn’s film shot at FAMU in Prague, 'Sežer To, Lucie (Eat it, Lucie)' was selected to be screened at the Wallabout Student Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY.

"Stage Fright" Wins at LAWebfest

"Stage Fright,” the web series produced by the students in Claudia Myers and Kyle Brannon’s Webisode class won best comedy in the 2012 LAWebfest.

Patricia Aufderheide, director, Center for Social Media

The Chronicle Writes About Prof's Fair Use Work

The Chronicle recently wrote an article about SOC's own Professor Aufderheide's work with the Center for Social Media in developing the Association of Research Libraries, a code of best practices of fair use for academic and research libraries. Read more

SOC International Media MA woman Ganges
River Planet Screened at Multiple Festivals

Leena Jayaswal's film River Planet, which she filmed, produced and directed the Ganges portion, starts and ends with her footage and the trailer is comprised of only the Ganges River. The film was screened at the ThinLine Documentary Festival, part of the American Documentary Showcase where it was shown in Northeastern Thailand and Vietnam, The Costa Rica International Film Festival and the Anchorage International Film Festival to name a few. Watch Trailer

SOC Guy book
Grad Student is Editor and Illustrator of New Book

Hasina Stearns, Producing for Film & Video MA candidate is Editor-in-Chief and the Illustrator of the new book, Guy, which is published by the company she co-founded, Fred & Barrel. Learn More


SOC Collaboration Film Featured on The Franklin Institute Home Page

The SOC collaborative film Hawk Nest is featured on The Franklin Institute’s home page. Several FMA students were involved with professor Maggie Stogner in the effort of the film, including Aditi Desai as producer, alum Mike Hyde as editor and Irene Mafagan as narrator. Watch video

Prof and Alum Named DC Merit Members of ASMP

Professor Leena Jayaswal and alumna Jamie Rose have just been made Merit Members of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).  ASMP is the premier association of professional photographers whose work is intended for publication.  Merit Membership is a one-year membership that is awarded by the ASMP board of directors to the rising stars of the photography profession.

SOC Randall Blair tout
Professor Wins Prize at Houston International Film Festival

Congratulation to FMA professor Randall Blair and his film, Soul Searching, that won a Gold Remi for Dramatic-Original short film at the 44th Houston International Film Festival. His film was one of only 100 short films selected to be screened at the festival. There were 4,500 entries this year - both feature and short. Read more

Two SOC students win ANWC scholarships

The American News Women’s Club has awarded SOC students Stefanie Dazio and Sareen Hairabedian scholarships for 2011. The aspiring journalism scholars each received $3,000 awards at the 2011 ANWC 17th Annual Gala and Tribute April 7 honoring public radio pioneer Diane Rehm. Dazio is a double major in print journalism and CLEG , and Managing Editor for News at AU’s The Eagle and a contributing writer to the Student Press Law Center.  Hairabedian is majoring in Film & Media Arts.  A Jordanian of Armenian origin, she is living alone in the US for study, and hopes to bring a unique lens to her films. Her goal is to raise awareness of social issues by telling individual stories with her camera.

AUTV Special Show about Social Learning Summit Features SOC Faculty, Students

A special episode of AUTV's "Tech Talk" focused on the AU Social Media Club's Social Learning Summit.  The show featured interviews and appearances with several SOC students and faculty members including Alex Priest, Scott Talan, and Caty Borum Chatoo.

SONY invites prof Bill Gentile to lead discussion at NAB

Professor Bill Gentile will lead a roundtable discussion titled, "Backpack Journalism Project at American University," at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas Sunday April 10th. Read More

SOC Eastman Brannon award

Prof. Brannon's work at Chicago International Music and Movies Festival

The Chicago International Music and Movies Festival  will be screening two pieces produced and directed by Prof Kylos Brannon on April 16. "So Damn High (Will Eastman Remix)" was commissioned by Kindercore Records and was crewed entirely by SOC students. The song was remixed by popular DC DJ Will Eastman  and shot at DC's famed 930 Club. The second piece is "An Impression: Dischord Records" a short format documentary that was co-produced and co-directed along with Prof Leena Jayaswal in 2004. The film briefly tells the history of DC staple underground record label, Dischord Records.

MFA Thesis Featured in Al Jazeera International Film Festival

Richard Conception's MFA thesis short doc film has been accepted to the 2011 (April 21- 24) Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival. A slightly revised version of Politics of U.S. Occupation, submitted to the 7th Al Jazeera International Film Festival can been seen on Youtube.

SOC Randall Blair tout

Congrats to Prof. Randall Blair whose film "Soul Searching" will be screened at the 2011 Huston International Film Festival

For those interested, the film will debut on April 16th at 1pm. Soul Searching is a short film about a dour by-the-book homicide detective and his energetic new-age partner who are sent to investigate the suspicious suicide of a university professor. It quickly turns into a murder investigation and the detectives each fall in love with a beautiful woman who is the prime suspect in the murder. Walking the thin line between professional ethics and their desires proves to be difficult for them, especially because everyone seems to have a secret.  A sinister man with connections to both women and an undergraduate student with a bad attitude add extra dimensions to the unfolding mystery.

The film won two Peer Awards last fall for lead actors- Michael Gabel and John Michael MacDonald.

SOC FMA Wretcher jabber award

Prof and Alumni Work on Nationally Released Film

Professor Gary Griffin and Alums Dan Curl and Denise Nakamizu worked on the film "Wretches & Jabbers" which illuminates a campaign by two Autistic men traveling the world to alter perceptions about their disease. Thanks to a partnership with AMC Theaters, distributor Area 23a and the Autism Society the film will have national exposure. Read a review of the film here.

Stogner, Fish, Bastedo, Buchanan, Swedberg

Student Filmmakers' Assignment Merits Award

Student filmmakers Don Fish, Kady Buchanan, Helenah Svedberg and Scott Bastedo were awarded first place in the student film category at the Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival, which will take place April 7-11, 2011.
Their film titled, "Mending History: A Sofer's Story," documents the reconstruction of a Torah from Ostrag, Poland that survived the Holocaust. The documentary details the importance of this town's story, and how Torah scribe Neil Yerman reconstructed the Torah and in turn, helped save the memory of the town.
Shot on both 16mm film and HD formats, the film was originally created as an assignment for Film and Video Production II with Professor Maggie Stogner, in the fall of 2010 at American University.

Students photograph birds in the Galapagos as part of the new interdisciplinary course The Practice of Environmentalism: Science, Policy and Communication in the Field

Interdisciplinary Course Yields Festival Selection

"La Pesca Vivencial", a film produced through "The Practice of Environmentalism: Science, Policy, and Communication" was accepted into the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival.  Filmed on locataion during the course's summer site visit to the Galapagos, it features fishermen who are trying to change the way they make a living from the ocean.  The film was produced by CAS, SIS, and SOC students Megan Barrett, Ingrid Specht, Jen Mandeville, Mark Petruniak, and Chris McMurrow.  Petruniak and McMurrow participated in a Q & A discussion related to the film's screening in San Francisco.  Professors Kiho Kim, Simon Nicholson, Larry Engel and Bill Gentile are proud of the new-found collaboration among schools and student, and the impact the work can have.  Watch the film

Professor Quoted in Washington Post

Professor Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media, recently told the Washington Post that according to the center's study on documentary filmmaking and ethics, filmmakers believe they have an obligation to protect their subjects from themselves.  The obligation"is something that the filmmaker really needs to think about, whether it's a parent or a professional," Aufderheide said, in reference to the debate swirling around films for which parents are the filmmakers and children are the subjects.  Read more

Alumna Recognized for Documentary Film

Lois Lipman has won numerous awards for her work on the film A Place to Belong: Aspergers and School, a piece she created as a part of the masters of fine arts graduate program here at AU. Most recently she received the Television Internet and Video Association Peer Gold Award for Best Student Non-Dramatic Documentary. Prior to that she won the Best Documentary and Best Edited Film prizes at American University’s Film Festival and a CINE Golden Eagle for Student Documentary.
Read more

Cover art for MA student Peggy Fleming's book, Crown Me!

Grad Student's Book Showcases Work

MFA student Peggy Fleming's new book, CROWN ME!, features 24 black and white portraits and two pages of conversations with each man who belongs to the Capital Pool Checkers Club. The club is located at 9th and S Streets Northwest in Washington, D.C. Fleming has a related photo exhibition at the Torpedo Factory Art Center through June 5. Fleming was also featured in an article about the Checkers Club in the Washington Post and a film she made about the club, 9th and S, was a Visions 2010 award-winner. Coming up in March, The American Folklife Center will be holding an event showcasing Fleming's work.  Learn more

SOC Alum Goes to Sundance 

FMA Alum Liang Cai's science-fiction romance, Another Earth, was selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2011 Dramatic Competition. He has worked on the film for the past two years as the Assistant Director. The premiere was on January 25th and it ran for five days. The producers for the film were Hunter Gray and Paul Mezey (Maria Full of Grace, Half Nelson). You can read a complete review and watch clips here.

Human Spark Wins Science Journalism Award

This series, The Human Spark, directed and photographed by professor Larry Engel and hosted by Alan Alda, has won the 2010 Kavil Science Journalism Award for In-Depth Reporting (more than 20 minutes). The award is given by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the most prestigious science institutions in the U.S.

SOC Grads Win Peer Gold

SOC Grads Win Peer Gold and CINE Golden Eagle Awards

Edited by Emily Gaines (MA), co-directed by Paul Kim (MFA), and produced and co-directed by Lois Lipman (MFA), thesis "A Place to Belong," a documentary that follows some 11 year old boys with Asperger's Syndrome, won Best Thesis Film and Best Edited Film at the SOC's Visions Awards: Media That Matters.  Recently, the film won Peer Gold on November 13 at the DC TIVA Peer Awards for Student Non-Dramatic Film.  "A Place to Belong" has also won the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award.  The CINE Eagle Awards are given to excellence in professional, independent and student filmmaking and are recognized internationally as symbols of the highest standards in film and television production.  The graduates now join a remarkable list of CINE Golden Eagle Award-winning filmmakers, including Ron Howard and Stephen Spielberg.  The film is now nominated for the CINE Award of Excellence, given to CINE's top student film for year 2010.  The Award of Excellence will be presented at CINE's 2011 Awards Gala next spring in Washington, D.C.  More info

Two Members of SOC Faculty and Staff To Exhibit Photos At Fotoweek DC Event

Professor Leena Jayaswal and Manager of Photographic Service Tara Kocourek were both chosen to exhibit their photos alongside works from the White House Photo Office, Washington Post, and Getty photographer at the Slideluck Potshow event Friday, November 12 at Fotoweek DC.  Slideluck Potshow is a non-profit organization dedicated to building and strengthening community through food and art.  Learn more