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Pulitzer, Variety Recognition Make for a Great Month at SOC

SOC Randall Blair tout

Professor Randall Blair's "Soul Searching" was awarded a Gold Remi for best Dramatic-Original short film at the 44th Houston International Film Festival.

In April, Variety.com featured the School of Communication’s film program as one of 40 leading media programs in the nation. The directory cited American's reputation as the most politically active campus in the country and the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Announcements throughout the month gave further evidence that the recognition was well deserved. 

Pulitzer Prize for Alumna
Alumna Nikki Kahn SOC/BA '95 was one of the three photographers from the Washington Post to win the Pulitzer Prize for their work in Haiti. SOC has supported Kahn's work over the years, including hosting a display of photographs of AIDS in Guyana. Kahn has also served as a judge for the annual VISIONS Media Festival. The award-winning work can be viewed at washingtonpost.com

Student Wins Top University Honors
Ted Roach, MFA '11, has won the 2011 American University Student Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level - the first time an SOC student has won this prestigious honor. Roach has produced, directed and edited dozens of web-based, short documentaries, for companies such as the National Park Service, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, the American News Project and NOAA’s Ocean Media Center, all while pursuing his MFA in Film. During his time at AU, Roach won two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and four TIVA-DC Peer Awards (including Gold Awards for Feature Documentary Editing, and Best Student Documentary). He also received several student film awards, including being selected as a national co-finalist for the 2010 Student Academy Award. His films have screened in over 30 film festivals, won several festival awards, and have been broadcast internationally. It's no coincidence that Roach will also be speaking at SOC's commencement on May 7. More information at TedRoach.com.

Professor Bill Gentile, who nominated Roach for the award, says, "Not only has Ted produced a highly impressive body of work but his scholarly achievements have been equally impressive. He has been a full-time student until last semester and has maintained a GPA of 3.97."

Film Wins Gold at Festival
The short film, Soul Searching, produced and directed by Professor Randall Blair was awarded a Gold Remi for best Dramatic-Original short film at the 44th Houston International Film Festival (World Fest). It was one of only 100 short films selected for screening at the festival. The film was produced as part of Blair’s film production course and showcases the collaborative spirit in the department. The script was co-written by Blair and Christina Kotlar, a graduate of SOC’s MA program. The film was co-edited by Blair and Kelli Boyd, a graduate of SOC’s MFA in Film and Electronic Media. The director of photography was SOC Filmmaker-in-Residence Gary Griffin. Adjunct Michael Boyle was the lead sound mixer. The students taking the course filled the various production crew roles on the film. In the fall of 2010, the film won two awards for Best Actor at the Washington area Peer Awards.

Students Win at Jewish Film Festival
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. 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.