American University School of Communication alumni took home four Emmys this year for their work with the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
Michael Cascio, SOC/MA ’73, was Senior Vice President, Production for "National Geographic Channel Presents, Five Years on Mars," the winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Science, Technology and Nature Programming. "It was a good story with a terrific producer, a labor of love for those of us who love the space program. There are plenty of worthy documentaries that don’t win awards, but it’s always nice to be recognized," he said. This was the second Emmy win, and sixth nomination, for Cascio, who speaks regularly at a class taught by two-time Oscar winner Russell Williams and at Center for Environmental Filmmaking events.
The documentary "Gorilla Murders," also from the National Geographic Channel, won the award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism – Long Form for Wesley Della Volla, SOC/BA ’06.
The Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for Reality Programming went to the Discovery Channel’s "Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment” production team, including Eric Freeberg, SOC/BA ’00. Doug Gritzmacher, SOC/MFA 2005, was videojournalist for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s "Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica" which won the award for New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture. Gritzmacher said, “I was the beneficiary of the talented work of others. It's the package that is most impressive.”
SOC also had two nominees at the awards who did not take home Emmys. Artist-in-residence Bill Gentile was nominated Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a News Magazine for "Afghanistan: The Forgotten War," which he produced for PBS NOW. Gentile, a two-time Emmy winning backpack journalist, reflects on his blog that the nomination alone was a triumph. "I feel the nomination validates the backpack journalism model, particularly considering the other contenders for the award -- 60 Minutes, Frontline, Dateline, 360 With Anderson Cooper – most likely used the traditional, highly produced team model. On the other hand, I proposed, shot, produced, reported, wrote and narrated the Afghanistan piece". While there, he also taught a distance-learning course.
An award-winning interactive news package featuring video by Alexandra Garcia, SOC/BA ’05, The Healing Fields, was nominated in the New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Current News Coverage category. The piece, created for washingtonpost.com, documents an annual pilgrimage made by thousands of uninsured and underinsured patients to Wise County, VA, in the hopes of receiving medical and dental treatment from the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps.