Students from the BYU Film Department were recognized this past weekend for their original films, having the opportunity to show their work and hobnob with celebrities. BYU won a total of five awards, ranging from Best Director to the Seymour Bricker Family Humanitarian Award.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation held the 33rd College Television Awards Gala on Saturday night, recognizing the best in student video, digital and film. The black-tie gala was in Los Angeles and annually gives college students the chance to win cash prizes, industry recognition and the opportunity to network with top television executives.
The award ceremony, known as the “Student Emmys,” is a credible platform to young filmmakers, with sponsors including HBO, FOX, NBC and the Entertainment Industry Foundation that help them get their foot in the door to greater opportunities.
Brandon Ho, from Fort Collins, Colo., is the writer and director of the film “My Hero.” The film won the Emmy in the Children’s Programming Category. He originally got the idea for his film while doing an assignment for a screenwriting class, which then expanded and changed form into his senior film project. The film follows the story of Kevin, a 10-year-old boy who loves comic books and action figures. The movie deals with the issues of peer pressure, growing up and what it means to be a true hero.
“You get a chance to let it play to a lot of audience who don’t know your film, so you can watch and see how people see and react to it,” Ho said. “You get to experience the energy of people watching your movie. It’s very different energy compared to just showing it at BYU to people who worked on the film.”
Another couple traveled to L.A. this weekend. Their movie, “Mr. Bellpond,” was nominated and won for both Best Comedy and Best Director. The film was written and directed by A. Todd Smith, a graduate of BYU’s Film Department, with help and moral support from his wife, Amy Leah Nelson Smith, who co-wrote the story and served as production designer on the film.
“Mr. Bellpond” is described by its creators as telling the “delightfully dreadful tale of a man dealing with the disappearance of his wife. Soon he gets news of her whereabouts, through blackmail from a demanding extortionist. To obtain more information Mr. Bellpond must compose a new masterpiece before the evidence about his wife is destroyed forever.”
While it is a great satisfaction to win and be recognized for your work, the Smiths were thrilled just to be nominated.
“We’re nervous and excited about the prospects that might be in store for us, but we’re really just going to have a good time and enjoy the people we’re going to meet,” Amy Smith said before the event. “It’s more than enough to have a film we’ve worked so hard on to be recognized in this way, let alone getting awards for it. I’m so proud of all of the work that everyone on the cast and crew put into this film in order for it to come to life.”
Five awards were awarded to BYU students. From the Theater and Media Arts Department: 1st Place Comedy to Nicholas Dixon and Bree Evans for “Mr. Bellpond,” Best Children’s Program to Erin Lee Anderson and Brandon Habermeyer for “My Hero” and best director to A. Todd Smith for “Mr. Bellpond. From the College of Fine Arts and Communications: 2nd Place Documentary to Mark Williams for “I Am Not My Body – Marius’ Story” who also received the Seymour Bricker Family Humanitarian Award for the same film.