Dept. of Digital Media and Journalism Wins BEA Award

The SUNY New Paltz department of digital media and journalism was awarded the Faculty/Student Collaboration Broadcast Education Association Award of Excellence for the production of a short film titled‚“Hanna Barbera at the Norman Rockwell Museum.” 

The film is the third piece in a series of short promotional works put together for the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

“Hundreds and hundreds of pieces of media are submitted in various categories, and only 12 percent will get a prize,” said Dr. Gregory Bray, a professor of digital media, film and video studies who directed and co-produced the film. 

Contestants participating in the competition were evaluated according to the following criteria: professionalism, the use of aesthetic and/or creative elements, sense of structure and timing, production values, technical merit and the overall contribution to the discipline in both form and substance. 

“I think the film stands out because Hanna Barbera created all these cartoons and characters that everyone recognizes and grew up on but people don’t really think about the story behind those cartoons or how Hanna Barbera really revolutionized television and the film gives a short version of that story,” said Forrest Miller, a New Paltz alum who was an editor of the film. 

The Award of Excellence is given to worthy entries in the top 20 percent of all entries in a category making it an incredible honor to receive. Additionally, the film will be featured at the BEA Festival of Media Arts in Las Vegas at later date in April 2018. 

“To earn acknowledgements from such a prestigious organization is really satisfying,” Bray said. 

The film was produced by Bray and Bill Sobel (whose daughter is an alumna of the communications department) in conjunction with student alumni Sydney Mott ‘17, Catherine Kaczor ‘17, Forrest Miller ‘17 and Rachel Dobiecki ‘17. The film offers viewers an inside look of the Hanna Barbera exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum which serves as an exhibition documenting the history of the iconic animation studio. 

“It basically gives a history of Hanna Barbera and how they came up with the Flintstones and Yogi Bear and the Smurfs and revolutionized Saturday morning TV by creating Saturday morning cartoons,” Miller said. 

The BEA, which is the oldest media association in the country, hosts a conference every April in Las Vegas. The conference is an extremely useful resource for students looking to go into the field, as it provides the opportunity to network, meet established members of the field and learn about the expectations of professions within the field. Along with this, the association gives out numerous awards in different categories every year at the conference. 

“With this win, we’ve won 17 BEA Awards. It further demonstrates our commitment to excellence,” Bray said. 

The film won the award in the “Faculty-Student Collaboration” category as Bray and his student collaborators worked hand in hand to complete the project; students helped Bray with things like the editing and shooting of the film. 

“Students have won awards there before, I have won awards there before,” Bray said. “But we were able to do work together and this is evidence of that.”

The Norman Rockwell Museum, where the documentary was based, was extremely supportive throughout and after the process. Due to the project, an internship program was established which allows students in the digital media program to work at the museum and gain experience in the field.

“We have our first student up there this semester and she’s having a great experience with them,” Bray said. 

Besides the obvious satisfaction, the prize also provides students in the program access to the aforementioned conference.