Mississippi students compete against 12,000 entries from five continents, win Telly Awards

Published 8:59 pm Thursday, June 22, 2023

Students in the Media and Entertainment Arts (MEA) program, housed in The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Media and Communication, recently won prestigious global Telly Awards for their videography and cinematography productions.

The Telly Awards is the world’s preeminent recognition for video and television across all screens — receiving more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world. Some of the prominent global brands and companies alongside smaller independent production houses include Cut+Run, Netflix, Disney Parks, Media.Monks, Paramount, and National Geographic Society.

Paul Linden, faculty lead for MEA and associate professor at USM, enthusiastically commends students for this recognition and for pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling.

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“As faculty, we are often inspired by the hard work demonstrated by our students throughout the year,” said Linden. “To see this impression validated by a globally recognized organization like the Telly Awards reflects strongly on the quality of education offered here at USM, as our creative media programs continue to see strengthening in the level of our students’ work. It’s a good time to be involved, as we push the boundaries of visual storytelling and contribute to the future of the industry.”

According to comments from Telly Awards judges, this year’s winners “demonstrated exceptional creativity, innovation, and storytelling prowess.” USM students and faculty sponsors were honored for projects in the following categories:

Project 1: Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata in G minor, III Movement

Bronze Telly Award (Non-Broadcast-Student) and (Non-Broadcast-Videography/Cinematography)

  • Production team: Robert Lock (director) from Jackson, Miss.; Emma Holston from Hattiesburg, Miss.; Shekhina Lee from Byram, Miss.; Joseph Weishaar from Daphne, Ala. (camera operators)
  • Faculty sponsor: Jared Hollingsworth and Mary Sheffer

Project 2: Helen Gillet-French Pandemic Song

Bronze Telly Award (Non-Broadcast-Student)

  • Production team: Robert Lock (director) and Ben Milburn from Clinton, Miss. (audio producer)
  • Faculty sponsor: Jared Hollingsworth and Will Thompson

The category Non-Broadcast-Student is limited to those associated student productions (individual or a group) and the Non-Broadcast-Videography/Cinematography is judged specifically on the videography/cinematography of the piece; therefore, it is not limited to student production and much broader scope in terms of competition.

“Multiple MEA students that are involved with Digital Nest Media, our student organization, took part in the productions and put into practice everything we discussed in our classes,” said Jared Hollingsworth, faculty sponsor and video production expert. “It is a major accomplishment to be recognized in the videography/cinematography category specifically. To be recognized in that category alongside major platforms such as HBO and production professionals that produce content for Amazon, Al Jazeera Digital and more is amazing and speaks volumes of the quality of work our MEA students are capable of producing.”

The Telly Awards are judged by members of the Telly Awards Judging Council, a group of more than 200-plus working industry professionals who have previously won the Telly Awards’ highest accolade, and as such, have demonstrable expertise in the categories they review. All members of the Telly Awards Judging Council must apply and be accepted after their credentials are verified.

Learn more about the Media and Entertainment Arts program.