Ed Madison, Erik Bender, Amanda Butt, and Garrett Guinn

Ed Madison, Erik Bender, Amanda Butt, and Garrett Guinn

In June, two SOJC documentary films were nominated in the college awards category, and for the first time, two SOJC students were nominated in a professional category for their work on Northwest Stories, an experimental video documentary series about intriguing people who share a connection to this region, produced in partnership between students at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon and OPB.

Derek Brown and Davis Burns took home an Emmy for “True Fighters,” a documentary about young fighters and their families at the Mendez Boxing Gym in Springfield, Ore.

“It covers six months of the gym’s and fighter’s efforts to overcome and to mourn the death of young 14-year-old champion Carlos Perez and to celebrate his life,” says SOJC associate professor Dan Miller.

Also nominated in the college awards category was “Discovering James Blue” about the life and work of international filmmaker and UO alumnus James Blue. SOJC students Krysta Maksim, McClean Cannon and Terry Bishop produced this film. The James Blue Archive is a joint project of the UO Libraries and Cinema Pacific.

Amanda Butt and Garrett Guinn earned a regional Emmy nomination in the professional category for “Environmental – Feature/Segment” for their work with Oregon Public Broadcasting on “Northwest Stories.” Ed Madison, SOJC assistant professor and media partnership coordinator, served as the executive producer of the project.

“Amanda Butt and Garrett Guinn had well-earned reputations as two of the SOJC’s most talented storytellers,” says Madison. “I wasn’t surprised to see their work acknowledged with a professional Emmy nomination.”

Butt wrote the script and Guinn was the film’s producer. Their documentary told the story of Tim Lewis, a Eugene-based filmmaker who focuses on controversial environmental stories.

Butt and Guinn were both shocked when the nominations were announced.

“To even make it to that level says something about ourselves and the work we put into that piece,” says Butt.

“As a documentary filmmaker, your worst nightmare is interviewing someone who is dull or monotonous, but Tim’s energy and passion during the interview was dynamite,” says Guinn. “Without Tim’s initial cooperation and trust I don’t think we would have been nominated.”

Butt said she fell in love with the art of telling human-interest stories. Although the team didn’t bring home an Emmy, she said not winning made her want to work even harder and hopes to receive another nomination. Both Guinn and Butt said they intend to submit future work to the Northwest Emmys.

Story by Corinne Boyer