Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

April 9, 2012

GSW partners to produce 2012 Georgia Movie Academy Awards Ceremony

AMERICUS —  Lights, camera, action! The Department of Theater, Communication and Media Arts at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) joined forces with the Chattahoochee-Flint RESA Educational Technology Center (ETC) to produce the eighth installment of the Georgia Movie Academy (GMA) awards recently at the Rylander Theatre in Americus.

The GMA is sponsored by the Chattahoochee-Flint RESA ETC and Rylander Theatre Partnership Productions, a collaborative program of the Americus Theater and Cultural Authority and the GSW Department of Theater, Communication and Media Arts (TC&MA). This year's production was the first time that GSW's TC&MA was involved, and it was made possible through the generous support of the Charles L Mix Memorial Fund.

The GMA is a state-wide competition that encourages the use of basic and/or advanced video production in classrooms. The GMA invites teachers to register for the competition, form teams of motivated students and serve as coaches through the development of an educational movie aligned with state standards.

"Georgia Movie Academy showcases the work of student teams in our 15 county RESA area," said Bunny Harris, director of Chattahoochee-Flint RESA ETC. "This project-based learning competition highlights digital storytelling, which is a way of telling stories using media and technology.  Project-based learning is an effective way to address literacy standards across the curriculum."

This year 650 people were in attendance during three separate awards ceremonies while 271 students and 89 coaches entered 56 movies in grades K-12 - all record numbers for this district. The Chattahoochee-Flint RESA ETC area includes the following counties: Chattahoochee, Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor and Webster. ETC staff members organized the competition and planned the awards ceremony. Their staff includes Bunny Harris, director; Jennifer Smith, instructional technology specialist; Tom Sharp, technical support specialist; and Tonya Barnes, registrar/secretary.

"The inclusion of Georgia Movie Academy and this new collaboration with Chattahoochee-Flint ETC into Rylander Partnership Productions provides a flagship educational outreach opportunity for Hurricane Watch, our student TV production unit, and brings an awareness and recognition of GSW and the programming we offer here, to a new audience," said Jeffrey Green, chair of TC&MA and artistic director of Rylander Theatre Partnership Productions. "The ability to bring Hurricane Watch, Alpha Psi Omega and Rylander Partnership Productions into focus on this initiative illustrates what can be accomplished through synergy."

Four divisions based on grade were judged on the following criteria: identified academic standards, photography, creativity/style, content/story and alignment to theme, enhancements, and digital citizenship. In the K-2 division, best picture went to "Giving to Ghana Goes Global" by Sumter County Primary (Coaches Becky Schabeck and Jan Alston);  first runner-up: "Reptile Renegade" by Taylor County Primary (Coaches Amy Jones and Deanna Davis); and second runner-up: "The Unfortunate Life of Mr. Leaf: A Tragedy" by Macon County Elementary (Coaches Jessica Benson and Jennifer Grace).

In the third- through fifth-grade division: best picture: "The Hands Hold the Story" by Macon County Elementary (Coaches Sona Journey and Jill Coogle); first runner-up: "Georgia's Buried Treasure" by Schley County Elementary (Coaches Karen Jones and Chandler Schofield); and second runner-up: "Habitats of Georgia" by Macon County Elementary (Coaches Rebecca Royal and Rebecca Elyaman).

In the sixth- through eighth-grade division: best picture: "Captain Tom" by Marion County Middle (Coach Michael Medders); first runner-up: "Jacob's Journey" by Veterans Memorial Middle (Coach Pamela Larsen); and second runner-up: "Last Road Taken" by Macon County Middle (Coach Lathonia Joiner).

In the ninth- through 12th-grade division: best picture: "Every Sasquatch Has a Story" by Taylor County High (Coach Diane Madore); first runner-up: "Never Forget" by Marion County High (Coach Michael Medders); and second runner-up: "The Birth of a Tradition" by Marion County High (Coach Michael Medders).

The best picture in each division will be entered in the online state competition for Georgia Movie Academy.

The panel of judges for the awards ceremony included Bobby Ellis, owner of The Image Company in Americus; Franklin Ford, owner of Back Light Company in Blakely; Rae Spradley, former GMA State chair; and Angela Wilson, GSW assistant professor of communication. Green created title videos and disc images and underscoring for each of the four program categories, and served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening 6-8 and 9-12 division awards. Ray Mannila, GSW theater technical coordinator, provided production support for the event. Rylander Theatre Managing Director Heather Stanley, and her staff, Brenda Burns and Will Dozier, provided front of house operations.

GSW Alpha Psi Omega theater honorary members Eric Holt, Ashley Longacre, Hannah Ruiz, Megan Sleeth and Sara Thompson performed as characters, interacting with the audience for the event. Marc Culpepper, Jesse Wade and Jeremy Ellenberg served as technical crew. Lane Marchant coordinated both groups and served on running crew for the event.

For additional information about the Georgia Movie Academy, call 1-800-541-9442.

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