Communications students take home media awards

Melissa Gasia
Staff Writer

University of La Verne students and recent graduates earned several honors from the Hometown Media Awards in August, and the San Bernardino Valley College Film Festival in May.

The team that included alumna Marilyn Mejia, who majored in broadcast journalism; alumna Ebony Williams, a broadcast major; alumna Chantal Silva, a broadcast journalism major; and Tyler Harrison, a senior broadcast journalism major won Best Student Documentary for “J. Brown: Violinmaker” in the national Hometown Media Awards.

Mejia and her crew were assigned to make a documentary on a local business for their advanced video production class.

The instructor, Professor of Communications Don Pollock, had wanted someone to do a documentary profiling violin maker Jim Brown for a while. Coincidently Mejia had been a client of Brown’s, so she was positive she could convince Brown to be the subject of their piece.

“I love the production process of being in charge of videos,” Mejia said.

“I love … seeing it come together, because people don’t realize how much time you put into these videos,” she said.

Mejia said the whole group put in a lot of hard work. The process from organizing interviews, to getting the camera work and making sure that the editing process goes according to plan is intense.

Four students and recent graduates – senior liberal arts major Alexander Clague, alumna broadcast journalism major Jetske Wauran, senior broadcast major Delanie Pacheco, and alumna broadcast journalism major Chelsea Stark-Jones – placed among the top 11 winners in the San Bernardino Valley College Film Festival competition.

Clague won for his dramedy short “Sugar and Love” in best crime/drama. Stark-Jones won for her senior project “Enjoying the Journey” in best news/reality.

The Festival is designed to give student filmmakers an opportunity to present their work to a wide audience.

Wauran won the cinematography award for the documentary “Mary Cotter: 100 Years.”

A fan of documentaries, Wauran said she thought the story of Mary Cotter, who turned 100 in 2012, was an incredible story that needed to be documented.

“It’s unique,” Wauran said. “How often does someone you know turn 100 years old?”

Pollock said he was pleased with the documentary, so he submitted it to several competitions to have Wauran represent the University.

Pacheco won the editing award for the documentary called “Road to Recovery.”

Pacheco is an athlete and said the sports documentary she worked on was easy to wrap her head around.

Specifically Pacheco’s documentary was about one of the University’s senior volleyball players who suffered a serious injury, that side-lined her for much of her season. She managed to come back ultimately.

Pacheco said this perspective is a side of sports that people do not necessarily get to see all the time.

“Road to Recovery” was selected for screening at the film festival and received an award along with three other documentaries from ULV students.

“I just think that (winning these) shows what great mentors we have here,” Pacheco said.

“We have great amazing people in our department that give us a great foundation.  And it also speaks to all the creativity and the hard work that students at La Verne put in,” she said.

The students received prizes like the Sony video camera and AVID video-editing software for winning.

Melissa Gasia can be reached at melissa.gasia@

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