School of Journalism and New Media

The University of Mississippi

VIDEO: Documentary competition run by alumnus Terry Ewert yields great student work

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by drwenger

It took 48-hours, hard work and great video storytelling skills to win the first annual School of Journalism and New Media Mini-Documentary competition, but seven teams of Ole Miss students were willing to try their best.

The winning team of Gracie Snyder, Sam Gray and Alec Keyzer-Andre turned in a powerful piece on a sexual assault victim who is still struggling to feel comfortable in the aftermath of her attack.

“The most important thing I learned about filmmaking during this project was that you have to let the subject direct your way of filming. We wanted to fully embrace and capture her story,” Keyzer-Andre said.

The force behind the competition is journalism school alumnus, filmmaker and broadcast sports producer Terry Ewert. He says the 48-hour film experience has been around for a while.

“It’s used as an exercise by film schools, film societies and co-ops, etc. to teach focus, collaboration, and to give students a hands-on project to use the technology of cinema,” Ewert said.  “Usually, students can choose from which genre they want to create—drama, comedy, horror, music videos, documentary, etc.  Since this workshop was for the School of Journalism, I thought it would be best to limit the scope just to documentaries – since, at its core, journalism is the search for truth.”

First place winners received $100 gift cards and a trophy; second place winners went home with $50 cards. The second place team included Maggie Bushway, Sima Bhowmik, Ahmed Shatil Alam and Michael Lawrence. Their piece also focused on a character struggling with a challenge – this time with mental health.

Ewert says he took great pleasure in collaborating with j-school Prof. Ji Hoon Heo and the students who committed to the workshop.

“Hands down, working with the students was my favorite part.  They had such inspired ideas, and seeing those ideas on video and completed left me feeling that we had a group of future storytellers on our hands,” Ewert said.

Keyzer-Andre has some advice for students who may choose to participate in next year’s competition.

“If you are looking to take part in this contest, all I can say is plan. Having a schedule and a production shot list was very crucial to the timeliness of this project. Without having those for references it would have been very hard to meet the deadline. I would also recommend working with the max amount of members in your group as having different minds all thinking about one subject allows for new ideas and creativity to flow.”

Ewert is already thinking about next year, too.

“I would like to invite more individuals involved in video in other schools on the campus to join the party.  I think we had a diverse group, but maybe we can expand the endeavor.”