News

PLU’s MediaLab recognized for latest documentary film about higher education

Posted by: Date: February 26, 2016
MediaLab member Natalie DeFord (left) interviews engineer and former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo courtesy of MediaLab)

MediaLab member Natalie DeFord (left) interviews engineer and former Canadian astronaut Julie Payette in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo courtesy of MediaLab)

By Amanda Williams '16
MediaLab General Manager, special to PLU News

TACOMA, WASH. (Feb. 26, 2016)- MediaLab, the applied research and media production program at Pacific Lutheran University, has received two recognitions for its most recent documentary film.

These Four Years, which premiered in Seattle in November 2015, has earned an Award of Merit from The Accolade Competition of Southern California, and is also one of four grand-prize finalists in the documentary category in the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) Electronic Media Competition. NBS grand-prize winners will be announced at a Hollywood awards show on March 16, 2016.

These Four Years was created by four MediaLab seniors: Natalie DeFord, who served as chief editor, assistant producer and narrator; Evan Heringer, director of photography; Jasper Sortun, senior producer and director of art and graphics; and Grace Takehara, senior producer.

“We sought to make a thought-provoking film, and it’s really exciting to see our hard work paying off,” said DeFord, a senior communication major who will graduate in May. “We are honored about the recognition and hope that These Four Years can be helpful to students and families.”

These Four Years focuses on the value of higher education and the college experience. Specifically, the filmmakers sought to understand the effects that higher education, or the lack thereof, can have on professional opportunities and personal well-being and happiness in the 21st Century. In pursuit of answers, the team traveled to cities across North America, including Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Portland, Ore., Toronto, New Orleans, and many others.

During a particularly hectic production period in June 2015, the team filmed more than 50 interviews in 15 locations in just 18 days, talking with high school and college students, college graduates, faculty members, parents, administrators, researchers, statisticians and economists. The filmmakers came home with more than 70 hours of original video footage and hundreds of photographs that they turned into their 30-minute film.

These recent honors add to the more than two dozen other national and international recognitions MediaLab has received during its 10-year existence, including an Emmy Award, five Emmy nominations, three NBS Grand Prizes, seven Accolades, and two Canada International Film Festival Rising Star Awards, just to name a few.

For more information about These Four Years, or other MediaLab projects and productions, please visit www.plu.edu/~ml, or contact MediaLab General Manager Amanda Williams via email at williaam@plu.edu.

About MediaLab at PLU:

MediaLab is an award–winning, applied research and media production organization housed within the Center for Media Studies at Pacific Lutheran University’s School of Arts and Communication. MediaLab students work on projects across the media spectrum, including market research, photography, graphic design, web design, writing, video, public relations, event planning, filmmaking and more.