UNCW Student Filmmaker Nominated for Prestigious Documentary Award

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Kyle Myers-Haugh ’18, who is pursuing a double major in English and film studies, set out to make a film that showcased a part of his community. “Walkers” focuses on a historic black barbershop in Wilmington, N.C., and was nominated for the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award. The International Documentary Association Documentary Award ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Dec. 8.

According to the film association, the Wolper Student Documentary Award recognizes “exceptional achievement in non-fiction film and video production at the university level and brings greater public and industry awareness to the work of students in the documentary field.” The IDA celebrates the best non-fiction films and programs of the year.

“Walkers” is an observational/ethnographic portrait of Just Cut It, a historic black barbershop in Wilmington. Myers-Haugh found that his favorite aspect of the film experience was the time he spent at the shop with barbers Frank Walker, Cedron Emerson and Lawrence Riddles.

“Getting to know them has enriched my life. I consider them friends,” Myers-Haugh said. “Furthermore, the community that I filmed made tangible the idea of the barbershop as not simply a space but a social institution.”

He described the filmmaking experience as one of the best summers in his life. “I hope that I made a film worthy of the greatness and humanism inherent within Frank, Cedron and Lawerence,” he said, “as well as the surrounding community on Castle Street that welcomed me.”

According to Myers-Haugh, “Walkers” would not be the film it is today without the support of faculty in the Department of Film Studies. He especially appreciates the input he received from his Honors advisors, Department Chair Mariana Johnson, Professor Dave Monahan, Associate Professor Dan Noland, and Senior Lecturer and Academic Coordinator Sue Richardson. “The film would not exist without their encouragement to experiment and to take chances,” he said.

As a double major, Myers-Haugh also associates his film’s success with the skills he learned from the faculty in the English department. Myers-Haugh studied critical theories that pushed him to consider the idea of texts as not necessarily literary. Associate Professor Meghan Sweeney, the head of the English graduate program, encouraged him to take graduate-level classes while he was an undergraduate. Assistant Professor Maia Butler and Associate Professor Alex Porco taught classes that provided Myers-Haugh with the critical analysis tools that would later help him significantly in the film editing process.

Myers-Haugh said he looks forward to meeting other filmmakers at the IDA Awards ceremony. “It’s humbling to meet the artists behind exceptional work, to hear their anecdotes and to discuss their life beyond the filmic,” he said.

After graduation on Dec. 15, Myers-Haugh plans to pursue a master’s in English at UNCW.

-- Logan Matthews ’19

Barber in action

A patron receives a shave at Just Cut It, a historic black barbershop in Wilmington.