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UNCW Wins First Place at DigiFest® for Esports Documentary

The UNCW media production team received a 2023 Digi Award at the recent DigiFest® Temecula in California. “Game On UNCW: Esports + Education,” directed and produced by UNCW senior video producer Bradley Pearce, won first place in the category of “Informative Video: Professional.” 

“When DigiFest® Temecula notified me that they would be screening my film at their film festival, I was really pumped,” Pearce said. “Then they notified me that it won! I am tremendously grateful to see a film like this getting recognized at an event like this, and I hope this exposure breathes even more life into this incredible program for our students.” 

“Game On UNCW: Esports + Education” is a feature-length documentary following the UNCW Seahawk Esports & Gaming Club, esports Professor Dr. Ray Pastore and members of UNCW’s collegiate esports teams. The film examines the relationship between gaming and education, exploring themes of competition in esports compared to traditional college athletic programs. 

“As a gamer myself, it was such a pleasure to work with Dr. Pastore and the esports program to bring their journey to the big screen,” Pearce said. “From a grassroots effort to a state-funded program, esports here at UNCW has grown substantially over the last few years because of their hard work. It’s exciting to see this community flourish and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the program.” 

In 2022, the program received $300,000 over three years to fund elevating teams to varsity status, paid positions for students, and a new esports lab and computers. The university’s program has grown to more than 600 students with numerous competitive teams since it began in 2019. 

UNCW hosted the world premiere of the esports documentary in Lumina Theater on January 30, 2023.