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UNCW COM/media Ranks in BEA’s International Top 10  

Several student production projects shine at annual Festival of Media Arts.

Several students operating tv cameras in a film studio while a musician performs holding a microphone on a stage.
UNCW Communications Studies students produce a segment of the award-winning "Digital Drip" series in the Leutze Hall studio.
Photo: Bradley Pearce/UNCW

The UNCW Department of Communication Studies' media production program (COM/media) is in the top 10 media production programs within the Film and Video Division of the Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts.

This ranking reflects the outstanding performance by UNCW students at the festival over the past five years. During this period, three projects by COM Studies students have clinched first place awards, with one earning the prestigious Best of Festival honors. Numerous other projects also received Awards of Excellence.  

“The awards confirm that what we are teaching and doing in our program meets standards of excellence beyond our program,” said Rick Olsen, Communication Studies department chair. “The confidence and sense of readiness this builds in all of our students is invaluable.” 

The Film and Video Division of the BEA encompasses various production formats, including web and broadcast advertisements (spots), promotional videos, educational and informational content, multi-cam live and live-to-tape productions, as well as narratives. 

Leading the multi-camera live-to-tape division is David Pernell, who also serves as the executive producer of the acclaimed music performance and interview show, "Digital Drip." The show has garnered significant recognition, boasting two first place awards and multiple Awards of Excellence. 

“Our students work extremely hard every semester to create the best content possible. To see their efforts rewarded with recognition from the BEA reflects their talent and dedication,” said Pernell. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.” 

Bill Bolduc, retired faculty member, directed the field production and editing classes until Jan. 2024. This year, senior COM/media student Parker Hall secured the prestigious Best of Festival Award for the Film and Video Division with his promotional video, "Scrappy Dappy: The Movie." 

“Winning festivals and competitions is not a primary goal of what we do in Communication Studies. Instead, we try to develop creativity and professionalism in making meaningful media productions. Garnering recognition and awards for that work is a byproduct of the student and faculty commitment to excellence,” said Bolduc. “We’re incredibly proud of our student work and hope to continue making great media in the coming years.” 

The Broadcast Education Association is the premier international academic media organization, dedicated to fostering excellence in media production and career advancement. The Festival of Media Arts, conceived and organized by BEA faculty worldwide, serves as a platform to honor works by both students and faculty. Each year, over $19,000 in prizes are distributed.