Southeastern students honored by Emmys
Monday, May 16, 2022
by: Tonya Lowentritt
STUDENT EMMY-WINNING FILM- Shown at right is the lead character, played by Southeastern Louisiana University student Ross Chauvin, walking the streets of Hammond at night followed by a mysterious character (left), played by Brennan Miller, in the student short film “The Overthinker.” The film’s director, Southeastern student John Austin Williams, was honored by the Suncoast Emmys of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with a Student Production Award in the “Director” category. Also honored by the Suncoast Emmys was Southeastern student Dylan Domangue, who won for “Non-Fiction- Long Form” for his 17-minute documentary “12 Seconds at Birth.”
HAMMOND – Students at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Southeastern Channel
have been honored by the Emmys with two college division Student Production Awards
given by the Emmy Awards’ Suncoast Region of the National Academy of Television Arts
Dylan Domangue of Houma was a winner in the “Non-Fiction- Long Form” category, while John Austin Williams of Denham Springs won for “Director.” Both have been honored by the Emmys multiple times.
The students and their productions were honored in the Emmy Suncoast Region comprised of television stations and production companies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. Students at the Southeastern Channel have now been named Emmy winners 22 times with 69 nominations.
“Being recognized by the Emmys is the highest honor you can receive in television,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “These student awards are measured against the Emmy standard of excellence. If no productions in a category achieve that standard, then no award is given. Since so few are given, we’re thrilled that Dylan and John are joining such elite company. The honor is well-deserved for their talent, creativity and hard work.”
“Winning an Emmy is a surreal feeling, especially to do it while being a college student,” Williams said. “To be named an Emmy winner places me in a category of individuals who have displayed a level of talent unmatched by most. I feel a great deal of admiration and pride to be named one of those individuals, and I will cherish it for a lifetime.”
“An Emmy award is what everyone in television strives for in their career,” Domangue said. “This is the highest honor we can achieve, so it is what we work toward. Some people work a lifetime trying to achieve the goal of winning this award, and I was able to win an Emmy while still being in college. There are many awards people can win in their television careers, but if you ask all of them what is the highest honor, it is definitely an Emmy.”
Domangue’s winning “Non-Fiction - Long Form” entry was his 17-minute personal documentary, “12 Seconds at Birth.” It marked his third Emmy recognition in the past three years. Earlier he won as producer-director of a live Southeastern Channel football broadcast that streamed on ESPN+. He was also nominated in the “Talent” category.
“12 Seconds at Birth” documents Domangue’s remarkable journey and triumph in the face of an incurable motor disability. As the program title implies, “12 Seconds at Birth” begins with Domangue’s birth when he was deprived of oxygen for 12 seconds, causing permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy, resulting in muscle, joint and bone problems that have affected his walking movement throughout his entire life. The documentary continues through his four years at Southeastern, where he won multiple national and regional broadcasting awards.
Domangue produced the documentary himself for his Comm 498 senior portfolio project in the Department of Communication and Media Studies taught by the Department Head James O’Connor. The program features Domangue talking on-camera about his life story while thumbing through a scrapbook of photos and clippings from early childhood through middle school and high school all of the way through his time at the Southeastern Channel.
“I have always considered myself a normal person and not particularly anything that special,” Domangue continued. “However, over the years, many people have told me that my story is inspiring, so when I sat back and thought about everything I have had to overcome in my life, I knew it had the potential to be a special story that everyone needed to hear.”
Williams, who was also honored by the Emmys last year, won for his short film, “The Overthinker.” He produced the film short as part of a class assignment for Comm 449: “Advanced Video Production and Editing” taught by Southeastern Channel Operations Manager Steve Zaffuto.
The entire four-minute film is shot by a single camera in one take as it follows the lead character, played by student Ross Chauvin of Houma, as he walks around the downtown city of Hammond at night, consumed by his thoughts. As Chauvin walks around the city, the viewer hears through narration the character thinking that he can’t escape his own thoughts that constantly bombard and confuse him.
As Chauvin’s character walks, the viewer sees a mysterious, hooded character in the distance following Chauvin, who can’t identify why he feels that he’s being followed until he comes face to face with the character, played by Brennan Allen.
“The main character is actually me,” Williams said. “The other character, played by Brennan Miller of Central, is meant to represent anxiety, always following me, unable to escape from its grasp. The plot is symbolic in that it’s meant to portray my struggle with anxiety, my constant stream of uncontrollable thinking, oftentimes negative thoughts toward myself and my life, a never-ending cycle. It’s something I’ve dealt with my entire life. It’s also relatable to my generation as a whole since many people I know struggle with anxiety as well.”
As director, Williams used a Steadicam technique to lead Chauvin through the streets, walking backwards in front of Chauvin as he operated the camera. Williams not only directed the film, he wrote, shot, and edited it as well, including sound post-production.
“The Southeastern Channel was the backbone in enabling me to win this award,” Williams said. “The quality training from dedicated and passionate instructors certainly set me up for success. The opportunities provided to me were abundant and beneficial, and the ability to network with other like-minded students was key to producing the content I imagined.”
Williams, who also won top national awards from College Broadcasters, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Associate Press College Broadcasters at Southeastern, was hired as a Promotions Producer at WGMB/WVLA-TV (FOX 44/NBC33) in Baton Rouge immediately upon graduation.
Domangue is currently the Evening News Anchor, Morning News Reporter, and Sports Director at KALB-TV Ch. 5 (NBC/CBS) in Alexandria, La.
“Never in a million years could I have dreamed about all of the awards that I’ve achieved over the past four years,” Domangue said. “I’ve been a part of some great telecasts that have placed tops in the nation. The amount of opportunities that are given to students at the Southeastern Channel are truly second to none compared to any other school in the nation. There are so many shows that students can work on, whether it is behind or in front of the camera.”
In its 19 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards. The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum cable 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston and St. Helena parishes and also on Roku, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire TV. The live 24/7 webcast can be seen on mounthermonTV.com for viewers in Washington Parish and also at www.thesoutheasternchannel.com, where video on demand is available. The Southeastern Channel can also be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.