Southeastern students win two Emmy Awards

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 Southeastern students win Emmy Awards
by: Tonya Lowentritt

SOUTHEASTERN STUDENTS WIN EMMY AWARDS- Southeastern Louisiana University students were recently honored with prestigious Emmy Awards by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Suncoast Region. Pictured, from left, are Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager and class instructor; Steven Farmer of Ponchatoula; Amanda Triay of Mandeville, Amanda Kitch of Covington, Trevor Vampran of Prairieville, Jonathan Calhoun of Baton Rouge, and Steve Zaffuto, channel operations manager and class instructor.

     HAMMOND – For the fifth straight year, student-produced programs for the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access station, have won coveted Emmy Awards.
     “Insomniac,” a short film by Amanda Triay of Big Branch, won an Emmy in the “Long Form (Fiction)” category while “Drink A Beer,” a music video by Trevor Vampran of Prairieville, won in the “Photographer” category.
     Both films were produced as assignments in field video production classes in the Electronic Media Concentration of Southeastern’s Department of Languages and Communication.  Instructors were Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon and Steve Zaffuto, channel operations manager. The films air on the Southeastern Channel as part of the student film show “Cinematheque.”
     “Working with the Southeastern Channel has exposed me to a variety of filming scenarios,” Vampran said. “I’ve worked on everything from football games to ballet recitals. I learned something new from each Southeastern Channel production. I was able to learn a lot of diverse production strategies in a short amount of time.”
     The productions were recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the Suncoast Region comprised of television stations and production entities in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.
     “Insomniac” is a psychological thriller that tells the story of William, who can’t sleep after a tragic accident has left his fiancée in a coma. William is haunted by a spirit who tells him the only way he can sleep again is to kill her.
     “It’s unbelievable,” Triay said. “I’m excited and ecstatic and don’t even quite know how to feel. I just feel so blessed. I now know there are no limits to my future work.”
     Triay produced, directed, shot, edited and created special effects makeup for the film. Her fiancée, Christian Carlin a Southeastern student from Folsom, wrote the screenplay and contributed an original musical score. Ethan Wooley of Covington played the part of William, while Alison Kemp of Miami, played the haunting spirit.
     Vampran was not only the cinematographer, but also the producer, director and editor for “Drink A Beer,” a popular song by country artist Luke Bryan dedicated to his brother and sister who passed away early in his career.
     “I feel honored and proud that my work showed Emmy-level excellence and quality,” Vampran said. “It has already made me personally proud and given me huge motivation to keep striving for greatness in photography.”
     In Vampran’s video the lead character, played by fellow communication student Adam Hebert of Prairieville, constantly returns to his favorite spot on the river where he drinks a beer and reflects on happy memories shared there with his best friend, a police officer who has just died in the line of duty. The deceased friend is played by Dillon Thompson, an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy.
     Vampran’s cinematography features the use of early-morning, natural light coupled with panoramic landscapes filmed at his grandparents’ house in the Maurepas swamp on the Amite River.
     “In a way it’s a symbol of who I am as a person and videographer,” Vampran said.  “I got to capture some of the natural beauty of Louisiana in a way that I can show the world. It really shows that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help from my family and friends.”
     Vampran is a cancer survivor who has been cancer-free for five years. He does promotional spots for St. Jude’s Hospital and was featured in renowned filmmaker Ken Burns’ documentary “The Emperor of All Maladies.”
     NATAS awards Emmys to those productions achieving excellence in television at the highest level. Winners are selected after rounds of judging against the Emmy standard of excellence, not against other productions. Categories with nominees often have no winner.
     “The Emmy is the highest honor you can receive in television,” said Settoon. “Since so few are given, we’re absolutely thrilled that Amanda and Trevor are deservedly joining such elite company with this highest reward for their talent, creativity and hard work. Their quality is such that you’d never think these were student productions.”
     Triay also won honorable mention Emmy recognition in the “Music Video” category for her video, “Heathens.”  Three other Southeastern Channel students received honorable mention Emmy honors.
     Steven Farmer of Ponchatoula was honored in the “Editor” category for his music video, “Perfect,” and in the “Photographer” category for his videography composite.
     Amanda Kitch of Covington won an honorable mention Emmy for “Public Service Announcement” with her PSA, “A Stronger You.” Jonathan Calhoun of Baton Rouge won an honorable mention for his PSA “Words Hurt.”
     The Southeastern Channel has won 15 Emmys with 56 nominations in the past 12 years. It has won over 300 national, international and regional awards during that span. The channel can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes. The live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at and on mobile devices at

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