The Rider University chapter of the National Broadcasting Society (NBS) captured first-place awards for two categories at the NBS’ 47th National Undergraduate Student Electronic Media Competition on March 13. The competition was part of the NBS-Alpha Epsilon Rho’s 68th Annual Convention in Dallas, from March 9 to 14. Besides the two first-place nods, Rider student entries also grabbed five additional honorable mentions in the other programming categories.
Rider students Gina Grosso and Dave Thomas earned first-place nods in the category of Movie Trailer for Children of Terror, while Thomas also merited top honors in the Video – Open Category for the Rensselaerville Documentary Pitch.
Grosso, with assistance from Thomas, produced Children of Terror, a documentary that details the rift between Jews and Catholics in the context of World War II and Nazi genocide, as told through the perspective of two Holocaust survivors – a German Jewish woman and a Polish Catholic woman.
“The church’s relationship with the Jews came to a turning point in response to the outbreak of Hitler’s mass murder,” Grosso wrote in promotional material for the film. “Even with this new idea of interfaith relationships, the animosity between the two factions has not been cured and anti-Semitism still exists. A primary focus of the film will be on the interfaith relationship these two women have built in spite of the resistance within their own communities to their friendship.”
The NBS award represents Grosso’s first national honor, and she was predictably proud. “I still am really excited, especially after so much time and effort. I’m ecstatic about the recognition,” she said, adding that while the final cut of the documentary has not been completed, she is already making plans to showcase Children of Terror at Rider, perhaps by the end of the spring semester.
The Rensselaerville Documentary Pitch, produced by Thomas, introduces the sleepy upstate village of Rensselaerville, N.Y., located 27 miles from Albany and 144 miles from Manhattan. Once a thriving mill town that served as a center of commerce for the region, the town has dwindled from more than 3,000 residents to about 150 in the past 100-plus years. Thomas’ stirring images of the river’s gentle falls, quaint row homes and the moss-covered stone foundations of the long-abandoned mills provide context and backdrop for his interviews with current Rensselaerville residents.
“I was introduced to the topic about two years ago by my grandfather, who owns a summer residence in Preston’s Hollow, not far from Rensselaerville,” Thomas said of his inspiration. “He gave me two books about the town, and I became interested in it.”
In October 2009, Thomas and a friend drove to the sleepy mill town to shoot some footage to be used in a pitch to develop into a longer film. “We shot it all in one day, and spoke to people we met on the street who were willing to talk to us,” he said. “I think we were able to capture a sense of what I hope to accomplish in the documentary.”
Five more student entries earned honorable mention from the panel of NBS judges, including Footnotes in the American Revolution: Col. Hand, produced by Sean Rainey and Kelly Dixon, for Video Documentary Program; The News at Rider, produced by Kevin Rafferty and Nicole Lawrence, for Video Magazine Program; The Rider Sports Report “Best Of” Show, produced by Thomas and Rafferty, for Video Sports Program; Rider vs. Marist Men’s Basketball, produced by Thomas and Rafferty, for Sports Play-by-Play Programming; and Rider Wrestling, produced by Tom Mellaci, for Video Sports Segment.
More than 85 colleges and universities have chapters in the National Broadcasting Society, whose purpose is to encourage and reward scholarship and accomplishment among students of broadcasting, to establish meaningful communication between student and professional broadcasters and to foster integrity in the use of the powerful instruments of radio, television, film, cable and its many associated businesses and industries.