BEA’s Festival of Media Arts Returns After Two-Year Hiatus; Awards Students and Faculty Members in 15 Categories

After two years of announcing award winners virtually and sending trophies to recipients in the mail, the BEA’s Festival of Media Arts laid out the red carpet for this year’s winners to get their moments in the spotlight. The event took place on Monday, April 2

5th. Each recipient received a $1,000 cash prize made possible by the Diana King Memorial Endowment.

Dominick Acierno, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, won a Best of Festival Award for his piece titled “Community Growth.” He said it is an incredible honor to be rewarded for his work.

“Kind of surprised that I am here, but I am very honored,” Acierno said. “The video was done pretty last minute at the end of the semester. Because of COVID and all the restrictions that we had in place, we were unable to film as much as we would’ve liked to. But I’m really happy with how the team was able to help me out a lot and we were able to get this project done. I’m really happy with the way that it turned out.”

Acierno said that he was able to attend several sessions while in Las Vegas at the conference, and he is excited to be able to apply what he’s learned to his current job.

“Lessons that I can take from some of the creative courses I sat in on, editing and color grading which is something I’m wanting to better in my work,” Acierno said.

Vic Costello, outgoing president of the BEA and associate professor at Elon University, said that winning a Best of Festival Award is like a mini-Oscar for people who do creative work. 

“You’re being recognized literally, the 19 recipients represented the top 1% of those 1500 entries that came into the festival,” Costello said. “So, it’s very difficult to achieve Best of Festival status within this organization. It’s the cream of the crop.” 

List of Festival Winners:

Faculty Audio Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Ehky Ya Masr’s How Egypt’s Water Crisis Impacts Food Production; Kim Fox, The American University in Cairo
  • Best of Festival: Artist SpotlightPatsy Cline; Dutch Hoggatt, Harding University

Student Audio Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Escape; Adam B. Chilcote, Missouri State University 

Faculty Documentary Competition:

  • Best of Festival: MACHINE: Vivat Apparatus; Becky Beamer & Patrick Rhodes, OSMOLET University

Student Documentary Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Run, Regas, Run; Victor Prieto, University of Florida

Faculty Film & Video Competition:

  • Best of Festival: UMTV PrimeTime: Episode Two; Gina Presson, Ed Julbe, Ben Ezzy & Liam Fabre, University of Miami

Student Film & Video Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Cupidella and the Rainbow; Sean Eitniear, Chloe Jacobson & Kayla Knopp, Huntington University
  • Best of Festival: Community Growth; Dominick Acierno, University of Maryland, College Park

Faculty Interactive Multimedia Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Blank Spaces: An Interactive Timeline; Ringo Jones & Lane Kendall, University of Arkansas

Student Interactive Multimedia Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Distanced Immersion; Hunter Bennett, Miguel Arturo Serrano Madrona, Sara Brinsfield& Marianna Strykhar Dobryanska, West Virginia University & University of Seville

Faculty News Competition:

  • Best of Festival: Ehky Ya Masr’s The Syrian Shawarma Takeover; Kim Fox and Calvin Harrison, The American University in Cairo

Student News Competition:

  • Best of Festival (Radio): Electric Grid Infrastructure; Ryan Gaylor, University of Oklahoma
  • Best of Festival (Television): Water Pipeline; Katelyn Keenehan, Arizona State University 
  • Best of Festival (Newscast or News Magazine): Rising From The Rubble; WUFT News Staff, University of Florida

Faculty Scriptwriting Competition:

  • Best of Festival: The Fifth Story; Cory Byers, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

Student Scriptwriting Competition:

  • Best of Festival: The Witcher – The Bard’s Ballad; Lucas-Mario Dieguez, Jesus Huerta, Dan Oliszewicz, Chelsey Rayne & Carlos Reyes, Purdue University Northwest

Faculty Sports Competition:

  • Best of Festival: UC vs Xavier Women’s Basketball; Joe Brackman, University of Cincinnati

Student Sports Competition: 

  • Best of Festival: Ball State Sports Link: 2021 Men’s Basketball Intro; Faith Denig, Ball State University 


Student Two-Year Colleges Competition

  • Best of Festival: Hike in the Dunes; Cameron Thurmond, Glendale Community College

Along with the awards were given out at the ceremony, two “Festival Chair’s Awards” were given out to one student winner and one faculty winner.

Becky Beamer, an associate professor at OSMOLET University in Norway, won the “Festival Chairs Award” for faculty members and said that the process to submit her documentary for an award was a long time in the making.

“For me, this was about six years in the making,” Beamer said. “I knew right away that I wanted to submit for an award because I love the BEA family and how they support the peers and other people working and teaching in the creative media arts.” 

Beamer said that the best advice she could to anyone thinking about shooting a documentary is to begin right away.

“Stop talking about it, start doing it and make it happen,” Beamer said. 

Adam Chilcote, a current Missouri State University student, won the “Faculty Chair’s Award” for student entries and said that he is blown away by the honor.

“I didn’t know what to expect, I thought that one of the other projects would win for sure,” Chilcote said. “Then they said Escape and my jaw dropped. I did not think I would get the best of the best, that’s pretty rare.” 

Chilcote said that the best advice he can give for any future entries into the competition is to block out the noise and focus on your project.

“Do the best that you can no matter what anyone is saying or if you don’t think that your work is very good,” Chilcote said. “If you enjoy doing it, do it and do it to the best of your ability and you never know what can happen. I mean, I never expected to be here, but I am.”

Kim Fox, a professor from The American University in Cairo, received a total of three awards from the festival. Two of those being from the “Faculty Audio” and “Faculty News” competitions.

This article was contributed by Jacob Hall, Canaan Sims, and Abigail Clark.