Gardner-Webb Professor Wins International Award from Broadcast Education Association

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Dr. Jim Lawrence’s Scottish-Gaelic Short Film Receives “Award of Excellence” 

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – A unique Scottish-Gaelic short film written and produced by Gardner-Webb University Communication Studies Professor Dr. Jim Lawrence has received the Award of Excellence for a Narrative Video from the BEA (Broadcast Education Association). His film was an adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story The Tell-Tale Heart (An Cridhe Cabaireach). The BEA Festival of Media Arts is an international exhibition of award-winning university faculty and student works. Winners receive recognition for their projects during the annual convention in Las Vegas, Nev. Screenings will also take place at the event April 7-10.

“I was happy that our video received this recognition because the BEA Media Arts awards are awarded by other university video professors – our peers,” said Lawrence.  “I’ve especially appreciated the genuine excitement of Gaelic speakers who responded to the announcement.  I think they feel like this award gives some recognition to the Gaelic language.”

Lawrence first became acquainted with Scottish-Gaelic through music about five years ago.  Then he began taking a class online from the Atlantic Gaelic Academy via Skype.  Lawrence then got the idea of translating an English story into Gaelic and settled on The Tell-Tale Heart.  Even with a number of years studying Gaelic under his belt, he realized that it was very difficult to speak.  When it came to finding a polished translator of the language to appear in his film, it just so happened that his Skype instructor was not only a Gaelic teacher, but also an actor.  That individual, Angus MacLeod of Nova Scotia, agreed to come to Boiling Springs, N.C., and join a small cast that included Dr. Joseph Webb, professor of journalism in the GWU Dept. of Communications Studies, and Matthew Hand, a GWU graduate and free-lance photographer.

Lawrence produced the DVD in hopes of bringing something creative and entertaining to the screen, while also providing a valuable learning tool for anyone interested in the Scottish-Gaelic language and culture. His version of The Tell-Tale Heart, a story of madness and murder, was released on DVD last summer in three versions: Gaelic narration only, Gaelic narration with English subtitles, and English with Gaelic subtitles. It is currently available at amazon.com.

“Angus was thrilled with the award and remarked that he is always amused when a Gaelic language video is recognized in this way by judges who didn’t understand a word,” said Lawrence.

The Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts is a competitive festival open to BEA members (faculty and students).  The Festival awarded nearly $30,000 in prizes in 2012 after receiving nearly 175 faculty entries and nearly 1,000 student entries in 15 competitions.  Separate competitions range from dramatic narratives, non-fiction documentary, sports, audio and even interactive multimedia. More information is available online at beaweb.org.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for career success and for engaged, responsible citizenship in their professional, civic, and spiritual communities.