by: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – A student documentary produced for the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University's cable access channel, has been named the best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc.
"McCrea 1971: Louisiana's Forgotten Rock Festival," produced by former students and now Southeastern graduates Nick Brilleaux of Hammond and Scott Caro of Mandeville, won first place in the "Best Documentary/Public Affairs" category at the 2014 College Broadcasters' National Student Production Awards convention in Seattle.
The documentary won from a field of 854 entries from all colleges and universities throughout the country. It was the eighth time that CBI has named Southeastern Channel student productions among the top four in the nation.
In addition to producing, Brilleaux and Caro wrote, directed, shot and edited the historical documentary. Both recently received graduate degrees in history.
"The skills I used in the production of McCrea 1971, as well as other projects I've worked on, are definitely owed to my three years of working at the Southeastern Channel as an undergraduate student," said Brilleaux. "Working there strengthened my work ethic, prepared me for collaborative work, and taught me the importance of taking initiative."
"We are honored to have our work recognized by CBI," Caro said. "There is tremendous artistic satisfaction involved in seeing a project develop from the conceptual stage into an award-winning documentary."
"McCrea 1971" documents the disastrous "Celebration of Life" rock music festival staged in McCrea in June 1971. The festival attracted more than 60,000 attendees from all over the United States to McCrea, a small crossroads town along the Atchafalaya River levee in upper Pointe Coupee Parish.
Advertised as Louisiana's version of Woodstock that would feature more than 70 big-name acts such as the Rolling Stones, Moody Blues and Beach Boys, the festival in reality featured only 10 bands and endured a series of calamities, including local hostility, instances of police brutality, intense summer heat, food and water shortages, and the drownings of four festival-goers in the swift-moving Atchafalaya Basin.
"It's a tremendous honor that our television and film students continue to be recognized as the very best in the country no matter how stiff the competition or how large the competing universities," said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. "It's the perfect testament to the professional quality of work of Nick and Scott, and to their talent, vision, and perseverance, to receive this high honor. We couldn't be more proud of them.
"It doesn't look like a student production at all," Settoon added. "It could easily air on network television- it's that high in quality."
The College Broadcasters award is the latest in a string of national and international awards for the documentary. Earlier this year "McCrea" won an Emmy Award for "Photography" and Emmy honorable mention for "Long Form Program" and "Editing" from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It won a national Telly Award for student documentary and a Gold Remi at the WorldFest-Houston International Film and Video Festival for "Historical Documentary."
The program has also been screened at the 2013 Southern Screen Festival and 2013 New Orleans Film Festival.
More information on the documentary is available at www.mccrea1971.com.