Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 16, 2013

Creativity awarded

Russell teens’ film wins EMPixx Award at OUS

Mike James
The Independent

IRONTON — Two young filmmakers from Russell combined a teapot, an apple and some bits of glass to make an award-winning film.

Madison Cole and Olivia Adkins found the objects in their new-media classroom at Russell High School. The sprit of creativity took over and did the rest.

The resulting stop-motion video short they titled “Time for Tea,” and it was good enough to cop second place in its category at the 14th annual EMPixx Awards at Ohio University Southern on Friday.

“Me and Olivia were just playing around with a camera,” Cole said.

The short, wordless piece depicts the apple being dunked in the teapot, where it steeps over a “flame” of paper scraps, then pours out a brew represented by the glass pieces.

As short as it is, the video manages to inject a bit of comedy as a hand chases the teapot lid around the table. The piece was improvised.

The video’s creators said stop-motion is a painstaking technique that can be frustratingly slow, but results in an end product worth the effort.

“It’s time-consuming, and I’m not a patient person,” Adkins said. “But when you put it together it turns into something cool.”

The awards program is the product of OUS Electronic Media Program director Don Moore’s goal to provide a showcase for local high-school media talent.

Participating schools enter their projects in various electronic media categories and spend a morning in workshops with media experts, most of them graduates of the OUS program.

“The biggest asset of the Electronic Media Program was access to a lot of tools and equipment,” said Isaac Stambaugh, a former Ashlander who went through the program in the early 2000s and built a career in video production.

Stambaugh presented a workshop on producing feature films, and participants got a sneak peek at the trailer for a movie he is co-producing and hopes to release in September.

Titled “A Strange Brand of Happy,” the rom-com stars Christian artist Rebecca St. James and features Academy Award winner Shirley Jones.

 The hands-on approach at OUS, where Stambaugh was using top-shelf video production equipment early in his academic career, led to swift employment when he graduated, he said.

Stambaugh went to work for a Cincinnati TV station as soon as he graduated and during the next three years worked on 71 episodes of the station’s music video show. From there he went to a megachurch in Cincinnati where he got into filmmaking and made five films in the ensuing five years for the church.

A year ago he and two associates opened their own production company.

Besides the Russell team’s second-place award in the animation category, one other Kentucky school was honored. Fleming County High received first place for its video commercial production.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.