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Video Production Unit's 'First Year' honored at 29th Annual Telly Awards

July 25, 2008

Chris Finkle
(315) 443-1219

Chris Finkle

"First Year: Episode 2," produced by the Video Production Unit (VPU) of Syracuse University Information Technology and Services (ITS), won a silver Telly Award in the health and wellness category of this year's competition.

Don Torrance, associate professor, and Fiona Chew, professor, in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, were executive producers for the program. "First Year" was directed by Neal Coffey, manager of VPU, and written by Bron Adam from the Office of Faculty Development. Mary Kasprzyk from VPU was associate producer and editor, and Roxane Niezabytowski from VPU was associate producer and sound recordist. Several VPU work-study students served as production assistants.

The Telly Awards honor the best local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions and work created for the Web. Since 1978, the Telly Awards have been the most prestigious awards in advertising and video and film production, and have recognized the finest in creative work. The 29th Annual Telly Awards received more than 14,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

"First Year" is a drama set at a fictitious university. It focuses on student health issues, including food, smoking, alcohol abuse and unsafe sex. The program features two students and their friends from their first arrival on campus and follows the conflicts that arise as they balance academics and social life while living in a residence hall. The story of their struggle with the fine line between potentially risky behavior and healthy lifestyles is intended to raise awareness of health issues in a college environment and promote discussion among viewers.

"First Year" was produced as part of SU's campus Healthy Monday campaign, which promotes Monday as a day dedicated to increasing health awareness, empowerment and action.

Episodes one and two of "First Year" have been running on the Orange Television Network (OTN) this past academic year. VPU has concluded filming of the next four episodes at more than 45 locations around the SU campus. These episodes will be edited in the next few weeks and will run on OTN this fall. The executive producers are currently exploring distribution at other universities and colleges.

For more information, contact the Video Production Office at 443-5644. To view clips of the show, visit

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