NEWS RELEASE: Documentary Produced by Pace University Students Wins Best Documentary in 2010 Indie Short Film Competition

Fifteen students in a Pace communications class taught by Prof. Maria Luskay, Ed.D., can now add “film competition winner” to their resumes. Their documentary, titled “The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands,” was chosen as Best in Category for “Documentary” in the 2010 Indie Short Film Competition. (Left: Luskay’s students filming winning documentary in Holland.)

“The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands” focuses on an Obama appointee

Next week: Belize and sustainable shrimp farming

PLEASANTVILLE, NY, March 9, 2011 – Fifteen students in a Pace University communications class taught by Professor Maria Luskay, Ed.D., can now add “film competition winner” to their resumes.

And Fay Hartog-Levin, the American Ambassador to Holland who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, can add “subject of prizewinning documentary” to hers.

Their documentary, titled “The Life of an American Ambassador: The Netherlands,” was chosen as Best in Category for “Documentary” in the 2010 Indie Short Film Competition.

The Pace students wrote, directed, filmed and produced the half-hour film that follows several days in the life of an American Ambassador. Over the 2010 spring break, the students were given full access to the Embassy and the Ambassador’s residence. They followed her to meetings, public speeches and public relations events.

“I don’t think I have ever seen my students work so hard – and love every minute of it,” said Luskay on the project’s blog, which gives a play-by-play of the trip and the project. “They began shooting at 8 am and logged and blogged until after 10 pm.”

“We are honored to have spent time with Fay Hartog-Levin,” continued Luskay. “She is an awe inspiring leader and someone that we all hold in high esteem. Her staff was incredibly accommodating and went above and beyond what we had ever anticipated. This truly was an experience that my students and I will never forget.

Next week, Luskay takes a new class to Belize, to film a documentary on Linda Thornton, a female shrimp farmer who does sustainable shrimp farming.  Media inquiries welcome. The students will blog about their activities and are available for interviews before and after their trip.

The spring class taught by Luskay is titled Producing the Documentary and in past years has taken students to Nassau, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Tuscany, to produce their own films.

“The editing process has taught the entire class how to truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into making all types of film,” said last year’s students on their blog. “We learned to understand what editors go through and the fiascos and challenges they endure.”

The students continued: “Many of us are beyond tired but are thrilled to be nearing this documentary’s final phases where we will be using dissolves and audio sweetening, transition effects, titles, and credits. Upon our completion we hope to … [enter] it into several student documentary contests and film festivals. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!”

The finger crossing worked last week then their award from the Indie Short Film Competition (ISFC) was announced. Winning filmmakers and screenwriters in the competition are “honored for their exceptional achievements and receive awards, cash prizes, merchandise, and services that can help further their careers” according to the ISFC. Winners gain international exposure and recognition in the film and screenwriting industries.

From the Indie Short Film Competition web site: The ISFC is not your usual brick and mortar film festival, it is a unique and innovative online international short film and short script competition. The main focus is to find the next generation of talented filmmakers and screenwriters. The Indie Short Film Competition is accepting entries for their 4th annual competition.

More info about the making of the winning documentary can be found on the class blog: 

The documentary can be viewed here:

About Pace University. For 105 years, Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.