e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | September 27, 2012 Twitter Facebook

Student documentary wins big

Alumna Emily Cohen '12; Amy Burkett, station manager of PBS 39; and student Brittany Garzillo '13.

One of Moravian’s opportunities for hands-on learning has produced stellar results. Moravian College alumna Emily Cohen ’12 and student Brittany Garzillo ’13 received a College Production Award from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) during the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards ceremonies on September 22 at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia.

Cohen was executive producer, editor and director of photography on a documentary produced last spring titled Three Students, Three Expressions of Art. Garzillo was the writer, reporter and producer. They received the College Production Award in the category of “Arts and Entertainment/Cultural Affairs” for the film, which focused on Moravian’s art department and detailed how three exceptional students followed their passions for the arts and used art to express themselves and illustrate who they are.

Cohen and Garzillo were part of the inaugural semester of PBS39 College Production U, a 15-week session in which television professionals from PBS39 partnered with Moravian College to produce this documentary, available for viewing at

The Emmys were a night they will never forget. “As an aspiring reporter, it's something I've dreamed of and worked so hard to make a reality,” said Garzillo.  "If someone would have told me that as senior at Moravian College, I would be nominated and then win a college production award at the regional Emmys, I never would have believed them.”

“On the first day of the Production U course, Emily and I took each other aside and said ‘We're going all the way, or we're not going at all.’ We sacrificed a lot last year to make this documentary the best it could possibly be and this is the best reward I could have had imagined,” Garzillo explained. “The award wouldn't have been possible without the help of Amy Burkett, station manager of PBS 39. She was the one who suggested we send our documentary in to NATAS Mid-Atlantic.  I'm so thankful for all the experiences I've had over the years while at Moravian.”

The duo has had a great deal of hands-on experience already in the news and entertainment industry. Cohen interned as an editor and producer at two prestigious locations in New York City, HBO and Sugarcamp Films, an independent production company.  Garzillo interned for WFMZ 69 News in the Lehigh Valley and NBC-10’s “The 10! Show” in Philadelphia, and currently interns at PBS 39.

“I love working in the editing room and Brittany wants to be a reporter,” said Cohen. This was an amazing honor and will help our careers. Even having the nomination would have helped, but winning is even better. Not many people our age can say they’ve won an award through the Emmys.” Cohen added that the two worked together remarkably well “We fused workflows, and were highly organized and worked at a professional level because of the professional experience we’ve already had.”

The winning version of the documentary was ten minutes long, down from the original 23 minutes. “We went back into the editing room and cut it by almost 50 percent because that’s what it needed to tell the story in the most efficient way and to hold the audience,” Cohen said.
When their names were announced as winners, Cohen took a minute to react. “I was so nervous, I couldn’t hear or focus for a moment, until Brittany moved, then I realized we had won. It was surreal,” she said.

“Winning this award makes me even more certain Emily and I can compete with the best of them in this career field,” Garzillo said.  “I'm so excited to see where it takes both of us. Hopefully this isn't the last we see of the Emmys.”

Three Students, Three Expressions of Art was written, filmed and edited by Cohen and Garzillo and their classmates, Rachael Hood '13, Shannon Smith, '13, Jonathan Gutierrez, '13 and Michael Clark, '12. Professionals from PBS39 taught and guided them throughout the process.

Moravian’s students were competing against other, larger colleges and universities with dedicated communications departments. Moravian’s participation in Production U is an example of the College’s unique programming that provides hands-on learning experiences for students through diverse collaborative efforts. 

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter also awarded six College Student Awards for Excellence in College Production. Students honored in these categories received a certificate and a Crystal Pillar award. The presentation of the Emmy® is intended to serve as an incentive for the ongoing pursuit of excellence for those working in the television industry and to focus public attention on outstanding cultural, educational, technological, entertainment and news achievements in television. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of NATAS represents more than 700 industry professionals working in regional television and is best known for organizing the annual Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards, which recognizes excellence in news, programming and individual achievement in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.