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MIT Video Productions nominated for a third Emmy

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“I’ve heard or have been a part of concerts in Kresge for 37 years," says composer Jamshied Sharifi '83 about Jacob Collier's 2016 performance at MIT, "and that night tops them all.”
“I’ve heard or have been a part of concerts in Kresge for 37 years," says composer Jamshied Sharifi '83 about Jacob Collier's 2016 performance at MIT, "and that night tops them all.”
Photo: L. Barry Hetherington

For the third time in five years, the MIT Video Productions (MVP) team has been nominated for a New England Emmy. This year’s effort, a documentary film featuring the 2016 residency of visiting artist Jacob Collier, was produced in collaboration with MIT Music and Theater Arts (MTA).  

Since 2011, MIT Video Productions, a unit of MIT Open Learning, has been collaborating with MTA,  producing both performance documentaries and concert webcasts. “MIT has a well-known reputation for excellence in engineering, research, and science,” says Lawrence Gallagher, MVP director. “What is now becoming as well-known, is the excellence of our humanities, arts, and social sciences and most certainly, the performing arts. We have been thrilled to shine a light on that excellence.”

In 2013, MVP received their first Emmy nomination (and win) for a performance documentary piece, "Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring through Music," crafted with the MIT Wind Ensemble and featuring an original composition by  Jamshied Sharifi '83. “It was a terrific synergistic collaboration between the performing arts and media arts at MIT,” says Gallagher, adding that the project set the stage for an ongoing musical video collaboration between the two MIT communities.

Four to five times each semester, MVP records and shares concert performances from the Kresge Auditorium to a global audience via webcast. They have collaborated on approximately 30 performances to date, including concerts for the Concert Choir, the Symphony Orchestra, the Jazz Ensemble, the Wind Ensemble, and other MIT musical communities.

Frederick Harris, Jr, director of the MIT Wind and Jazz Ensembles, invited the Grammy Award-winning Collier to MIT and invited a wider group of musicians from the Boston area to perform in the concert. Led by producer/editor Jean Dunoyer ’87, MVP taped lectures, rehearsals, interviews with the artists, and the final live performance to craft a 28-minute performance documentary film. Dunoyer, whose professional credentials include years as a television documentary editor and freelance filmmaker, has worked closely with Harris, who often approaches the MVP team with creative ideas ripe for film production.

“In this piece, we worked together to uncover the intricacies of the creative process, and we witnessed this celebrated artist’s gifts as a music educator," says Dunoyer. “We recognize that art plays an enormous role in the lives of many MIT students and we are always looking for ways to creatively and artistically express it.”

This film is one of six nominated in the arts and entertainment category; the others are productions from broadcast TV stations. “It’s an honor and noteworthy to have a university video production department be recognized this way,” adds Gallagher. “It was an equal honor to bring our talents to bear in crafting stories about these amazing MIT student musicians and scholars.”

The winner of the Arts and Entertainment Emmy will be announced June 2 at the 41st Annual New England Emmy Awards Ceremony in Boston.

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