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UC Blue Ash Storyteller Wins International Award

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Bill Jennings is a talented storyteller who has collaborated with two of his colleagues to earn international acclaim.

Jennings is a communication professor at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College with an expertise in short films and a focus on civic engagement and community service.  He teamed with Nancy Jennings, a communication professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC) who is also his wife, and Kent Meloy, creative director in UC’s eLearning Center, to create a short film project that won an award at the My Hero International Film Festival in Santa Monica, California this past November.  Additional contributors to the project included UC professors Michael Sharp and Bob Jonason, as well as Jesse Montgomery and Bevin Blankenbuehler with UC’s Red & Black Productions.

The competition included more than 300 short films from all over the world with a common theme – they celebrated people and projects that are making a positive difference in the world. “It is amazing how creative some of the producers are. These films are visual essays and there were some very powerful messages put into small packages,” says Bill Jennings.

Jim Cotter: An Appalachian Renaissance was submitted by the UC team and won third place in the Unsung Heroes category.  The five-minute film tells the story of a gentleman who is spending his retirement volunteering to paint people’s homes and clean up the town of Glouster, Ohio. The piece was part of the American Trustees project produced by the team. The other two videos in that project, Roger Grein: The Cheerful Giver and Janaki Venkayya: Committed to Caring, also won honorable mention at the film festival.

Jim Cotter: An Appalachian Renaissance from Ohio American Trustees on Vimeo.

“The film project connects with my overall thinking about communication because they are stories,” says Bill Jennings.  “As a communication teacher, I am well aware that narrative can shape us as people. In a world that can seem confusing, we gravitate toward stories that resonate and ring true.  That’s why we wanted to craft a few stories about good people doing noble things to help their communities.  Those are narratives I hope will endure and inspire.”

The My Hero Project was founded in 1995 with the mission of using media, art and technology to celebrate the best of humanity, one story at a time. To learn more about the project and the international film festival, go to http://myhero.com/films/festival_winners.asp. Entries that earned honorable mention are available at http://myhero.com/organizer/view3.asp?pageid=2340

About UC Blue Ash College

UC Blue Ash College is a regional college within the University of Cincinnati. It offers one of the best values in higher education with access to a nationally recognized UC education in nearly 50 degrees and certificates, as well as tuition that is about half of most colleges and universities. The college is located on a scenic 135-acre wooded campus in the heart of Blue Ash, Ohio.

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