Prairie Grass Productions Winds Two Telly Awards

Bryan Visser, Staff Writer

Professor Mark Volkers’ documentary “The Fourth World” displayed the quality of Dordt’s Prairie Grass Productions (PGP) by winning two Telly awards.

Professor Volkers explained that the Telly Awards are mainly recognized in the film industry as a show of quality acknowledged by peers in the industry.

“A lot of film companies, if their budget only allows them to enter one competition, will choose to enter their film in the Telly Awards,” Volkers said.

The student-assisted production earned a bronze award for cinematography and a silver award for its quality as a documentary. A Silver Telly Award is the highest award offered.

“It gives recognition and in some ways it validates the product. Others within this industry who know what they’re looking for say ‘Yeah, this is worthy of our highest award,’” Volkers said.

The students that helped in the production of the film have already graduated. However, some students in the digital media department expressed their thoughts on the awards.

“There were students that shot for it, and so it really reflects well on our program here,” sophomore Andrew Miller said.

“Seeing Professor Volkers win awards like the Telly is not only encouraging because we have a professor who can do these things but it’s also that we as students have hope that we can do work that well as well,” sophomore David Mahlum said.

Volkers has occasionally commented in some of his classes that Christian productions are often seen as low quality. The two Telly Awards say otherwise.

“I think it helps validate what we’re doing because students were heavily involved in this film,” Volkers said. “It lends a lot of weight and credence to PGP, which is a big part of Dordt College. It honors PGP and in so doing it honors what Dordt College is doing in the world of media.”

“It shows that we can win awards even though we’re a small Christian college. It shows that Christians can still make a good production,” Miller said.

Despite the fact that the documentary has already been finished, presented at film festival,  and judged at the Telly Awards, the production is not yet available for public viewing.

“I can’t do public screenings or presentations, and I can’t be selling DVD’s on the internet or in stores yet. That would disqualify me from a lot of the festivals that I’m trying to get into. I would love to show this on campus. I want the premier screening to be right here at Dordt College but I can’t. I have to wait,” Volkers said.

Volkers explained that those wishing to view the film will likely have to wait until sometime this fall.

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