Big Night in the Big City

June 7th, 2017 By Jennifer Isenhart Documentary Production, Featured, Idaho Film Production | No Comments

Big things can come from small places.  That may be the lesson from our experience this weekend at the Northwest Emmy Awards.

We entered our most recent film, Idaho the Movie 2 in the Emmy Awards this winter.  An Emmy Award is the top accolade for programs that broadcast on television.  It’s always tough deciding which categories to enter because, frankly, the other entrants from the big Northwest markets of Seattle and Portland are so well funded and so talented, it’s hard as a production company from little ole Boise, Idaho to go up against them.  Especially in the Documentary category.   That’s often the category where producers, photographers and editors have taken months or years to craft a film– and it shows.  But we decided to go for it and entered Idaho the Movie 2 in the categories of Documentary Cultural, Program Length Photography and Program Editing.  We were happily surprised this spring when the film was nominated in all three categories.  And then, we saw the list of competition that was also nominated: Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Seattle Channel, several Seattle Production Companies and more.

2017 Northwest Emmy Awards

From left: David diDonato, Bill Krumm, Susie Koether, Jennifer Isenhart, Tom Hadzor, Kevin Eslinger at the 54th Annual NW Emmy Awards in Seattle

But we were optimistic that our scenic nature documentary about Idaho had a shot at winning, so our entire crew made the long trek to Seattle for the 54th Annual Emmy Awards.   We hoped we’d take home gold in at least one of the categories.  As the night unfolded, we were at first disappointed… and then totally blown away by what happened.

The Program Editing category came up first.   This list of nominees flashed on the screen, our hearts stopped temporarily, and then the host said the famous words, “And the Emmy goes to…”  but he called someone else’s name!  What a bummer!  We didn’t win the editing award.  We were disappointed but did our best to shrug it off and hoped that we had a shot in the other two categories.  But then, the host came back out on stage to announce that there was a second Emmy in the editing category, something that happens occasionally, but not very often.   He repeated the famous words that make your heart stop for a moment, “And the Emmy goes to… Idaho the Movie 2!  Yay!  We did win!

NW Emmys, documentary, Emmy Award, Idaho, Film

Seven documentaries from producers across the Northwest were nominated in the category of Documentary – Cultural

Next up was the big category: Documentary Cultural. There were seven documentaries nominated from television stations and production companies across the Northwest. The nominees projected up on screen and we collectively held our breath as the host called the award, “And the Emmy goes to… Idaho the Movie 2!” We won the Documentary category!   We piled on stage and Tom and I thanked everyone we could think of in 30 seconds or less (the Emmy folks prompt you many times to keep your speeches short, so we have many more thank yous yet to make, see below).  Back stage we signed for the award and then we had to hustle back to our table because Program Photography was up next.   We couldn’t imagine winning in all three categories, but the host stepped up on stage and one more time he said those heart stopping words, “And the Emmy goes to… Idaho the Movie 2!”   We went 3 for 3 and we were all totally blown away.

The entire crew (and some young cast members) of Idaho the Movie 2 accept the Emmy Award for Best Documentary Cultural.

It’s wonderful to do the work that we do.  We get great satisfaction from just completing a project knowing that we did our best.  But to get this kind of validation from our peers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska is honestly a thrill.  We’re so thankful to live in Boise, Idaho and even more thankful that we have the tools and the talent to go up against the big city guys and take home the prize.

And as for those thank yous, we have many:

We’d like to thank our sponsors, Air St. Luke’s, Idaho Fish & Game, The Nature Conservancy, Idaho Mountain Touring, Idaho AgriBeef, Peterson Auto Group, Brundage Mountain Resort, and Idaho Power.  We couldn’t have done it without you.   Thank you.

We’d like to thank all the supporters of our Kickstarter Campaign and particularly Ruth Hadzor for her generous donation and support of our filmmaking in so many ways.

We’d like to thank Tim Woodward, who wrote a beautiful script and narrates the film.  This is our fourth project with Tim and we’ve enjoyed working with him every time.

We’d like to thank Craig Carter for all your work on sales for the film.  We value your support tremendously.

We’d like to thank all the artists who took time out of their lives to shoot segments with us for the film, Suzanne Lee Chetwood, Eilen Jewell, Andy Kerfoot, Greg Sims, Norm Nelson, and Jay Carlisle.

We’d also like to thank our friends at KTVB Television for their support of our films, especially Doug Armstrong, Dee Sarton and Larry Gebert.

And our good friends Shannon and Verrick Bach for snowmobiling into Burgdorf Hot Springs with us, to Greg Travelstead for hiking into the White Clouds wilderness with us, and to all the other people who provided tips and support along the way.

Congratulations to the other Emmy Award winners and all the nominees.






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