SUTTON, W.Va. – September 25, 2017 – Three nominees are in the running for the West Virginia FILMmaker of the Year Award. The 2017 nominees are: Larry Dowling, Production Manager/DP/Multi-Camera Director at West Virginia Public Broadcasting; Diana Sole proprietor of MotionMasters, Inc.; and Stephen Schmidt, Sound Designer.
The award will be presented at the awards reception of the 18th annual West Virginia FILMmakers Festival’s on Sunday, October 8, at 5:30pm at the Landmark Studio for the Arts in Sutton.
The West Virginia FILMmaker of the Year Award is a lifetime achievement award, which goes to the filmmaker whose most recent work or lifetime work has had the utmost effects on the West Virginia film industry. The West Virginia FILMmakers Festival Board of Directors oversees the selection. The nomination committee consists of previous award recipients, the festival board, and industry professionals from around the state to arrive at the broadest consensus possible.
Larry Dowling: Director of Photography, Gaffer, Director, Production Manager. Larry Dowling has worked for 27 years as a Director of Photography, multi-camera remote/studio director, Grip, and Gaffer for high-end video productions, 16/35mm film productions, multi-camera live performance productions. There is no question he is one of two of West Virginia’s most accomplished Gaffers – Larry is the single person sought after by out-of-state major productions in West Virginia.
At the same time, Larry is the Production Manager/DP/Multi-Camera Director at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Morgantown. His past, but recent major productions have been as Gaffer for The Mine Wars (2015), a two-hour nationally broadcast documentary on The American Experience; Gaffer on Jay: A Rockefeller’s Journey (2015), a regional Emmy award winning documentary about the vista worker, turned senior senator; Director of Photography on inside Appalachia: 1000 Year Flood (2016), a documentary about the devastating flood in WV that killed 23 people; and Director of Photography on The First 1000 Days (2015), a regional Emmy award winning documentary that helps parents of any income level learn how the first three years shape a whole life. He also works freelance productions that he wants and WVU sports that he wants.
Diana Sole proprietor of MotionMasters, Inc. in Charleston. Ms. Sole has been producing creative and original productions for more than 30 years. She is the recipient of an Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young and was selected as a Who’s Who in WV Business from the State Journal. A multi-faceted company, Ms. Sole has produced hundreds of productions that both entertain and educate – from commercials and educational videos to documentaries and other long-form videos. Ms. Sole’s latest work, which will be released in the near future, is “Outlier: The Story of Katherine Johnson,” a former research mathematician for NASA. Johnson was one of the subjects featured in the motion picture “Hidden Figures” and is a native of White Sulphur Springs, WV. MotionMasters was the first WV-based company to snag a cable network contract to create original content for the Fido-TV channel for a multi-episode series called, “Which Woof’s for You?”, which is broadcast through the DISH network. Some of her other prominent documentaries include: “The Soul of the Senate” (about Senator Robert C. Byrd), “A Principled Man” (about Rev. Leon Sullivan), and “A Moving Monument” (about the WV State Capitol). Her companies’ educational videos are distributed around the globe and delivers content that’s clear, innovative, and entertaining for students and lifelong learners. Ms. Sole, who celebrates her 30th anniversary in film production this year, is the perfect recipient to receive the FILMmaker of the Year Award.
Stephan Schmidt is one of West Virginia’s go-to sound professionals when a seasoned hand is needed for a film, video, commercial or public TV project. In addition to a number of features he has worked on in the state, Steve completed more than 50 shows for Pie Town Productions, out of Los Angeles, doing sound for its show “House Hunters,” which airs on HGTV, as well as a regular location shooter for the “Animal Planet” cable series.
Previous FILMmaker of the Year winners include: Chip Hitchock (2016); Jacob Young (2015); Lawrence Cumbo (2014); John Nakashima (2013); Bob Gates, deceased (2012); Robert Tinnell (2011); Mari-Lynn Evans (2010); Russ Barbour (2009); Steve Gilliland (2008); C. Shawn Bennett (2007); Gerry Milnes (2006); B.J. Gudmundsson (2005); Raymond Schmitt, deceased (2004); and Daniel Boyd (2003).
The FILMmaker of the Year Award, since its inception, has designed by artist Bill Hopen (billhopen.com).