Category Archives: Awards

Seasons Greetings from DUO!

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to review the past few months and that we’ve been working on.  So, what have we been up to?

Attending the 2016 TIVA-DC Peer Awards for one!  It’s one of the big highlights, both recently, and over the course of the year and it was another resounding success for us; we took home another set of awards, including:

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L-R: Jim Pennington, Robin C. Farrell, Brian Pennington, DL Moody, Dave Garner

A Special Recognition was also awarded to Jim Pennington: the Distinguished Service Award!

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Congratulations, Jim!

Our appreciation goes out to TIVA-DC for another year of recognition.  We’re already looking forward to next year!

We also went back into the studio for our client SOLIDWORKS for a number of videos; some featuring their product, Draftsight, which was the first of many shoots at DC Visionaries in Rockville, MD.  

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For others, we got to work with Kevin Brennan again to announce the approaching event, SOLIDWORKS World 2017…

Continue reading Seasons Greetings from DUO!

A Winning Team

Vision, execution and reception are all on equal footing here at DUO.  It’s about the journey and the outcome.  As stated on our website:

Our video production services span all phases of a project; from concept development through distribution, and any part thereof…we look for ways to make your project unique, and speak specifically to your needs…We provide high quality results at highly competitive rates.

As a result of our blend of creativity and professionalism, we have accumulated a collection of awards, a large portion of which comes from the Television, Internet and Video Association (TIVA) of DC.  TIVA is a non-profit association of media professionals (companies and individuals) in the National Capital region. The mission of TIVA-DC is to connect the media production community to jobs, resources and educational opportunities. The Peer Awards, sponsored by TIVA, is the largest film/video competition in the Mid-Atlantic region and culminates in a gala at the National Press Club and other prestigious venues with an average of 300 attendees.  As DUO and our independent film channel Star Wipe Films, we have acquired the following awards since as early as 2009:

  • 9 Gold Peer Awards
  • 11 Silver Peer Awards
  • 3 Bronze Peer Awards

Among the winning projects that earned these awards include our 48Hour Film, Welcome to the Neighborhood (which also won us a few awards at Filmapalooza 2013 and a Selection in the Short Film Corner for Festival de Cannes 2013) and our own short film, Apocalypse Rock, which TIVA-DC awarded us specifically for Program/Series Promo Under $10k for the film trailer, Independent Short, Acting, Editing: Fiction, Production Design, and Sound Design.

We’ve also received awards almost every year that we have participated in the 48 Hour Film Project and 29 Days Later competitions.

***Update: as of November 2016, Game of CAD and Once Upon A Bedroom have also earned Peer Awards; Gold and Silver, respectively.

Continue reading A Winning Team

Recap: May 2016

In spite of fourteen straight days of rain last month, we kept busy and motivated by staying on the move.  We went on location to the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, one of our long-standing clients for a video shoot in honor of Vivian Bass, current CEO set to retire this year.  We shot and edited two videos for the Church of Christ at Manor Woods, both of which were used for a big successes at t in the words of senior pastor Dyke McCord, “the event was a huge success and the videos went over great – having the desired effect!”

We recorded a second round of testimonial videos at Arachnid Works, which happened to be on one of the few bright and sunny days of the month, which gave us a few challenges for lighting.  Towards the end of the month, we attended the Best Of the Washington, DC 48 Hour Film Project at the AFI Silver Theatre (where we also screened Apocalypse Rock last March).  Check out our film, Once Upon A Bedroom below!

We were in great company this year; many congratulations to Crash of Rhinos for multiple wins on their film, Rabbit Hole!

Regarding Apocalypse Rock, Brian attended the End of Days Film Festival, where the film picked up another award for Best Comedy!  Watch the video of Brian winning and answering audience questions.

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Even better, Apocalypse Rock DVD and Blu-Rays are nearly ready!  Final audio finishes have been sent to and returned from Studio Unknown and menus are being finessed.

We’re so looking forward to finishing the project and finally being able to share it with everyone.  Stay tuned!

Top Five Short Films

We hear it all the time: “less is more.”  But how do you accomplish that effectively?  These short films are some of the best examples of how to tell a compelling story in beautifully executed short form.

 

1. George Lucas In Love

Writer’s block is the worst; especially for 1967 USC college student, George Lucas.  When a young woman with an unusual hairstyle becomes his muse, he begins to see that he is surrounded by inspiration.

2. Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche explores a fleeting moment between two strangers, revealing their brief connection in a hyper real fantasy.
Watch the “Making of” here.

3. Grandma’s Not A Toaster

Three siblings plot to steal their ailing Grandmother’s fortune, without realizing Grandma has a plot of her own.

4A Cat In Paris

Dino, a precocious pet cat that leads a double life in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris. By day he lives with Zoe, a little mute girl whose mother, Jeanne, is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night, he sneaks out the window to work with Nico, a slinky cat burglar with a big heart.

5. Bis Gleich

Albert and Marta, both in their late 70s, live across the street from one another in a bustling section of Berlin’s Mitte. Every day at 9:00 am, the two neighbors meet – each in their respective windows – to watch the world unfold.

Why We Do The 48 Hour Film Project

Among our many specialities and adventures, the DUO Team produces short films by participating in 48 Hour Film Festivals on a very regular basis; in particular, the Washington DC and Baltimore 48 Hour Film Projects under Star Wipe Films,our subsidiary company.  We have been doing so since 2003 in Atlanta, GA and, as such, have accumulated quite the collection of films, with a reputable stack of awards under our belt, including Best Film for Welcome to the Neighborhood, three for Best Cinematography, two for Best Editing, two for Best Special Effects, and two for Audience Favorite.  When Welcome to the Neighborhood won best film in the 2012 Baltimore 48, the team went on to screen at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

The way DUO sees it, a 48 Hour Project is a great exercise in active filmmaking participation, by being forced to create in a specific, condensed time frame, with elements shared by all participants (namely a genre, drawn at random, a character, prop and line of dialogue).  At first glance, such an endeavor seems all too limiting and an unnecessary increase to one’s stress level.  Why do it?

Because it inevitably leaves you with a finished product.  In the filmmaking, completing a film can be more than half the battle.   It is all too easy to get swamped and smothered by editing or throw in the towel before getting out of pre-production, but a 48 Hour Film Project, you are forced to finish what you start and you learn a great deal about how to doing so.  Furthermore, such an exercise demands resourcefulness and improvisation, as well as the implicitness of thinking ahead.  Despite having the specific elements to work into your story, you are left with a great deal of work to do to make the film whole and cohesive around those elements.  It can often bring out skills you didn’t even know you have; skills that are vital to filmmaking on a larger scale.

There is a built-in showcase for your completed film, through which there is always audience feedback and the opportunity for prizes and awards to the networking before and after the screenings.   When the Baltimore 48 instated a “Best Of The Fest” Screening as part of their award-giving ceremony, Star Wipe’s films have never failed to make the cut.  In 2013, however, Brian announced that we would not be returning to the Baltimore 48 the following year due to the upcoming production of Apocalypse Rock, for which we needed to devote all our time and resources.

That said, after a swift production phase of “ARock,” a successful IndieGogo “Finishing Funds” Campaign and premiere, the film has been making the rounds at multiple festivals and competitions, winning several awards and garnering lots of positive feedback.  In the interim and new phase of waiting for results, however, it happened to be time, once again, for the Baltimore 48 and the team realized that they did miss participating.  There is a draw to produce a project on your own terms, without any forced framework—to just “get out there and do it”—but there is also a uniqueness to the 48 that facilitates content to be generated in such a way that doesn’t happen under any other circumstances.  So, in a last-minute decision, we rallied a team together—though a much smaller team than in previous years—and tossed our hat back into the ring.

Last year, we were given a roll of tape, the character Q. Treller, a secret society member,  and the line, “sometimes the best answer is no answer.”  We drew Thriller/Suspense as our genre and we were off.  This was also the first project we took on with Robin Farrell as part of our team; she has since become DUO Media’s first full-time employee.

And thus lies another benefit of the 48 Hour Project; networking.  It’s a cliche, but an honest one.  The 48 is a great opportunity for meeting other local filmmakers and creative people, as well as making new connections that can grow beyond that initial forum.

The resulting film of 2015, simply titled “Q,” earned us two more awards for our collection: Best Sound Design and Best Directing.  As in previous years, the experience was a good one.  As Karen says, whether you can participate each year “depends on…life,” but the desire to make films in this way was definitely reinstated.  So much so that we participated in the Washington, DC 48 at the end of April 2016 and it was just as much fun as the last.  Even more so, as we were able to choose between two categories and we challenged ourselves by going with the less-familiar option of COMEDY.  We learned a lot and that, too, is one of the most significant parts of why we do this at all; to learn, grow and allow ourselves the chance to become better filmmakers.  It only takes one weekend and a few willing volunteers.

What have you got to lose?

Dining in West Chester

While on the road this month, we got the chance to experience the best of downtown West Chester, Pennsylvania.  Here are our top five dining spots from the weekend:

1. Gemelli Dessert Cafe
This delectable little shop was located right across from the festival venue and, as such, we stopped in multiple times between film blocks.  Gelato and expresso; what’s not to love?

2. The Classic Diner (pictured below)
An upscale diner with all the staples of American dining, plus a plethora of modern dishes for the vegetarians in our group.  Our waiter also happened to look like a young Sean Astin.

3. Jaco Juice and Taco Bar
Brian was in the mood for tacos while Robin was a craving a fruit and veggie smoothie.  We found both at Jaco’s.  Organic ingredients, plentiful portions at reasonable prices and lots of flavor.  Definitely stop in if you’re in the area.

4. Lorenzo & Sons Pizza
Hands down, the largest pizza slices and pies we have ever seen.  And tasty, too!

5. Calios – The Calzone King
Our hours were crazy with the road trip down and staying out later than normal to catch as many of the films at the fest as possible.  Most places were closed down, but Calios was open until 4am!  While we weren’t up quite that late, it was a great discovery for us when we were craving a midnight snack.

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DUO Brings Home 4 More Peer Awards

1292974_1537446866471985_7796271075077338792_oPermit me to pat ourselves on the back for a moment. Normally on these blogs, I try to focus on the work of others, but I wanted to share with you some exciting news.  We won four TIVA Peer Awards on Saturday, November 8, 2014, and we couldn’t be more excited!

10649010_1537448056471866_3057171987498440790_oThe Peer Awards are coveted awards in the Greater Washington, DC area, because they’re different than a lot of other awards.  With many organizations you send in your project and your entry fee and then you wait to receive a letter in the mail telling you whether you won or not based on a panel of  judges you know nothing about.

10620200_1537448609805144_6327962120537911899_oWith the Peer Awards, you don’t wait at home. You get dressed up and head out for a lovely evening at the prestigious National Press Club right in the heart of DC. Not only is it held at a beautiful venue, but the evening contains delicious gourmet food, great networking, entertaining presenters, and of course, lots of awards. But perhaps the most unique thing about this particular awards ceremony, is that you know that each award you receive was judged by your peers, hence the name, The Peer Awards. That means that the certificate or statue you hold in your hand was put there because the people that do the same work you do, in the same part of the world you do it in, thought you deserved it. What could be better than that?

And now, without further ado, here are the awards we won with pictures to boot.
10688318_1537446363138702_1325312414141383250_oBronze Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Promo 2D/3D Animation (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at left.

Silver Award:  “Apocalypse Rock” Trailer Program/Series Promo (Under $10K)  Photo of Brian at top of page. Check out our film at www.ApocalypseRock.com

Silver Award:  Fundamentals of SolidWorks Electrical Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.

Gold Award:  NAE “Engineering for You” Public Relations/Marketing (Under $10K)  Photo of Karen at bottom.

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Did we tell you we won some more Telly Awards?

I’ve been reading several tweets and blogs about the various Telly Awards being handed out, when I realized, “Hey, we won some Telly Awards, too! Maybe I should tell someone about them…” So without further ado, I’m pleased to announce that this year we won a Silver Award (which is actually the highest honor), for our film “Welcome to the Neighborhood.” This now makes “Welcome to the Neighborhood” our most award winning film, so far. Watch the hilarious Doug Powell, and the uber talented Claire Hadley and Allie Heidel as they show you that even the strangest people have something to offer.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/57568923″>Welcome to the Neighborhood</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/duomediaproductions”>DUO Media Productions</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

In addition to our Silver Award, we won a Bronze Telly Award for our documentary called “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary” for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. Watch JFGH resident, Jeremy Wittes, as he tells the story of the JFGH and their last thirty years.

Here we are presenting the award to the JFGH team. JFGHaward

We are so proud of our team that works hard to make these award winning, engaging films. We hope you enjoy them!

2012 – A great year for DUO

by Karen Gill-Pennington

Wow!  What a year!  As we close out 2012, I wanted to take a look at the past year and highlight some of our successes and who made each one possible.  I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but it’s just too exciting not to share some of the great things (and some of the not so great things) that happened this year.

To begin, we were very excited to find we had won two of the prestigious Telly Awards.  For the Public Relations category we entered our PSA “Rockin’ The Rage,” and won a silver, which is actually the top prize, not a gold!  For our animation, “Fundamentals of Solidworks EPDM,” we won a bronze, the first of many awards for this project.  (See the section on the TIVA Peer Awards below for more on this.)

Our indie film side of things, Star Wipe Films, participated in the DC 48 Hour Film Project, in which we got to work with two amazing new actors, Doug Powell and Allie Heidel.  Unfortunately, due to some perfectionist issues, we were about 25 seconds late turning in the final product which left us ineligible to win anything besides the Audience Favorite Award.  Our holiday film, “Last Friday in April,” did indeed win the coveted Audience Favorite Award and land a spot in the Best of DC screening, largely due to excellent writing by Eric Nolle, a show stealing performance by Doug Powell and a very dedicated crew.

After the excitement and disappointment of not making it in on time, we decided to redeem ourselves by participating in the Baltimore 48 Hour Film Project just a few weeks later.  And redeem ourselves, we did!  After working with another great crew and stellar cast, including Doug Powell and Allie Heidel again, as well as a favorite from years past, Claire Bowerman, the night of the awards ceremony we took home many awards.  With our comedy, “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” we won Best Use of Character, Best Actor, Best Editing, Best Writing, Runner-Up Best Directing, Audience Favorite and Best Film which also won us $1000 worth of gear from CPM Camera Rigs!

Just a month later we decided to try out a fairly new film race in town called The 29 Days Later Film Project.  Our director/DP, Brian Pennington, wanted to try out some different filmmaking techniques with this one, including relying heavily on GoPro HD cameras.  After some glitches in casting, our stunt coordinator, Jason Krznarich, helped us find some awesome female stunt actors to fill the roles of the attacked runners.  Hannah Scott, Jenna Hellmuth and Jason as the attacker really brought some great performances on two miserably hot days.  The final film, a thriller called“Yellow Jacket,” landed us third place and many other awards including Best Directing, Best Editing, Best Acting, and Best Cinematography.

Rounding out the year was the TIVA-DC Peer Awards Gala, where hundreds of DC’s best video professionals gathered at the National Press Club for an evening of awards, delicious food and knee-slapping jokes served up by local movie reviewer and celebrity, Arch Campbell.  DUO Media Productions accepted five awards that evening, all voted on by the best judges anyone could ask for, our fellow peers.  A Silver Award for “Fundamentals of SolidWorks EPDM” in the category Public Relations/Marketing (under $25K). Another Silver in the Independent Short category for“Rare Finds.”  In the category Motion Graphics – 2D/3D Animation (under $10K), we took home a Silver (thanks in part to Chris Pennington) for “SOPA/PIPA Saving Innovation” and a Bronze for“Fundamentals of SolidWorks EPDM.”  Finally, we were glad to accept a well deserved Gold Award on behalf of Doug Powell for his exceptional performance in our 48 Hour Film Project, “Last Friday in April.”

As we move on to 2013, we can look behind and say, “That was our best year yet!” but we are also looking forward with anticipation of the things yet to come.

Happy New Year!