Young Alumni Win Regional Emmy

Kourtney Cowart and Michael Shikany, who both graduated in December 2015 with degrees in Communication Studies, were honored with a Midsouth Regional Emmy for their documentary, “Ever Faithful—The Resurrection of UAB Football” at the 31st Annual awards ceremony on January 21, 2017.

Emmy1 800xKourtney Cowart and Michael Shikany, who both graduated in December 2015 with degrees in Communication Studies, were honored with a Midsouth Regional Emmy for their documentary, “Ever Faithful—The Resurrection of UAB Football” at the 31st Annual awards ceremony on January 21, 2017.

In January 2015, Cowart and Shikany began working on a film about UAB football as students in Michele Forman’s Ethnographic Filmmaking class in the UAB Media Studies program in the Department of History. That initial documentary was called “4th Down” and examined the issues around the cancelation of the football program at UAB in late 2014. The film was distributed widely through the university, alumni and surrounding communities, and as a result of the attention it was getting, as well as the growing interest in reviving the football program, Cowart and Shikany decided to produce a feature-length documentary called “4th and Goal.” It was that project that led the pair to Richard Brooke, a producer with Raycom Sports.

“Richard had been following the issue and had seen our first documentary,” Cowart says. Brooke himself was working on a piece about UAB football for the Raycom program “Havoline Sports,” and was impressed by the students’ work. “He wanted Michael and I to help build the foundation and back story since we had already done so,” Cowart explains. “After [the film was finished], Richard came to us and explained he thought that there was serious potential for this piece, and he was going to submit it for an Emmy nomination.” Cowart and Shikany are credited on the film along with Richard Brooke, Jordan Smith and Maxwell Brooke (Raycom employees) and Timothy Alexander, the UAB alumnus and former football team member who had become the most recognizable champion of the effort to restore the program. Timothy is also a College of Arts and Sciences alum, with a BA in Communication Studies and a BS in Criminal Justice in 2014, and a MA in Communication Management in 2015. It is his story that anchors the film.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which awards the Emmys, is divided into chapters and regions. Birmingham falls within the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter.  “Ever Faithful” won the Midsouth Regional Emmy in the “Sports Program Feature” category and is the first-ever Emmy for UAB Media Studies students. "I am so proud of them for staying with this project well beyond the class assignment," says Michele Forman.  

Since graduation, Cowart and Shikany have found careers in film: Cowart is the video production specialist with Wellborn Cabinet, and Shikany is a freelance videographer. They plan chronicle the first season of the restored UAB football program in the fall of 2017. 

Trailblazing Alumni

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