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BYU film professor lands Emmy nomination

Award ceremony set for Monday in New York City

  • BYU film professor nominated for Emmy
  • Brad Barber nominated for editing work on HBO documentary "Resolved" about high school debaters
  • In the film, one of the debate teams visits BYU's campus for a competition
  • The 30th Annual News and Documentary Emmys will be awarded Monday, Sept. 21, in New York City

BYU film professor Brad Barber has been nominated for an Emmy for his editing work on the HBO documentary “Resolved.”

Barber will find out if he and his colleagues take home the prize for best documentary editing at the 30th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony Monday, Sept. 21, at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

“Being nominated for an Emmy is not something I ever really thought would happen to me,” says Barber, who did his grad work at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. “It feels sort of like a validating nudge to keep working and trying.”

Barber served as an editor, cinematographer and associate producer on the documentary project that follows two high school debate teams – one from an upper-class Texas school and one from an inner-city school in Southern California – through two years of competition.

Through the stories of these two debate teams, a rapid-fire introduction to the highly competitive world of high school debate gives way to a harrowing view of the racial and class divide in American education.

BYU’s campus is featured in a part of the film when one of the debate teams visits for a competition.

Barber is an alum of the BYU Theatre and Media Arts Department, as is fellow “Resolved” editor and director Greg Whiteley. Whiteley also directed the 2005 documentary “New York Doll.”

“Ironically though, that common ground had nothing to do with our working together – we had never met at a church or a BYU alumni function before,” Barber said. “Having said that, it was really rewarding to work closely with someone who shares your same convictions.”

News and Documentary Emmys will be presented in 33 categories, including the one Barber and his colleagues are nominated in: Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Editing.

They will compete against two documentaries from the National Geographic Channel (“The Devil Came on Horseback” and “National Geographic Explorer: Gorilla Murders”), the Travel Channel’s “Wild China: Shangri-La” and PBS’s “P.O.V.: Soldiers of Conscience.”

“Resolved,” which has been screened at several film festivals – including the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the 2007 Audience Choice Award – is also one of the nominees for outstanding long form documentary.

Since Emmy officials allot only 30 seconds for acceptance speeches, Barber said Whiteley will do the honors if they win. However, if the film wins both awards it's nominated for, Barber and a third editor, Tom Runquist, may get a chance to say a few words.

“That means I don't have to really prepare much of a speech,” Barber said. “If it happens, I'd just worry about keeping a few people in mind to thank, and for me that's really easy – my wife and creative partner Susan, my son Andrew and my parents.”

In addition to his work for HBO, Barber has credits on ESPN, Discovery Channel, Showtime, PBS, HGTV, Current TV and the Documentary Channel. He joined the faculty at BYU in 2007 and teaches documentary and new media production.

TMA Associate Chair Jeff Parkin says Barber is not only a noted filmmaker, but also a supportive colleague and a great mentor to students.

“He does a really nice job working with them one-on-one,” Parkin said. “He is a very thoughtful individual and he is a hard worker who always works late.”

Brad Barber.jpg
Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo

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