Former students win Emmy for short film

August 21, 2014 Latest Print Print

Two dates now have a major significance in the lives of two former students.

Jan. 1, 2015, is the last date movie production companies will ship film and go all digital instead.

July 12, 2014, is the night Jason Gwynn and Jay Sheldon won an Emmy award for their short film about that transition.

Gwynn, now an OCCC adjunct professor, said he and Sheldon never expected their 15-minute film “Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection” would get the attention it has.

“We had to wait to even see if we were nominated which was a huge honor in itself — win or lose,” Gwynn said. “Just to be nominated was really cool to be going this far with just some little movie that, you know, two guys shot.”

“Going Dark” won in the Best Short Format Program on Television category in the region of Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska — the biggest regional Emmy chapter (landwise) in the country, according to the Norman Transcript.

Film and Video Professor Greg Mellott, and OCCC President Paul Sechrist joined Gwynn and Sheldon at the Heartland Emmy Awards show held in the Bud Wilkinson Event Center at the Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.

Sechrist said he is proud of Gwynn, Sheldon, and the college’s Film and Video Program. He said it was exciting to attend the awards show.

“It was an honor to join former film and video program students Jason Gwyn and Jay Sheldon for a picture just after they received the Emmy at the awards ceremony,” Sechrist said.

“This prestigious honor recognizes and rewards their hard work in creating this film. Again, I am so proud of them. It is an award that this movie, and Jason and Jay, earned and deserved.”

Gwynn, who now teaches Cinematography I, said the event was an unforgettable experience — both surreal and an honor. He said it will change the future for both him and Sheldon.

“Just to win was overwhelming … because it means a lot career-wise and to have that on your résumé and also for future projects to have that accolade, to show that I am a professional.”

“Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection” is about the demise of 35mm film projection, how Hollywood is forcing theaters to cease shooting film. Gwynn said the death of film production changes the way movies are played and the experience people will have at theaters.

“I’m not a big film buff or anything, but … I’m a really sentimental person and it’s nostalgic to me that we all grew up seeing movies played this way,” he said. “I thought it would be cool for future generations to see what it was like.

“It’s also about the movie theater-going experience too, not just about film projection leaving and how it’s all going to change.”

Gwynn said OCCC’s Film and Video Production program gave him the start he needed to get where he is.

He said he moved to the area more than seven years ago from West Virginia to attend the program and stayed.

He said all students should strive to fulfill their dreams.

“If I did it, anybody can do it as I see it,” Gwynn said. “Any student [who’s] reading this can take the same path I did. I’m nobody special, you know.

“I just put a lot of hard work into something and just took what I learned from this program and made an Emmy-award winning short.”

For more information about “Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection,” visit

For more information about the Film and Video program, call Mellot at 405-682-1611, ext. 7793, or email

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