LAS CRUCES— The City of the Crosses and the borderland region just may be represented at the Oscars this year— if they get the vote.
Brandi Parrell and Angela Hardenburg, students at New Mexico State University, are in the semi-finals in a national mtv-U contest. The two students are competing for the grand prize— to be the correspondents at the 83rd Academy Awards at the famous Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.
“I was shell-shocked,” said Hardenburg. “I'm excited for it all. If we do make it all the way, I hope my professors are understanding of what I'm doing and where I'm going. I'll just tell them 'I'm going to the Oscars!'”
The “Oscar ® Correspondent Contest” started in October of 2010 for submissions and ended on December 6. Students were required to submit a video, in teams of two, stating why they deserved to be given the opportunity to be a college correspondent and documenter for the 2011 Academy Awards. This was a “skills” contest, and judges then selected the top ten teams for voting.
“We submitted our video in October of last year,” said Parrell, 21, a junior at NMSU. “Angela and I had to show them [the judges] through the video what our experiences are, what we can do, what we have learned through News22 here at NMSU.” Parrell said that the contest doesn't ask for a resume or a list of credentials. “All we had were two minutes to show them what we're made of.”
Parrell is one of two lead news anchors at the student-led news station KRWG-TV News22 station at NMSU. Hardenburg is the chief editor and photographer at the station. The news program is led and coached by William Mattiace, a graduate of NMSU. NMSU students from all classifications involved with News22 report, edit, and shoot their own video. These students, all reporters, anchors, editors, or producers, can then use these projects as part of their portfolio after graduation. News22 airs on select weekdays throughout the school semester.
“I think it'd be great to get NMSU to the Oscars. It'd definitely be a great opportunity for us to show what News22 can do,” said Hardenburg, a senior at NMSU graduating in May.
Voting started on Monday for these ten semi-finalists, and ends on January 28. All voters are required to create an account with the mtvU Flux Community, create a quick profile, and vote. Voters are allowed a vote per day.
“Making it to the top ten is awesome,” said Parrell. “ It's an honor, and if we get to make it the top three, well, that would be amazing, a dream come true. We'll be on that Red Carpet with all the stars, being able to interview them.”
After the voting period ends on January 28, judges comprised of a panel of industry experts, professional journalists and other experts will choose the top three teams. These top three teams will be given two days to film another video. Voting will then be allowed for the top three teams, and the grand prize finalist team will be flown to Los Angeles to cover the events leading up to the Oscars, and will be reporting live from the Red Carpet.
“I'm hoping we're top three,” said Parrell. “We're the only ones from this area, and we want to represent and make them proud.”
The grand prize winner will receive a round-trip flight to the event, and will also be given $100 for clothing for the Academy Awards, and other expenses will be covered by mtv-U. The team will also be given a press pass and will have access to all events leading upto the big night.
“Our goal of course is to make it to Red Carpet. Please vote, vote religiously, support NMSU and our border region,” said Parrell.