CONWAY — Arkansas PBS has earned eight regional Emmy Award nominations from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Winners will be announced Saturday, Oct. 23.

“Arkansas PBS has had a breakout year, producing educational resources, showcasing the one-of-a-kind stories of our state and giving independent film a creative home,” CEO Courtney Pledger said. “We are thrilled to have our work recognized with eight Mid-America Emmy nominations and will continue to shine a light on the unique perspectives and cultural richness of The Natural State.”

Nominations included:

“Rap Squad” – Documentary – Cultural. The feature-length film is an intimate verité documentary about Arkansas high school hip hop artists who seek healing for themselves and equity in their community through their music. “Rap Squad” was directed by Nathan Willis; produced by Willis and Nolan Dean; and executive produced by Craig Renaud and Courtney Pledger.

“Blueberry’s Clubhouse: Exploring Helium, Hydrogen & Nitrogen” – Informational/Instructional – Short Form Content. The segment features a visit to the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock to show viewers what makes balloons float and explain more about gasses in the air. The short was produced by Charles Eric White and Terrell Case.

“Blueberry’s Clubhouse: Blueberry’s End of Summer Jamboree” – Informational/Instructional – Long Form Content. The finale to the first season, this episode features a talent show with entries from kids all across Arkansas. This episode was produced by Charles Eric White, Terrell Case, Corey Womack and CJ Burks.

“Urban Forge: Ozark Artistry” – Lifestyle – Long Form Content. The film centers on working blacksmiths in Mountain View, Arkansas, as they pass down the tradition and skills from one generation to another, turning raw materials into functional art and keeping a centuries-old craft alive. “Urban Forge” was produced by Charles Eric White, Terrell Case and CJ Burks and executive produced by Ed Leon.

“Blueberry’s Clubhouse PSA About Masks” – Public Service Announcement – Single Spot or Campaign. In this segment, Blueberry learns about wearing masks with 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Joel Lookadoo. The PSA was produced by Claret Collins, Anita Grote, Corey Womack and Charles Eric White.

“Arkansas AMI” – Promotion – Program (Single Spot). This animated testimonial from a second-grade student describes why she enjoys the Alternative Methods of Instruction programming that aired during quarantine. The spot was produced by Levi Agee.

“Arkansas PBS Sports – Home of High School State Finals” – Promotion – Sports. AR PBS Sports, the home of high school state championships in Arkansas, recognizes the vital role high school activities play in the education and development of young adults, while connecting families and fans statewide. The 2021 AR PBS Sports promotion campaign was designed to reinvigorate the look and energy of the coverage in a year when sports coverage might not have been a possibility. The spot was produced by Greg Mobley.

Arkansas PBS – Achievement in Community Service. With schools closed due to COVID-19, Arkansas PBS, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education’s (ADE) Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), met a desperate need, collaborating to keep students learning from home with “Arkansas AMI (Alternative Methods of Instruction),” available statewide for all audiences. Arkansas PBS provided daily and essential services to Arkansas students, teachers, and families while school was dismissed. The effort in community service for “Arkansas AMI” was led by Sajni Kumpuris, Ed Leon and Courtney Pledger.

The NATAS Mid-America chapter, which includes television markets primarily in Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri, was chartered in 1962 and began honoring outstanding achievement in this region with local Emmy awards in 1976. The organization’s mission is to encourage excellence in the television community.

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