"Unbranded" documentary wins awards

BOZEMAN – A Montana State University institutional commercial that highlighted the work of MSU film graduates who made the popular mustang documentary “Unbranded” won the top award for regional and national television advertisements at the 2016 Montana American Advertising Awards, called the ADDYS, held recently in Great Falls.


The MSU advertisement that captured the top prize for video ad featured the work of MSU film graduates and faculty that formed the production crew of “Unbranded,” an award-winning, feature-length documentary about the epic journey of four young cowboys who in five months ride 3,000 miles along the backbone of the Rocky Mountains from the Mexican to the Canadian border using a string of 16 wild mustangs.

Unbranded team 

Featured in the advertisement were MSU film graduate Phillip Baribeau, who directed and was the co-director of photography of the documentary with fellow MSU graduate Korey Kaczmarek. Dennis Aig, director of the MSU film program and producer of the documentary, was featured as was Scott Chestnut, an MSU graduate who edited both the spot and the feature-length documentary. Paul Quigley, Katie Roberts, Sam Hedlund and William Springstead, all MSU graduates and member of the crew, also appeared.  Andy Hahn a current film student, operated the camera and created all the motion graphics for the ad.:


The documentary “Unbranded,” which is now in general release and available on Netflix, has won more than 24 awards at film festivals across the country, including the audience choice awards at both the 2015 Telluride Mountainfilm Festival and Toronto’s HotDocs festival, which is the largest documentary film festival in the world. Recently it won a Wrangler award from the Western Heritage Foundation as the top western documentary of the year.


During the MSU spot, Baribeau discusses how the practical “make it work” philosophy of the MSU School of Film and Photography prepared him to direct and film during the five-month shoot over some of the most rugged landscape in America.


This is MSU’s first gold ADDY in the professional division. The award qualifies the spot for national ADDY competition.


"We are thrilled to be recognized with this gold Addy. We wanted to tell the story, through a first person narration, of how our graduates have what it takes to accomplish what seemed impossible.”


“Our graduates can rely on their MSU family to overcome obstacles and develop stunning creative projects that help bring about change in the world,” said Julie Kipfer, MSU director of marketing and creative services, who was the executive producer of the institutional advertisement. “We believe the spot weaves together the themes of hard work, collaboration and the importance of the MSU network that is accessible to our graduates throughout their career.”


Kipfer said using in-house talent allowed MSU to put MSU’s expertise to work to create a top-quality product that builds pride in the university.


"Nearly everyone involved in the production was either MSU alumni, current students or members of the MSU faculty and staff," Kipfer said. “It truly was a cooperative effort.”



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