Gerald Hone, 42, won at the Southeastern Regional Emmy Awards in the Student Production-News category for his film “From Rescue to Release,” a piece that documents a red tail hawk’s rescue and recovery as part of the Roswell nature center’s bird rescue program.
The awards, presented by The Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, were at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta and recognized the best of the region’s 2011 television production.
“I was kind of flabbergasted when they called me up Saturday night,” Hone said. “It’s really just the icing on the cake that I won.”
Hone credited his classmates and instructors with helping him achieve the award.
“It was my instructors that expanded my knowledge,” he said.
The film was shot as a project for the college’s Advanced Video Projects Class. Students in the class spend a semester completing a long-form production, which includes conceiving, writing and producing the project.
The award was judged on organization, visual storytelling, lighting, audio, editing and graphics.
The Canton resident said his short time working in wildlife and his wife Kristyn’s goal of becoming a veterinarian inspired the project.
“I always thought what they do there is important,” Hone said. “I wanted to do something that could tell their story.”
He began volunteering his time at the Chattahoochee Nature Center a week after the hawk had entered the bird rescue program and decided to capture the bird’s recovery on film.
“He had a droop in his right wing,” Hone said. “It seemed like somebody actually captured him at one time and (also) filed down his beak. For raptors in general, that’s a very important thing for them because that’s how they eat and tear food apart.”
Hone tracked the bird’s progress for an entire semester, shooting a total of about eight hours of footage.
“I spent time capturing him flying, eating, going through physicals and being evaluated and finally, his release back into the wild,” Hone said.
But this wasn’t Hone’s first foray into filmmaking.
Serving in the military for the past 23 years, Hone has been a Navy combat photographer and Army National Guard broadcast journalist. Since 2006, he has been an active guardsman with the Georgia National Guard.
His work with the military includes a 10-minute movie for the Georgia National Guard he filmed while serving as a combat broadcast journalist.
The film, previously featured on the organization’s website, told the story of an Iraq veteran who suffered serious damage to his leg after the Humvee he was traveling in was hit by an improvised explosive device. Though doctors said he would never walk again, the man went on to run the Boston Marathon.
Hone said he knew Chattahoochee Tech would be able to further his filmmaking skills to get a job in the industry, adding that his teachers have taught him everything from lighting skills to post-production.
Ian Feinberg, Hone’s production teacher, said Hone’s project told a compelling story and said he is a “very energetic and conscientious student.”
“He’s not your typical college student,” Feinberg said. “He’s very invested in it and spends a lot of time (at Chattahoochee Technical College) working very hard in his program.”
With two semesters left, Hone said he is looking for film work in the area. He said his passion lies in television and movies.
“From being in the military, I’m used to shooting news and documentary and I’m familiar with that,” he said. “Being able to go and shoot a film seems more interesting to me because it’s something I haven’t done, but I’m open to anything.”