Professor Birman and alumna Chao win three Silver Telly awards for “Chasing Speed” documentary

Journalism professor Dan Birman and alumna Megan Chao (M.A. Broadcast Journalism, ’08) said their most recent documentary was especially challenging because its main subject drove her motorcycle away from the camera at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour.

Their work on “Chasing Speed: Leslie Porterfield” paid off in the form of a combined three Silver Telly Awards, which “honor the very best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs,” according to the Telly website. The silver award is the Telly’s highest honor – of the roughly 11,000 professionals who entered this year, fewer than 10 percent won a silver award.

“Being recognized early in my career as someone who can stack up with veterans in the field is incredibly exciting,” said Chao, who made her debut as both producer and editor in this documentary. “It's a tough business to be in, saturated with talented and creative people.”

Birman and Chao both won a Silver Telly in the documentary category, and Chao won another in the television editing category.

“What made this project different was not really knowing the outcome before we began, and because the subject was far afield from most of the programs I've produced,” Birman said. “It was fun to take documentary elements and apply them to storytelling in an entirely different arena.”

Birman and Chao produced "Chasing Speed" for Discovery's newest network, Velocity.  The show aired April 1.

"We know that our work is being vetted by some top-notch industry professionals against high standards of quality, so the recognition is rewarding and encouraging,” Chao said. “And just too much fun!”

Chasing Speed: Leslie Porterfield