AMES, Iowa – Marking its 40th anniversary as the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens, the Telly Awards announced a film produced by the Iowa State University (ISU) Seed Science Center (SSC) as one of this year’s winners. Seeds! Diversity of Wonder, a six-part documentary on the beauty of seeds, has won the Silver Telly Award, while one episode, “A Day Without Seeds,” has won the Bronze Telly Award.
Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards honors video and television made for all screens and is judged by The Telly Award Judging Council; a group of leading video and television experts from some of the most prestigious companies in entertainment, publishing, advertising, and emerging technology. The Telly Awards receives over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents.
“Seeds are not just the beginning, but the renewal of agriculture, of all life and civilization. With this documentary, we wanted to communicate that value and beauty of seeds to the world,” said Dr. Manjit Misra, Director of the ISU-SSC and film executive producer. “I think we’ve been able to capture that beauty.”
The project started years ago when Misra and his family saw a film at a local science center about how floods can wipe out local vegetation. He knew then he wanted to reach a wide audience to tell his story about the beauty and wonder of seeds. The Seed Science Center produces a range of regular publications on the center’s mission, which is to research and test seeds for scores of plant species. However, those publications most often address an audience of farmers, plant breeders, and seed scientists with a deep familiarity with seeds. Misra said seed technology affects so many issues of global importance, such as food, feed, nutrition and energy security, and safety that a well-produced film on the topic of seeds could be of interest to a much wider audience.
“From eastern Iowa to East Africa, farmers must plant good quality seeds if we want to improve security and safety, especially in light of climate change,” said Misra.
The award-winning documentary, produced by Pierce Mill Media, made its debut in March, at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., to a sold-out auditorium. The film producer, Walker Lambert, takes viewers from the ISU campus and Iowa farms to locales as far away as India and Africa.
“Seeds are a miracle of nature and a product of science,” said Lambert.
Comprised of six segments of roughly 10 minutes each, the film can be viewed separately or as a single, hour-long presentation. The segments cover a range of seed-related topics, including the role seeds play in everyday life, how seed technology can lead to more nutritious food, and how the genetic material contained in seeds is stored in a global network of seed banks. The episode “A Day Without Seeds” features the work of award-winning author and biologist, Thor Hanson.
Other winners of this year’s Telly awards include animated, environmentally-conscious standouts like Passion Pictures & CNN’s There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom,“ live streaming favorite DC Entertainment’s “DC Daily Live with Kevin Smith,” Netflix’s drag show music video of Dolly Parton’s legendary “Jolene” and CBS Interactive’s viral juggernaut for “The Late Late Show with James Corden: The Biggest Baby Shark Ever” starring a crooning Josh Groban and Sophie Turner. A resurgence of documentary filmmaking also prompted top honors for a diverse range of companies: ESPN, AETN, AJ+, HBO Latin America, and PBS.
A screening for the Seeds! Diversity of Wonder is scheduled for Father’s Day, June 16. It will be shown at Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd, at 6pm. This event is free and open to the public. The documentary will also be featured at this year’s Everson Global Seed Symposium, October 14-15, just prior to the World Food Prize. You can watch the trailer here.
About the Seed Science Center: The Seed Science Center at Iowa State University is a center of excellence nationally and internationally in seed research, education, technology transfer, and international seed programs.