NCSU Suicide Prevention Video Wins Emmy Award

Feb 1, 2017

The Nashville Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has awarded a Durham-based production company an Emmy for excellence in visual storytelling for a suicide-prevention video with students from N.C. State University.

The company, StoryDriven, made the film called #StopTheStigma. In it, Baysha Bernales, Wyatt Bond and Claudia McDonald share their stories of surviving suicide attempts. 

StoryDriven CEO Nathan Clendenin said his company has now won seven Emmys and he's grateful that the accolades draw attention to their worthy clients. To make #StopTheStigma, Clendenin said he worked with N.C. State University counselors Noah Martinson and Daniel Goldstein, who interviewed students on camera about surviving suicide attempts. Clendenin said the interviews were structured much like a therapy session.

"That idea came through our collaboration, which I think is also a reason why the stories are so powerful, 'cause of people being just really honest and open," Clendenin said. "I give Daniel and Noah all the credit for being able to pull that off."

Martinson said he had seen suicide prevention videos from other universities that featured scripted conversations between actors. He said they weren't compelling, and he worried about whether these real student interviews would translate well to the screen. Martinson said StoryDriven did them justice.

"They really matched the content, they really matched the stories with the lighting, with the music, in a way that was really compelling," he said.

His colleague, Goldstein, praised the students for their bravery, adding that StoryDriven approached the topic with the appropriate sensitivity.

"They're invested in telling stories about people and redemption and overcoming struggle and connecting to supports," Goldstein said. "I think just the authenticity, the genuineness with which they came to the project really shows up in the film."

Goldstein and Martinson said they plan to shoot another video with the company.

StoryDriven also won a regional Emmy this year for a movie that followed a day in the life of Heidi Allen, a pediatric respiratory therapist at UNC Health.