“Dreams of Hope,” produced and co-directed by UAB Professor of Music Henry Panion III, has received 13 awards in a premier video and television competition.
The 41st annual Telly Awards honored the inspiring concert documentary with the Gold Telly for Education and 12 Silver and Bronze awards.
Directed by filmmaker David Macon and Panion, “Dreams of Hope” celebrates the unifying power of music and the spirit of resilience. It tells the story of a historic performance at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham more than 50 years after a hate crime there killed four African American girls.
An initiative called Violins of Hope contributed painstakingly restored musical instruments to the event, including violins recovered from Holocaust concentration camps, symbols of resilience in the face of hate, discrimination and racism. Musicians and artists, including some from UAB, performed and contributed to the creation of the concert and documentary.
The full list of awards for “Dreams of Hope” includes:
• Gold Telly, Television: Education.
• Silver Telly, Television: Editing.
• Silver Telly, Television: Use of Music.
• Silver Telly, Television: Videography/Cinematography.
• Silver Telly, Television: Documentary: Individual.
• Silver Telly, Television: Social Impact.
• Silver Telly, Branded Content: Editing.
• Silver Telly, Branded Content: Campaign: Social Responsibility.
• Bronze Telly, Television: Writing.
• Bronze Telly, Television: Cultural.
• Bronze Telly, Branded Content: Directing.
• Bronze Telly, Branded Content: Videography/Cinematography.
• Bronze Telly, Branded Content: Documentary: Individual.
“Dreams of Hope” blends concert performance footage with behind-the-scenes interviews chronicling the event’s preparation and reflecting on its significance. Concert footage features the premiere of “Dreams of Hope for Solo Violin & Orchestra” by Panion, commissioned for the concert. Alongside the Dreams of Hope Orchestra, the concert features vocalists Valerie Smith and Lenora Goodman-Panion, dancer Kelsey Ebersold and the Miles College Choir. Presented and distributed by American Public Television, it has had more than 300 broadcast airings on stations nationwide since its premiere in February and has been highlighted during both Black History Month and Jewish Holocaust Remembrance holidays.
“It has been amazing to see how so many people across the nation have embraced our film,” Panion said. “To have it receive multiple encore airings in markets such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago is just remarkable. “Dreams of Hope” will air for the first time in Minneapolis on Father’s Day.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin described the film as “a powerful testimony of inclusion, unity and hope for a generation of leaders. It is my desire that this message of love, empathy, compassion and triumph will be embraced there and throughout the world in these most-troubled times.”
A note to Panion from the Telly Awards announcement stated, “Now more than ever, we are thrilled to recognize creators like you who are bringing high-caliber stories to our screens. Once again, congratulations on being named a Gold Telly Award Winner!”
Panion teaches music theory and technology in UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences Department of Music. He is best known for his work as conductor and arranger for Stevie Wonder. Panion has led many of the world’s most notable orchestras. The two-CD set “Natural Wonder” features Panion conducting his arrangements of many of Wonder’s award-winning, chart-topping songs with Wonder and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Panion owns the studio Audiostate 55 Entertainment.
“To be recognized alongside organizations such as HBO, NBC, Disney, Universal, the History Channel and Viacom is remarkable,” Panion said. “And to learn that our single film has won more (awards) than many entire networks have won is simply mind-blowing. I am grateful to the Violins of Hope Birmingham Committee for having been given this opportunity to produce ‘Dreams of Hope.’”
Established in 1979, the Telly Awards competition annually receives more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. Entrants are judged by a council of more than 200 experts, including from advertising agencies, production companies and television networks. Winners are selected based on excellence in Branded Content, Commercials and Marketing, Immersive and Mixed Reality, Nonbroadcast, Series/Shows/Segments and Social Video.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s UAB News website.