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Student-created video of wheelchair
basketball player wins national award


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October 1, 2002

Chuck takes it to the hoop "Chuck's Wheels," a video production created by SFSU graduate students, recently won first prize in the Christophers national video contest for college students. The Christophers award honors student work that shows acts of service, courage and inspiration.

The video production was one of 456 entries.

The award-winning work tells the story of how Chuck Gill (above right) overcame a paralyzing illness to become one of the top players of the Golden State Road Warriors in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. The video also highlights Gill's work as a driver for "Meals on Wheels," delivering meals to elderly San Franciscans (below left).

Chuck with some of meals-on-wheels friendsProducer Joy Valera and her team, all graduate students in broadcast and electronic communication arts, created the video for KTVU-TV's "Bay Area People" program as part of their coursework for Professor Ron Compesi's advanced production class. Compesi has worked with KTVU Community Affairs Director Rosy Chu for the last decade to produce community affairs stories for the Oakland-based station. Every year KTVU shows the best of those stories, including, this year, "Chuck's Wheels," which ran last March.

"What is particularly gratifying about this project is to see the enthusiasm with which our students seek out stories about individuals who have made a positive difference in the Bay Area communities in which we live," Compesi said.

"Television is frequently criticized for its 'anti-social' content; Joy's story and the other stories produced in the class emphasize 'pro-social' messages, and recognize that the power of television can be put to good use by encouraging community involvement and positive social change."

Valera said that producing the video was a hard, yet rewarding, experience.

"I not only learned the technicalities of creating a broadcast-standard video, and handling the stress of being a producer, but I also gained important lessons in dealing with different people," she said.

"Seeing how Chuck lived his life, his determination in accomplishing his goals, striving hard to be the best that he can be, has inspired me to become a better person. And in getting even just a glimpse into the lives of the elderly people in San Francisco, I realize how blessed I am in life."

Assisting Valera with the project were associate producers Naoko Yamamura and Yuen Yan Poon, crew member Marion Valino and sound crew members Gabriel Rife and Christian Franco.

"Joy and her crew took a very good subject, and turned it into a sophisticated television feature story through sophisticated video and sound editing," said Compesi. "I'm proud of the quality of work they have achieved and of the recognition this award expresses."

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Last modified October 1, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs