Oscar-winning alumnus Rich Middlemas (BS/JEM ’97) visited campus on Oct. 24 and spoke to a combined group of CCI and cinema studies students. Middlemas along with Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin won an Academy Award in 2012 for their documentary, “Undefeated.”
The documentary team followed a Memphis football team during its winning 2009 season and first visit to the playoffs in the school’s history. Middlemas described the challenges and rewards of shooting over 600 hours of video as he and his fellow producers became enmeshed with the high school players and their coaches.
Middlemas also told students about the award nomination, the pre-ceremony events where he met Brad Pitt, and the evening of the Oscars. Students and faculty attending the lecture were entertained and enchanted with his insider view of the award program.
Several projects are on the horizon for Middlemas as he continues his Hollywood career. Currently on tap is the scripted remake of “Undefeated,” as well as other projects such as: “The Battle of Athens, Tennessee” by C. Stephen Byrum; “Penpal” by Dathan Auerbach; “The War Pony” by Dave Hunsaker; and “Turnbuckle” by Sean McEwen.
“Rich has an inspiring story to tell students. His courage to follow his dreams gives them encouragement to do the same,” said JEM Professor Sam Swan. “He has worked hard to become successful and is a living testament to the fact that dreams can come true!”