Oakland County residents featured in Emmy-winning documentary
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Michigan Emmy Chapter recognized Detroit Public Television with seven Emmy awards for documentaries, including one in the area of arts and entertainment.
The winning documentary about those served by the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, “Detroit Performs,” a program broadcast on PBS television, was filmed in October and aired Dec. 10, said MORC Project Director Patricia Sims Sunisloe. The winning entry was produced by Sarah Zientarski, an independent filmmaker.
The parents of Olivia Pas, one of the 4,500 people with disabilities served by MORC offered their forested land in Milford Township for a photo shoot by Pas, Frank Britt of Waterford, Mairin O’Brien, of Milford, and Christopher Dyczewski of Rochester Hills, Sims Sunisloe said.
The photographers walked through wooded areas on the Pas’ property and took pictures of the splendor of the forest, a variety of magnificent trees, mushrooms, and logs. Their efforts on film provided the winning combination for the 2014 Emmy.
“We’ve been holding photography classes since 2005,” Sims Sunisloe added. “We have shot pictures all over southeastern Michigan. We go out all seasons. We usually have eight on a photo shoot but this time we had four.”
Some of the pictures from shoots are framed and sold at art shows.
“We did a show at the Scarab Club behind the Detroit Institute of Arts last September where the art works were for sale,” said Sims Sunisloe. “There definitely were some sales made at the time.”
Being involved in photography changes the lives of these individuals, she added. “They feel passion, purpose and are satisfied by learning what they are capable of doing when the expectations are expanded.
“The photographers know their art is appreciated by other people because it is being bought,” Sims Sunisloe said. “People aren’t just buying art because it’s created by people with disabilities, but it is good art.
“To me, the award is symbolic of how far people with disabilities have come in crossing through into new areas and standing side-by-side with professionals and they too will share all of life’s glories.”
Jeff Forster, executive vice president of productions and operations, lauded the Emmy winners.
“Detroit Public Television’s production effort is unique in Michigan,” he said. “The professionals who were recognized for their excellence with Emmy Awards are the team members, collaborators and partners who work together to make our programs distinctive.”
Zientarski accepted the Emmy at the Sound Board Detroit in the MotorCity Casino.
When hearing that MORC photographers were part of winning an Emmy, Sims Sunisloe said: “I was shocked. I was excited on behalf of our people who were part of something wonderful and I was so grateful.”
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586-263-8950.