HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – A Madisonville native is among those who won a national award for a fiction film.

Merry Ewing with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Ohio Valley Chapter confirmed Aaron Davis and his team won a College Student Production Award. The chapter is part of the organization that gives Emmy awards. The rest of the team includes Elisabeth Sandahl, Carrie Guyton, Julie Bryson and Travis Harrell, and Sara Thomason is their advisor. All are connected to Western Kentucky University.

Davis says he was raised in Madisonville and lived there for 18 years until he graduated from Madisonville North Hopkins in 2017 and went to WKU that fall. Davis began developing the film in May of 2022.

He tells us he pitched the film idea to his professors, who then acted as studio executives and gave him the “green light,” which then started a long summer of writing, rewriting, planning with his team, and casting. Then, after a couple more rewrites and some meetings with his professors in the fall of 2022, he and his team were ready to shoot.

Davis commented, “When I pitched a film that wanted to center around the use of sign language and feature deaf talent, that’s a daunting task, especially at our level. We all felt the pressure to get it right because this is something important to many people, not just myself. And that moment when they called our name, I knew we must’ve done something right.”

Davis says the team shot over four days in November, and then once that was over, his assistant editor, along with the editor, began compiling the film so they could see what they had. Then they went home for winter break, and after that, they came back and began editing. The group did a test screening, got some feedback, made a couple more changes and then, by spring break, the film was ready to show.

Davis explains that his film is about a teacher at an all-deaf school who, following the death of her husband, decides it’s time for her to retire from teaching. But as her retirement approaches, she learns that moving on is easier said than done.

He says that when they won, he was immensely proud of all the work that his team put in to support the film. The trophy has all of their names on it, even though he says he was just the one giving the speech.

Davis says, “I couldn’t have done it without all my friends and family who supported me along the way. From my parents, who took me to the movies as a child and supported me throughout school, to my friends, who always encourage me to continue chasing my dream every day, I hope people in this area of the country know that just because we don’t live in Los Angeles doesn’t mean you don’t have stories worth telling.”