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Professor’s documentary wins Emmy award

Ellen Spiro, associate professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a Lone Star Emmy for her documentary, ‘Are the Kids Alright?’ which explores the struggles facing Texas children with mental illness.

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The 68-minute documentary aired on public television stations across Texas in June 2004 and is the result of a partnership among a number of funders and organizations, including The University of Texas at Austin’s Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Radio-Television-Film, KUHT-TV HoustonPBS, the Houston Endowment, the Meadows Foundation of Dallas and the Austin Film Society.

State officials estimate that some 420,000 Texas youths under the age of 18 suffer from a severe emotional disturbance that impairs their ability to function, but only a fraction of these children are appropriately diagnosed or treated each year. The documentary portrays not only the steep obstacles and painful choices confronting families who have a loved one suffering from mental illness, but also the daily struggles of mental health advocates, service providers and policymakers in trying to help these youths get appropriate treatment.

Spiro’s films include “Diana’s Hair Ego,” “Greetings From Out Here,” “Roam Sweet Home,” “Troop 1500: Girl Scouts Beyond Bars” and “Atomic Ed and the Black Hole.” Her work has been broadcast on PBS, HBO, BBC and CBS. She also is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Rockefeller Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Bernstein is an Emmy and Grammy award-winning producer and former series producer for WNET’s American Masters.

About the Lone Star Emmy Awards

The statewide Lone Star Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences serves all 19 television markets in Texas. It is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television annually with the Emmy Awards.

For more information contact: Erin Geisler, College of Communication, 512-475-8071.