By Meghan Feir

MSUM film studies alumnus Ryan Sailer, ‘08, won two Emmy Awards for projects he edited while working for the Fargo-based production company Video Arts Studios.

Sailer was awarded the first Emmy for editing the civil rights documentary “The Road to Little Rock,” which follows the inspirational story of Federal Judge Ronald Davies and nine teenagers who exemplified courage, honor, determination and responsibility.
Their story began in 1957 when African-American students wanted to enroll in an all-white high school in Little Rock, Ark. They faced opposition, despite the 1954 Supreme Court ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education that declared segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Ryan holding EmmyThe video blends interviews with archival footage and primary source documentation to tell the story of the events that led to the integration of Central High School.

The other nomination Sailer and Video Arts Studios received was for a public service announcement for the Fargo Police Department, which powerfully depicted the repercussions of drunk driving.

“Completing the projects was a really awesome experience, especially the educational documentary. Everyone appreciated it so much,” Sailer said, “and to know I was a part of putting it together, it being used to teach students about events in history that really changed the way we think about things now, was a really great experience. I didn’t anticipate it would go to where it has. To have it win an Emmy Award and be recognized that way is so great. I’m so glad I was a part of it. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The award sits in Sailer’s Portland-area apartment, a reminder of collaborative impact and a job well done.
Before the Emmys

As a student in the MSUM Film Studies program, Sailer experienced a multi-faceted education that made a clear impact on his career.

“It (the program) allowed me to experience all the different aspects of filmmaking – editing, videography, directing. It was great to have that experience once I got into the workforce,” Sailer said.

Immediately following his graduation in 2008, he began working for Prairie Public Broadcasting where he edited documentaries, TV productions, and directed live, on-air programs for the next four years before working for Video Arts Studios.

Since moving to Portland, Ore., Sailer has been a recording specialist at a web conferencing company and works with businesses across the United States and internationally.