Latter-day Saint Life

An animated film and a commercial produced by Latter-day Saints just won college Emmy awards

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Several Latter-day Saints college students have just added their names to the long list of celebrated production teams to come out of Brigham Young University’s animation and advertising departments.

Ethan Briscoe and Tyler Bitner’s short animated film, “Stowaway,” just won a student Emmy award in the Best Animation series. And several students from BYU’s AdLab won an award for Best Commercial for their piece titled “Life’s Journey.”

You can watch the full five-minute animated short film here and the commercial here.


Briscoe and Bitner’s film features the story of two pirates, one looking for buried treasure and one who swabs the deck. When one of them accidentally scoops an adorable baby kraken out of the sea, their fear of the legendary sea monster leads to chaos and swashbuckling laughs.

BYU’s Center for Animation has received several college Emmy nominations and awards since its inception in 2001. The short film “Lemmings” won BYU’s first student Emmy in 2004, “Ram’s Horn” won in 2015, and “Papá” won the Student Emmy Award for Best Music Composition in 2016.

“Stowaway” writer and director Tyler Briscoe says he wasn’t even planning on attending BYU. After his mission to Vancouver, BC, he moved to Provo just to wait for an acceptance letter at NYU’s renowned film school. But while he waited, he enrolled in prerequisite classes for BYU’s animation program, and, as he told Deseret News, he felt hooked on animation and spiritually guided to the right place with the right people.

“That decision has been confirmed over and over again,” he said.

Briscoe and his wife also helped produce some of the animated shorts for the Church’s Gospel for Kids app. You can find the videos on the YouTube channel here.

► You may also like: 3 ways the Gospel for Kids resources can get your kids excited about the gospel

A total of 58 colleges submitted entries to this year’s College Television Awards, but just three were nominated in the Animation Series category. Only nine schools received nominations in any category, and BYU received four of the 16 total nominations—more than any other school—one for “Stowaway” and all three nominations in the Commercial, PSA, or Promo category.

“Life’s Journey”

Students from the BYU AdLab also claimed the top spot in the “Best Commercial” category. The commercial was directed by Tyler Richardson and Asher Huskinson with Rebekah Baker as producer and Campbell George as writer.

Their commercial piece, “Life’s Journey,” features a touching story of a young man who saves his meager earnings to purchase the convertible of his dreams, a Ford Mustang. As the young man matures he meets a girl and falls in love. The young man then sells the beloved Mustang to purchase an engagement ring for the woman of his dreams. The commercial evokes a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the journey of life.

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