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'Decoding the Driftless' wins Emmy award

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Lightning struck twice for a pair of Midwestern documentary filmmakers who earned their second Emmy Award Saturday night at the 22nd Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Awards Gala at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Tim Jacobson and George Howe from the La Crosse area earned the coveted television award as producers of the nature documentary, “Decoding the Driftless.”

The award also names fellow producer and previous Emmy winner Rob Nelson along with first-time winner Jonas Stenstrom for his directorial role.

“Decoding the Driftless” had its commercial television premiere last year in La Crosse. Since then, PBS stations in no less than 28 states, including as far away as California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Alaska, have aired the film, and its broadcast reach continues to grow.

The latest Emmy Award is part of a long line of accolades for “Decoding the Driftless” coming from international and national film competitions, including in London, UK; Florence, Italy; New York, NY; Las Vegas, NV; and Los Angeles, California.

The documentary has been honored as either “Best Picture” or “Best Documentary” by Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards in Hollywood, Gold Movie Awards in London, UK, Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles, Filmmakers Connect Awards, Los Angeles Cinematography AWARDS, Beloit International Film Festival, Iowa Independent Film Festival, and Red Cedar Film Festival.

“Walking the red carpet in both Hollywood and London for our film, and now receiving an Emmy Award, have been tremendous opportunities to draw positive attention to critically important landscape conservation issues,” said film producer Howe. “This is what we only dreamed of accomplishing.”

“It’s not just the number of awards that’s significant,” said film producer, cinematographer and Sustainable Driftless, Inc. president Jacobson. “It’s the varied types of awards, too. We’ve been recognized for top-notch content, an engaging story, the artistry of the cinematography, and for the positive humanitarian impact in promoting care for our precious earth.”

“The first time I traveled from Sweden to visit the Driftless Area, I knew it was a special, magical place,” said Untamed Science, Inc.’s Stenstrom, the film’s director. “Capturing the scenic beauty and mysteries of the landscape on film has been a true joy.”

In the feature-length documentary “Decoding the Driftless,” viewers are taken on a wild ride of adventure above, on, and below the Driftless Region through this film of exploration.

“From day one I predicted that this film would blow people’s socks off,” said Nelson, president of Untamed Science and another of the film’s producers. “Based upon the enthusiastic reception from thousands of audience members, the huge TV broadcast distribution, numerous film festival awards, and now an Emmy Award, that has proven to be true.”

This Emmy Award comes seven years after Nelson, Howe, and Jacobson received an Emmy in 2014 for the similarly-themed documentary short, “Mysteries of the Driftless.”

“Decoding the Driftless was produced through collaboration between two nonprofit organizations, Sustainable Driftless, Inc. and Untamed Science, Inc., with an outpouring of community support and a wide range of sponsoring organizations.

For more about the documentary visit SustainableDriftless.org.

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