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NTCC wins sixth Caldwell Award for niche cinema projects

March 21, 2024

luke receiving award

Pictured: Director of Education Services for the Texas State Historical Association, Lisa Berg, and NTCC’s 2023 Film Scholar, Luke McCraw

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

Over twenty days of filming and a summer filled with research, scripts, and organizational maneuvering were not in vain.  Recently at College Station, Texas State Historical Association Education Director, Lisa Berg awarded NTCC its sixth Chapter Project of the Year Award, for the best endeavor in Texas history performed by any college or university group. The award comes with a jade-glass trophy, and $600.  A joint effort between the NTCC Webb Society, Allen Herald & Co. Motion Pictures, and Honors Northeast in the recent film about the traveling preachers of early Texas made such recognition possible. The award itself, however, commemorated the ongoing film work at NTCC which included the premiere of the women’s suffrage film, and the early 2023 culmination on that 2022 project.

NTCC’s Walter P. Webb Society is a chapter of the State Webb Society which is itself the collegiate auxiliary of the Texas State Historical Association.  The generous awards are in memory of Texas oilman, Clifton M. Caldwell who in 1974 set up an endowment to

reward the best collegiate- and university-student scholarship in Texas history.

NTCC’s feature-length 2023 film on the Traveling Preachers is the twelfth in a series of feature-length films in Texas History.  It is now also available to the public at www.ntcc.edu/honorsfilms or via the pictured QR code.

Kenny Goodson of Hugh Springs, the composer behind madd creations, again composed most of the film score for the 2023 endeavor.  This was the fifth time that Goodson volunteered his time and talent for an NTCC feature-length film.

The 2023 film was the first NTCC project where Allen Herald, originally of Camp County, and his associate, Hannah Goldblum, played the decisive leadership role.  Many have remarked that this film is the most professionally rendered project in the history of the series.

NTCC honors students who comprise the bulk of NTCC Webb Society supplied most of the actors for the film. Leading roles are played by Michael Rodriguez as the dean of the traveling preachers, William Stevenson; Kaden Groda, as his son, James Stevenson; Garrett Phillips as Methodist trailblazer, Henry Stephenson; Morgan Thrapp as the Baptist preacher, Joseph Bates; Raul Leija as Texas hero, Sam Houston whose baptism is rendered at the end of the film, and Luke McCraw as Texas empresario, and proponent of secularism, Stephen F. Austin.

Honors Students Michael Rodriguez,
Aubrey Watkins and Dr. Andrew Yox

Franklin County historian and Methodist minister, Rev. Dan Hoke, plays an impassioned part, representing Methodist Bishop, Francis Asbury.

The leading female actors for the recent film included Andrea Reyes– honors alumna, and honors students Michelle Calderon, Skylar Hodson, Halea Ledesma, Monse Rivero, and Aubrey Watkins.  Michelle Calderon and Monse Rivero organized the film’s student input.

NTCC honors students have featured the latest traveling preachers film already at several venues.  Anyone interested in featuring the story of how the early Texas preachers, despite beatings, imprisonment, and forced re-emigration, broke through a “pine curtain” of early secularity in Texas should contact honors director, Dr. Andrew Yox at ayox@ntcc.edu.

More than ever, the recent film was enabled by the generous donors of Honors Northeast, among them Jerald and Mary Lou Mowery of Mount Vernon, the staunchest film supporters through the years.

 

 

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