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ODU Instructor among Recipients of Telly Award for Congo Civil War Documentary

Photo of Christopher FreeChristopher Free

Christopher Free, an adjunct instructor of film at Old Dominion University and video editor for Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing International (OBI), was part of a production team recently recognized for a documentary that highlights the rescue of orphans from rebel armies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier this month, the video "Abused & Scarred: War Orphans Rescued from the Jungle," which documents OBI's relief work in the tribal conflict-ravaged central African nation, won a 2013 Silver Telly Award in the Internet/Online Video - Charitable/Not-for-Profit category.

Free, who teaches video editing in ODU's communication and theatre arts department, said he was "deeply invested" in the project and knew "we had something special" when a pre-release screening of the video brought his wife to tears.

"On this project, the acts of violence are so atrocious against children that you can't help but be invested in the story, and when you see the work that Operation Blessing International is doing to alleviate that suffering, well, I am happy that people are moved by the story and hopefully they will be moved to advocacy themselves," Free said.

To view "Abused & Scarred: War Orphans Rescued from the Jungle," visit Operation Blessing International's Vimeo channel.

In addition to the Silver Telly Award, Free received three Bronze Telly Awards this year for online video projects in the Sports, Commercial - Entertainment/Amusement and Charitable/Not-for-Profit categories. Including the 2013 accolades, Free has won a total of 10 Telly Awards.

The Telly Awards was founded in 1978 "to honor excellence in local, regional and cable TV commercials"; non-broadcast video and TV program categories were added later. The 33rd annual Telly Awards received more than 12,000 submissions, in all categories, from within the United States and around the world, according to the organization's website.