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BU Today’s Powerlifter Video Catches NBC Sports’ Notice

Producer and alum needs your vote to win network award


You may remember our story and video from last May about powerlifter Molly Kelly, capable of executing a 300-pound squat, a 315-pound deadlift, and a 135-pound bench. But what viewers really responded to in the video was how Kelly (CAS’15) used the sport to help her overcome an eating disorder. “I’m not strong for a girl—I’m just strong,” she proclaimed.

Kelly’s story went viral after it was posted on BU Today, receiving more than 10,000 hits and getting picked up by People magazine and ESPN.

Fast forward nine months. The story’s producer, Bill Politis (COM’13), submitted the video, titled The Powerlifter, to the NBC Sports short-form film contest CPTR’D, where it placed in the top 5 out of more than 920 submissions. The contest was open to filmmakers who had produced a sports-related video of 10 minutes or less over the past two years. Politis’ video is one of five finalists that now have a shot at winning the grand prize of $10,000. The winner will be determined by a combination of votes from the public and input from a panel of judges, among them Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush and SB Nation editorial director Spencer Hall. Voting ends March 9, and the winners will be announced March 12.

Cast a vote for The Powerlifter here. (Note: each person gets one vote per day.)

“I enjoy working on these very personal documentary-type pieces that allow the audience to feel like they get to know someone,” says Politis, who won the best cinematography award at the 2014 Los Angeles Redstone Film Festival and has worked for BU Marketing and Communications for almost two years. “I like these kinds of pieces because as a filmmaker, you get to introduce people to someone new that they would never get the chance to meet before, and that’s a huge blessing and gift.” He says that if he wins the grand prize, he’ll use the proceeds to pay off some school debt, buy a camera, and start on a new feature documentary.

The Powerlifter took about three months to film. Readers say they were inspired by Kelly’s tenacity and her commitment to working on behalf of women’s issues during an internship at the Massachusetts State House. Kelly is currently working as a client advocate at a domestic violence shelter in Washington, D.C.

Politis views himself as the underdog in the NBC competition since he is younger and less experienced than his fellow finalists, who include another BU alum and Redstone Film Festival finalist, Jessie Beers-Altman (COM’08). Her film, Going the Distance, is about a 100-meter race open to those 75 and older. (Vote for Beers-Altman here.)

Contest winners will be announced on Saturday, March 12, at a CPTR’D viewing party at the NBC Sports Lawn in Austin, Tex. The second-place filmmaker will win a camera gear bundle worth $2,500, and the third place finisher will receive a $1,000 gift card.


4 Comments on BU Today’s Powerlifter Video Catches NBC Sports’ Notice

  • Taryn Vian on 02.23.2016 at 7:59 am

    So inspiring. Go, Bill! I hope you win. And I hope Kelly will continue to touch lives and take up lots of space.

  • Liz on 02.23.2016 at 9:27 am

    I agree with Taryn – video is beautifully done with inspiring message. Nice to see BU Today lend support to one of their own!
    Video has my vote!

  • Jessie Beers-Altman on 02.23.2016 at 10:59 am

    This is a nice film, but it’s frustrating that BU Today published this article that unabashedly promotes this film over the other films in the competition, including my film, “Going the Distance.” BU Today is supposed to be representative of the BU community, which includes students, alumni, faculty and staff. I am disappointed that this article was published without anyone from BU Today even contacting me. I am also a BU alumni, and I teach filmmaking classes in the Department of Film and Television. The news of my and Bill’s films reaching the finalist round of this competition should’ve been treated more objectively. It is not right for a news publication to use its reach to promote its own employees and projects; that’s not very objective.

  • BU Today editors on 02.23.2016 at 11:43 am

    Jessie, We agree. BU Today should have given your accomplishment much more space. We congratulate you, and we will make our best effort to push out the link to your voting page as well [http://www.cptrdcontest.com/#top5/1846].

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