NEPA Scene Staff

WVIA wins Mid-Atlantic Emmy for short doc on rock ‘n’ roll Vietnam photographer from Waverly

WVIA wins Mid-Atlantic Emmy for short doc on rock ‘n’ roll Vietnam photographer from Waverly
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From a press release:

After being nominated back in August, WVIA Executive Producer Ben Payavis and Producer/Director John Mikulak have been awarded the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Award in the Human Interest – Program Feature/Segment category for the production of “Mark Jury: Beyond Demons” by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Featured as part of the WVIA short documentary series “VIA Short Takes,” the episode features the story of Waverly photojournalist Mark Jury, who captured striking images from the frontlines of the Vietnam war that were published to great acclaim in “The Vietnam Photo Book.” After publishing his book, the veteran enjoyed worldwide success as a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker, but he began to suffer from undiagnosed PTSD. After decades of alcoholism, suicide attempts, and madness, the piece showcases how Mark finally took steps toward longterm treatment and a way to move past his pain.

“His work was a major inspiration on the look and various content of Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now,'” Mikulak noted.

“The program honored this year by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences showcases WVIA’s commitment to highlight local stories and bring them to national audiences,” WVIA President/CEO Carla McCabe said.

“We are proud of our Emmy-nominated production team that continues to produce programs that feature the dedication and professionalism that members and viewers of WVIA have grown to expect. As we expand our local output, recognition like this is a nice reminder that we are on the right path.”

“Our content team is very proud of the nomination, and we are looking forward to presenting more stories of regional people in Season 2 of ‘VIA Short Takes,’ coming in January 2021,” WVIA Chief Content Officer and Executive Producer Ben Payavis added.

Mikulak, who appeared on the NEPA Scene Podcast in 2018 to talk about his documentary film “The Man Who Would Be Polka King” that was later adapted into the Netflix movie “The Polka King” starring Jack Black, said he was “so honored” by the nomination and win.

WVIA last won two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in 2018 for the productions of “Christmas at Susquehanna: The 50th Anniversary Candlelight Service” and “War Stories Vietnam: The Walls That Heal.”

The 2020 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Awards were presented on Saturday, Sept. 19. The full list of winners can be found at

“Mark Jury: Beyond Demons” is available to watch anytime online at and below in two parts:

“VIA Short Takes” is a documentary web series produced by Via Studios Global. Featuring topics ranging from dramatic and edgy to cute, quirky, thrilling, and more, “Short Takes” aims to provide an entertaining look at the people and places that make Pennsylvania (and beyond) so unique.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was founded in 1957, and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter was chartered in 1981. It is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational, and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy Award for news, sports, programming, public service, and technology.

VIA Public Media in Pittston, the PBS and NPR affiliate for Northeastern Pennsylvania, educates, inspires, entertains, and fosters citizenship, diverse cultures, and perspectives to nurture community.

WVIA-TV can be found on over-the-air antenna on channel 44 and on all major network providers in Northeast Pennsylvania and the Central Susquehanna Valley. WVIA carries PBS Kids programming all day on its second channel, 44.2; corresponding educational resources for PBS Kids programming can also be found at