Riding a rewarding WAVE

LIHUE — Nearly three years ago, Jul3ia Astatki packed up her car, crossed her fingers and moved to Kauai.

Last week, during the Alliance for Community Media, Western Region ceremony in San Jose, Calif., Astatki earned her third consecutive Western Access Video Excellence award.

She was joined by local videographer Michael Alonzo, who earned his second WAVE award for a piece on the roller derby girls, and a local North Shore producer, Justin Peterson, who submitted a music video, “Coconut Tree.”

“When they announced Justin’s name, I literally jumped up and said ‘whoopie!’” said J. Robertson, the executive director of Hoike Community Television, who accepted the awards for the local artists. “I was really happy when Justin ended up a winner because I thought it was an excellent piece.”

The awards are given for excellence in public access television productions. Alliance for Community Media’s goal, according to its website, is to promote free speech, expand civic engagement through local media, collaborate with others and act with one voice. Astatkie said Hoike submitted 16 entries for this year’s WAVE awards, four getting nominated, and three eventually winning.

“One of the pieces which came close was the presentation of ‘The Lights on Rice’ parade,” Astatkie said. “In the end, it was edged out by a motorcycle ride.”

Astatkie, the media educator for Hoike, said her portrait of an abandoned military base earned her the Experimental/Innovative – Professional award.

“It was a portrait of beautiful abandoned buildings, no narration, but nice music to go along with the buildings,” Astatkie, who is the third generation of video and media people, said. “When we looked at it, we didn’t really know where to enter it in.”

Astatkie, whose mother Nancy Richard is the executive director and regional board chair of the Plymouth Area Community Television in Plymouth, Mass., said she started doing video and media work when she was 12 years old.

Her unique spelling of her first name came about the same time when she said a practical joke got out of hand, and since then, she’s lived with “Jul3ia,” having her name legally changed to reflect the unique moniker.

Her grandmother also worked in the community media as the office manager for Cape Cod Media Center.

“They needed bulletin board and graphics work done, and I was available since my mother worked there,” Astatkie said. “Eventually, they started sending me around the country teaching workshops.”

It was on one of those workshops where she first became acquainted with Robertson who expressed an interest in her work.

“He took in one of my workshops, and I guess he liked what he saw,” the third generation video wiz said. “But trying to get a hold of him was difficult, so when I decided I wanted to live on Kauai, I just packed my car, crossed my fingers, and here I am.”

Astatkie said her duties at Hoike include teaching the fundamental classes as well as having one-on-one instruction in areas people are interested in. As a programmer, she said she also fits in submissions into the rotation and schedules the televised events.

Her latest WAVE award is her third, she said. It joins her collection of awards, which includes two Hometown awards, two Northeast Regional awards, two Emmys, two Pegasus awards, and a Telly award.

She said her work space includes a station at home as well as one at the Hoike offices.

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