Thomas Russell

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Tom Russell, 2008.
Thomas "Tom" Russell graduated from Brigham Young University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in film. Upon graduating with a screenwriting degree, Russell began working in the advertising industry as a copywriter and director. After working as a senior copywriter and creative director at a regional agency in California, he became a managing partner of his own agency. During that time he received over 40 Addy Awards, four Auroras, five Silver Microphones, and several awards for long form corporate film.

His work in film and screenwriting has been recognized by the Sundance Film Festival, the Slamdance Film Festival, the Maryland Film Festival, CineVegas, the Mendocino Film Festival, the Omaha Film Festival, The Sonoma Film Festival, and the American Screenwriters’ Association.

Russell was the executive producer of Snell Show, the Grand Prize winner at the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival and of Bonjour Danny Bonjour -- recognized by the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. He recently completed work on the feature film, mr. dungbeetle, which his son is writing the soundtrack for, and two of his screenplays: Tokens and The Lovely Obscure have received prizes from six international screenwriting competitions. In 2009, Russell directed fellow TMA faculty member Barta Heiner's feature length film Diantha’s Crossing. It was distributed by BYU Broadcasting and was received with rave reviews. He also provided Cinematography for the documentary film, Angie – currently available on the BYU Fit for the Kingdom website. In 2011, Russell wrote and directed the film Redemption or For Robbing the Dead in collaboration with the production company FirstLight Independent. About 130 students from the BYU Theatre and Media Arts program and from UVU also worked on the film. It was presented at the Cannes Film Market in Cannes, France. The film was later selected to be in the Heartland Film Festival, one of the highest purse prizes of film festivals in the world. Additionally, the film was shown in Utah and Salt Lake county theaters throughout the month of April 2012, at the LDS Film Festival, and also in KSL's Nightside Project. In 2013 the Association of Mormon Letters awarded Russell the Film Award for his work on Redemption.

Russell is currently a professor of media arts at Brigham Young University where he teaches advanced production. As a professor, he has mentored students including Jared Hess, director of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. He also advised A. Todd Smith in the production of Mr. Bellpond, for which Smith received the Outstanding Director Award at the College Television Awards festival in 2012. The film itself received 1st-place award for Outstanding Comedy. In 2014, he served as a faculty mentor abd Creative Consultant for BYU's production of the full-length film, Beyond, which had a cast and crew of approximately 100 students.

In 2015, he was an executive producer for Nick Dixon's film Without a Rope, which won Third Place in the Short Film Competition at the 2015 LDS Film Festival. The film also received an audience choice award.

In 2016, He won the West Field Screenwriting Award (WFSA) for the western genre in what was described by the panels of judges as the most competitive season to date.

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