From the Third Coast International Audio Festival, introducing the 11 best stories from our 2022-23 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition.
Joining over 1000 hours of submissions from around the world, these are the stories chosen by our 21 exceptional Judges — stories that push the boundaries of what audio is capable of, and reveal our world in sound.
In a hallowed Third Coast tradition, we won't reveal "who won what" Award until our virtual Worldwide Awards Presentation on Sunday, August 6 at 3 P.M. (Register for free, here.) Join us to hear from the makers themselves about what this work means to them, and to celebrate the power of narrative audio storytelling.
For now, we invite you to explore the 11 Winners of the 2022-23 Third Coast/RHDF Competition. Read on below...
SHORT CUTS (FALLING TREE PRODUCTIONS, BBC RADIO 4) from THE UNITED KINGDOM
PRODUCER: TALIA AUGUSTIDIS & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: ELEANOR MCDOWALL
"Checking One's Levels" is a quiet piece about memory and loss and porridge. It features recordings made over several months by Talia, a part-time caregiver and aspiring audio producer who is looking after a woman with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Talia and the woman were conducting recordings for a separate project, but each day as Talia set up the microphone, she asked the woman what she had for breakfast to check the levels. For audio producers, it’s a throwaway question; the answer doesn’t matter. But for the woman, the question held a deeper resonance.
RUMBLE STRIP from THE UNITED STATES
PRODUCER: ERICA HEILMAN | SPECIAL THANKS TO: TARA REESE, CLARE DOLAN,
AMELIA MEATH, & TOBIN ANDERSON
Finn Rooney killed himself on January 3, 2020 in the afternoon after school. No one predicted it. There were no signs. All that can be said for sure is that there was a flash of high emotion that comes with youth, and there was a gun nearby, and bullets. This isn't a story about suicide. It's a story about a boy called Finn who loved to fish and play baseball and write poetry and embroider... and what happens to a small Vermont community as it staggers forward after an unspeakable tragedy.
INVISIBILIA (NPR) from THE UNITED STATES
WRITER & REPORTER: KIA MIAKKA NATISSE | PRODUCER & SOUND DESIGNER: PHOEBE WANG | PRODUCER: ARIANA GHARIB LEE | SUPERVISING EDITOR: NEENA PATHAK | SUPERVISING PRODUCER: LIANA SIMSTROM | MASTERING: JAMES WILLETTS | FACT CHECKER: KATIE DAUGERT | FACT-CHECKER: AYDA POURASAD
Somewhere in the pandemic and the terrible news cycle, co-host Kia Miakka Natisse got stuck in a butt divet in her couch and an even deeper funk. To break out, she sets out on a journey to the bottom of the ocean, looking for an answer to a single, existential question: can I be safe and free? On her hunt for wisdom, she journeys to Cape Town, South Africa, to dive into the ocean with freediver and self-proclaimed mermaid, Zandile Ndhlovu.
THE 11TH PODCAST (PINEAPPLE STREET STUDIOS) from THE UNITED STATES
PERFORMER & WRITER: SAI SION | PERFORMERS: HIMIE FREEMAN, SAJDA WAITE, AMBER J. PHILLIPS, ISIAH THOMPSON, DAVID GIRARD, & NFOGEEN MPUTUBWELE | PERFORMER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, & EDITOR: LEILA DAY | LEAD PRODUCER & DIRECTOR: JESSICA JUPITER | PRODUCER, EDITOR,& DIRECTOR: CHLOE PRASINOS | EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: MAX LINSKY & JENNA WEISS-BERMAN | PRODUCERS: ALEXIS MOORE & KRISTEN TORRES | SENIOR MANAGING PRODUCER: ASHA SALUJA | SENIOR PRODUCER, SOUND DESIGNER, SCORING, MIXING, AND MUSIC SUPERVISION: ERIC MENNEL | SOUND DESIGNER, SCORING, MIXING, AND MUSIC SUPERVISION: JAMES ROWLANDS | SENIOR ENGINEER: DAVY SUMNER | ASSISTANT ENGINEER: SHARON BARDALES | ADDITIONAL MUSIC: ARTHUR CONSEIL | HEAD OF SOUND AND ENGINEERING: RAJ MAKHIJA | VISUALS AND MARKETING: GRACE COHEN-CHEN, MOIRA CURRAN, KHADIM DIENG, CURT COURTENAY, & MEREDITH RICE | EPISODE A: JONATHAN CONDA
We travel through time and space to meet Duran Durag on the brink of his Saturn Return. He’s cocky and charming, smooth and clumsy. If it weren’t for his fancy durag and his family name, Duran wouldn’t be given the time of day. And it’s high time for him to learn some important life lessons. The all-knowing DJ Saturn is not playing when he sends this young space alien on a series of challenges that reveal what it is to live in a universe that doesn’t orbit around ego. Will the missions he’s sent on ground him, or will his swagger get in the way of growing up?
POST REPORTS (THE WASHINGTON POST) from THE UNITED STATES
REPORTER: ARELIS HERNÁNDEZ | HOST: MARTINE POWERS | PRODUCER: RENNIE SVIRNOVSKIY | PRODUCER & ENGINEER: TED MULDOON | PRODUCER: ANDREA SALCEDO | PRODUCER: EMMA TALKOFF | EDITOR: REENA FLORES | REPORTER: JOHN WOODROW COX
Within hours of the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, reporter Arelis Hernández got in her car and drove to Uvalde, TX from her home in San Antonio. One of the first people she met there was 9-year-old Jalissa Ibarra. Jalissa told Arelis what happened at her school in a rapid speech that began with the phrase, "It started in the fourth-grade building" — and her small, childlike voice stuck with us. Post Reports produced an episode the next day recounting what happened at Uvalde through the eyes of this young girl. Arelis brought her full humanity to the reporting, breaking down as she spoke to us from her car in Uvalde near the site of the shooting. In one of the most heartbreaking moments of the interview, she asked Jalissa: "Did you ever imagine that anything like this would happen at your school?" and Jalissa responded right away:"Yes. That's why I'm scared to go in the restrooms, because I'm scared that someone's going to pop up. So I don't like to go to the restrooms at my school. I stay in my classroom."
LRT RADIJAS from LITHUANIA
AUTHOR, PRODUCER, & SOUND DESIGNER: SIGITA VEGYTĖ | EDITOR: VAIDA PILIBAITYTĖ | SUBTITLES BY: ADOMAS ZUBĖ | ENGLISH TRANSLATOR: IEVA ŽVINAKYTĖ
In the summer of 2021, dozens, and later hundreds, of people started illegally crossing the Lithuanian border from Belarus every day. As a result, Lithuania reinforced its border protection, building a metal fence and a barbed-wire barrier and assigning troops to help the border guards. Lithuania and the European Union say that this is a “hybrid attack” orchestrated by the Minsk regime, which has taken advantage of the desire of thousands of people – mainly Iraqi Kurds but also Syrians, Congolese, Afghans, and others – to reach Western Europe and have a safer and better life there. This is the story about two people — one guarding the border, the other crossing it illegally — and the circumstances that have led to the intersection of their lives.
SHORT CUTS (FALLING TREE PRODUCTIONS, BBC RADIO 4) from THE UNITED KINGDOM
PRODUCER & SOUND DESIGNER: CHRISTINA HARDINGE | PARTICIPANT &
CO-CREATOR: HANIA FARES
What happens when we reframe the relationship to our body as a life partnership? "Life Partners" brings this question to life, as Hania Fares recounts the highs and lows of her 33-year relationship to 'Bea'. Developed over a series of facilitated workshops and interviews, producer Christina Hardinge adapts the drama-therapy technique of ‘characterisation’ to collaboratively create this unscripted story with Hania; revealing entirely new perspectives on a remarkably common experience.
SELF-PUBLISHED from VIETNAM
CREATOR: DAMON PHAM
A meandering poem-performance-essay-record where I try to work through a few mental knots with myself. I let some of my self-directed thinking bleed out from my desktop, but I also touch on interpersonal themes and create ingresses into understanding, at times, and for people that I want to invite in.
AMERICAN PUBLIC MEDIA from THE UNITED STATES
SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, PRODUCER, & HOST: EMILY HANFORD | REPORTER: CHRISTOPHER PEAK | EDITOR: CATHERINE WINTER | MIXING, SOUND DESIGN, & ORIGINAL MUSIC: CHRIS JULIN | MIXING & SOUND DESIGN: EMILY HAAVIK | RESEARCH & REPORTING: WILL CALLAN, CHOLE MARIE RIVERA, & ANGELA CAPUTO | DIGITAL EDITORS: ANDY KRUSE & DAVE MANN | FACT CHECKING: BETSY TOWNER LEVINE | THEME MUSIC COMPOSERS: JIM BRUNBERG & BEN LANDSVERK | ENGINEERS: DEREK RAMIREZ, ALEX SIMPSON, & CAMERON WILEY
There's an idea about how children learn to read that's held sway in schools for more than a generation — even though it was proven wrong by cognitive scientists decades ago. Teaching methods based on this idea can make it harder for children to learn how to read. In this six-part podcast, host Emily Hanford investigates the influential authors who promote this idea and the company that sells their work. It's an exposé of how educators came to believe in something that isn't true and are now reckoning with the consequences — children harmed, money wasted, an education system upended.
INVISIBLE INSTITUTE & USG AUDIO from THE UNITED STATES
WRITER & REPORTER: YOHANCE LACOUR | PRODUCERS: BILL HEALY, DANA BROZOST-KELLEHER, ERISA APANTAKU & SARAH GEIS | SOUND DESIGN, MIXING, & MUSIC SUPERVISION: STEVEN JACKSON & PHIL DMOCHOWSKI | MUSIC COMPOSITION: TAKA YASUZAWA & ALEX SUGIURA | EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS FOR INVISIBLE INSTITUTE: ALISON FLOWERS & JAMIE KALVEN | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR USG: JOSH BLOCH
Twenty-five years ago in Chicago, a little boy named Lenard Clark was beaten into a coma just for being Black. Almost overnight, the news stories turned to racial reconciliation and forgiveness. Writer Yohance Lacour didn’t buy that shit. "You Didn't See Nothin" is the result of his years-long inquiry into how that narrative took hold, and how it changed his life.