Filmmaker Seth Johnson of Jax State’s Longleaf Studios Wins Fifth Emmy Award at 50th Annual Southeast Emmy Awards


Seth Johnson holding 5 Emmys

In a dazzling ceremony held on June 15, 2024, the 50th Annual Southeast Emmy Awards recognized the unparalleled talent of filmmaker Seth Johnson of Jax State’s Longleaf Studios, who took home his fifth Emmy award. The meticulous effort Johnson invests in crafting compelling trailers paid off as he clinched the award for Defending Freedom: The Authur D. Shores Story, in the category of Program Promotion.   

In addition to the Defending Freedom win, Johnson’s trailers for Riding Through History: The Barber Collection were also recognized in the Program Promotion category. While these films were ineligible for Documentary–Historical this year, there is great anticipation for their nomination in 2025. Other notable nominees in the Program Promotion category included WABE-TV in Atlanta, Ole Miss University and SC ETV in Columbia, marking a significant achievement for Jax State and Longleaf Studios.  

Reflecting on his success, Johnson said, "Winning this Emmy is an incredible honor. It validates our team's hard work and passion for every project. I'm grateful for the unwavering support from Jax State and Alabama Public Television, and I look forward to continuing our mission of bringing important stories to life."  

Johnson’s dedication to storytelling and historical documentation was also celebrated with his film Building Birmingham: The Sloss Story, earning a nomination for Best Documentary – Historical. Competing with top-tier productions from GA Public Broadcasting, WGTV in Atlanta, WSFA in Montgomery and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Johnson’s nomination underscored the high caliber of his work. Despite fierce competition, Johnson’s achievement in securing three nominations was a testament to his exceptional filmmaking skills.  

Johnson’s success is a testament to the collaborative spirit at Longleaf Studios and Jax State. Pete Conroy, the visionary behind Longleaf Studios, its documentary series and a key figure on the APT Board of Directors, has been pivotal in commissioning this and many other films at Jax State. “Johnson’s fifth Emmy award is not just a personal triumph but a true sign of excellence for Longleaf Studios, Jax State and the Alabama’s film industry,” stated Conroy. “This accolade sets a high standard for future projects and, so, of course, we have many more to tell.”   

The Defending Freedom project also allowed the participation of eleven Jax State film, art and communications students, who worked alongside industry professionals from Illuminate Films. These talented students—Riley Abston, Nicolas Guimaraes Vieira, Adrian Langston, Noah Lockette, Noah McCord, Samuel Musgrove, Laney O'Neal, Leslie Pearce, Esther Shull, Benjamin Willis and Daylan Wright—played a significant role in the production's success.  

Watch the award-winning trailer for Defending Freedom: The Authur D. Shores Story here: Defending Freedom Trailer. The first four Emmys were won for the following productions: Fire in Anniston, a Freedom Riders Story (three Emmys), and The Forgotten Creeks (one Emmy).