In 2012 Western Washington University alumnus TJ Martin won an Academy Award for his documentary feature "Undefeated." The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) bestows the Oscar to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry.
Martin is the first director of African-American descent to win an Oscar for a full-length feature film. Martin, 32, received the Oscar alongside co-director and co-editor Dan Lindsay and producer Rich Middlemas.
“Undefeated” follows the struggles of Manassas High School’s football team as they attempt win their first playoff berth in their 110-year history. Charismatic coach Bill Courtney leads and nurtures this group of young Black men as they face poverty, academic challenges and violence in North Memphis, TN in this moving true story
Martin credits his time at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies as prepping him for the next stage of his life – a move to New York and then Los Angeles to work in film. “Fairhaven [College] allowed me to go off and dabble in the film world and integrate what I learned in my classes through the media,” he says. “You’ll fail a million times before you make one success. Fairhaven and WWU created a comfortable environment for that to happen. It was a good stomping ground where I could experiment a lot and felt comfortable making mistakes.”
TJ has returned to Los Angeles to pursue new projects.