The Film

Beginning in 2011, the story of UNC’s “fake classes” made national headlines as a massive athletics scandal. Caught between university deans unwilling to accept responsibility and news media eager to implicate athletics, UNC’s academic counselors for athletes found themselves accused of complicity and without the means to defend themselves. Bradley Bethel was a reading specialist for UNC athletes and was outraged by the way the press portrayed his colleagues. Refusing to remain silent, he set out to defend those falsely accused and give them a platform to tell their side of the story. In the process, he realized the problem was even bigger than the media. Following Bradley over the course of a year, UNVERIFIED challenges the headlines and tells a story more complicated and heartbreaking than the one we’ve heard in the news.

The Filmmakers

UNVERIFIED Production Team (Small)
From left to right: Sebastian Diaz (Editor), Ned Phillips (DP & Editor), Bradley Bethel (Writer & Director), Connie Lo Ferrara (Producer), and Ed Barnes (Story Consultant)

Writer & director Bradley Bethel is an unlikely documentary filmmaker. He originally studied writing at The Ohio State University and earned a master’s degree in English Education from the University of Toledo. While working as a writing tutor and reading specialist at the University of North Carolina, news broke of a scandal involving UNC’s athletics department, and Bradley’s colleagues were caught in the middle. Outraged after seeing his colleagues scapegoated, he became determined to set the record straight and thus began work on UNVERIFIED, his first documentary.

Producer Connie Lo Ferrara has been working in video production for more than 16 years. She was the associate producer for 365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley, a feature documentary film that challenges the media’s narrative of the Penn State scandal and examines the effects of that scandal on the Penn State community. Connie earned a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in Radio-Television-Film, and her projects have spanned a variety of categories, including advertising, documentary, educational videos, and news.

Director of photography & editor Ned Phillips was also the director of photography for Truth Underground, a forthcoming documentary that follows three spoken-word poets in North Carolina and explores how the spoken-word community gives meaning to its member poets. In 2006, Ned graduated with honors from Goucher College, where he played lacrosse and double-majored in Spanish and Communications & Media Studies. Two years later he completed a Certificate in Documentary Arts at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. Since then, Ned has worked as a video editor for the Chapel Hill production company Warner & Company, and he has written and produced for the Durham-based online publication Clarion Content.

Editor Sebastian Diaz grew up in Mexico but moved to New York in 2013 to participate in the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio residency program in documentary arts. As a UnionDocs fellow, he directed and edited “Toñita’s,” a short documentary about the last Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Toñita’s” screened at MoMA Documentary Fortnight 2014, among other festivals, and won the Brooklyn Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival 2014 and the Best Short Documentary Award at the San Diego Latino Film Festival 2015. Sebastian has worked on many other documentary projects, and he studied Latin American Literature at the Autonomous University of Baja Californinia in Tijiuana.

Assistant producer & motion graphics artist Michael Pogoloff is currently in graduate school at North Carolina State University’s College of Design, where he is concentrating in New Media. His experience includes collaborations with New York Times bestselling author Edwin Black. Michael began studying photography and other visual arts in high school and became interested in documentary arts after earning his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of North Carolina. Through his experience and studies, Michael has developed technical skills in animation, cinematography, color grading, editing, virtual effects, and 3D modeling.