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Mr. Safin’s “From the Heart” captures filmmaking award

Mr. Safin’s “From the Heart” captures filmmaking award

by Public Relations | April 16, 2024


LATROBE, PA ­– Mr. David Safin, associate professor of digital art + media and chair of the Visual Arts and Media department, was recently awarded an AVA Award for his short film, “From the Heart.” The film follows local softball coach and longtime baseball coach Don Hartman in a documentary format as Hartman details some of the keys to his continued coaching success.Mr. David Safin and Coach Don Hartman

"I had the privilege and pleasure of assisting Coach Don Hartman for six years,” said Safin. “In that time, we spent hours and hours driving to and from practices and games. Those hours were filled with conversations spanning any number of subjects, most notably, life and baseball. While we remain close to this day, we haven't had the same amount of time to engage in deep discussion, so this video provided the unique opportunity to do so."

“From the Heart” secured a Gold honor at the AVA Digital Awards, which is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design, and production of digital communication.

"I am blessed to have the ability and opportunity to share stories like his,” Safin reflected. “The honor from AVA Awards is less about my technical skill and more a validation of his narrative's broad appeal.”

"Sitting down with my former player and coach, not to mention a lifelong friend, was a dream come true,” remarked Coach Hartman. “We talked effortlessly for hours about the game of baseball: a sport we both love so much. When I watched the finished product for the first time, it brought out many emotions. I cried, I laughed, I reminisced. It is an heirloom our family will treasure forever."  

"From the Heart" is currently airing on rotation on The Armstrong Neighborhood Channel. Check your local listings.


About “From the Heart”

Don Hartman came of age playing wiffleball on make-shift fields crafted on playgrounds, abandoned hockey courts, and church parking lots. His participation in organized, youth sports served as the adhesive that bonded him with his blue collar father. His focus on baseball was the gateway to a lifelong career in teaching and mentorship, which inspired the union between him and his wife, Mandy, who shared a similar passion for coaching. In this candid interview, Hartman reflects on his journey from a scrappy youth to a dedicated husband and father with stops as a decorated athlete and coach along the way. He also provides insight into his approach to coaching, and shares how his youth shaped his philosophies on life. His narrative is ultimately presented in the only manner he knows¾from the heart.


-David Collins, English major, of Oakmont



PHOTO: Mr. David Safin and Coach Don Hartman