C. E. Dye

C. E. Dye

Assistant Professor - Cinema Production

Charles Dye's multi-modal film work supports decolonizing projects around the world. From non-fiction projects for Public Television to fiction screenplays, short films and far-flung experiments, he seeks to create not only culture-shifting, widely-seen movies, but also to define more equitable and inclusive ways of making cinema. To date, his films have touched tens of thousands, sometimes millions of viewers, nudging them as his former writing teacher, Edward Abbey, once wrote, “out of the ruts of habit” towards a deeper awareness of our interconnected lives.

In 2016 he co-directed the regional Emmy award-winning Finding Traction. In 2014, he was the producer and director of Indian Relay, which was selected for the national PBS series, Independent Lens, and won two regional Emmy awards. In 2009, he was the producer, director, and editor of Before There Were Parks, Yellowstone and Glacier through Native Eyes, which appeared on primetime PBS nationally and won two regional Emmys. His films, A Cat Called Elvis and Last of the Gum Men were repeatedly broadcast regionally and nationally on PBS. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and on NBC's Scholastic.com, as well as on the History Channel, the National Geographic Channels, and on other national and international cable networks.

His fiction work includes writing The Snow Leopard, a feature-length screenplay (that he plans to produce on the border of western Mongolia and Russia) and numerous short films, including Uncle's Car (writer, producer, director, editor--an official selection of several film festivals), Half, C17, Necktie (producer, director, producer--respectively--all 
with School of Performing Arts' students), and Spaghetti Western (director), currently in post-production.

Additionally, his work includes Virginia Dares, winner of a 2019 Virginia Tech Presidential Principles of Community Award (a multi-creator production/online film festival helping re-envision the legend of Virginia Dare--a story hitherto controlled and shaped by guardians of so-called white identity) and The Lentil 360 (an educational VR project about regenerative agriculture on the High Plains) created in partnership with MontanaPBS and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems (funded in part by a 2017 Film and Digital Media Grant from Humanities Montana, and by the Friends of MontanaPBS). 

Contact Me

(540) 231-3991
251C Henderson Hall
195 Alumni Mall (0141)
Blacksburg, VA  24061

Areas of Expertise

  • Research: Flat and immersive nonfiction film production, screenwriting and fiction film production.
  • Teaching: Nonfiction and fiction film production, ethnographic filmmaking, story development, screenwriting, photography and visual communication.

Education & Training

  • M.F.A., Montana State University
  • Post Baccalaureate Certificate, University of Washington
  • B.A., University of Arizona
  • New Faculty/Early Career Teaching Certificate, Virginia Tech

What is your favorite place on campus? Why?

Riding alongside my son, atop our bicycles, as we pass Burruss Hall while the day breaks over the Drillfield on our way to his school. This is a daily tradition we have, and I love every moment of it.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

Going into the unknown, facing a fear of that in myself, meeting the invariably remarkable people and incredible beauty that I always find there, somehow gracefully navigating the inevitable challenges that arise—and eventually, after a lot of editing, sharing some of that.

What is the most satisfying or rewarding moment of your artistic process? 

For starters, when the ‘tech’ drops away and I honestly connect with someone I never would've known, were I not a filmmaker. But even more importantly, when I share the rough draft of a project with a participant, and they confirm that I've accurately represented them.

When do you first remember making the decision to go into the arts?  What were the circumstances? 

I had the great fortune to see Michaelangelo's David when I was 20--and it overwhelmed me. Right there I understood why the making of art was among humanity's highest callings--why it was my calling--celebrating the beautiful, life, story, gumption…. I’ve been making art ever since. 

What is the most important quality for any student in the performing arts to cultivate?

Perserverence, listening and broad-mindedness.

Who has most influenced you? Why? 

My mother, because she has always believed that I have the potential to do anything. And, in another way, my father, because his accidental death—when I was a baby—pushes me to not take any day, or even any moment, for granted. I don’t put off pursuing dreams. 

Share something about yourself that might surprise your students. 

I once won a math contest. 

Honors & Awards



Official Selection of:
2019 (5th annual) Peak City International Film Festival (Sep 21~22, 2019)
2019 Southeastern International Film Festival (Nov 8~10, 2019)


Recipient of:
2019 Virginia Tech Presidential Principles of Community Award
2017 Virginia Tech | School of Performing Arts Bruce Carver Multicultural Arts Grant


Emmy Award, Documentary - Topical, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter. 2016
Best Mountain Sports Film, Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. 2015
Best Women in Adventure Film, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. 2015
Best Running Film – Silver Award, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. 2015
Television Non-Commercial Program of the Year, Montana Broadcasters Association. 2015
Best Action Film, Danish Adventure Film Festival. 2014
Finalist, Mountain Film Competition, Banff Mountain Film Festival. (fine cut) 2014
Online distribution via Netflix, available for streaming in over 190 countries. 2016–present
VOD on Amazon Prime, available for streaming in over 200 countries. 2015–present 
VOD on Hulu and apps for Apple/Android devices. 2015–present 
Cable broadcast in Europe and North Africa via AB Groupe and YLE. 2015


Emmy Award: Cultural Documentary. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter, 2014
Emmy Award: Photography. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter, 2014
Best Documentary Script. Spur Award, Western Writers of America.
Audience Award – Best Native American Film. Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival. 2015
Best Action Film. 17th Annual Native American Indian Film and Video Festival of the Southeast, Columbia, SC 2015
Selected for Independent Lens’ 2013-2014 season. 932 original broadcasts (+ repeats) in the U.S.A. (53:25 version).


Emmy Award: Historical/Cultural Documentary, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter. 2010
Emmy Award: Cinematography (to Rick Smith), National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Chapter. 2010
Primetime national PBS broadcast via PBS National Program Service.


Featured film on www.lifeonterra.com when it won the 2007 Webby Award for Student Online Film and Video.


National Geographic Channels global broadcast. 2002
Photos: Wall Street Journal front page & Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo permanent exhibit. 2002/~date

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