Who were those guys filming us?
Jonathan Kho '23, Dante Ornelas '24
Ever thought you would be asked by three strangers from the Netherlands to film you dancing to “Stayin’ Alive” in the middle of the principals office, or chant, "St. Stephen's, St. Agnes, St. Stephens and St. Agnes" over and over again in different classrooms?
For about two weeks, a film group from the Netherlands named, “The Film Guys”, came to our school to shoot a new admissions video to show the true spirit of St. Stephens and St. Agnes School. They visited many of our school events such as Friday Night Lights, and travelled all around the school to talk to students, asking them to dance and lip sync to the Film Guys' own original song about St. Stephens and St. Agnes. All of this singing and dancing came about because Mr. Kunz and the admissions office met them at multiple admission events. The Film guys were there to promote the importance of producing videos to advertise the true spirit of different schools. Mr. Kunz explained, “I’ve seen them at a couple conferences and the communication office was aware of them as well, and we’ve seen some of the other videos that they produced for some of the other schools and I always thought they were really creative and different.” So, three of the Film guy employees, including the two founders, came to our school in October and are about to release their video about SSSAS.
The Film Guys came about simply because two friends, named Robert Bahou and Suhayb Al-Jawhari, loved filmmaking. Robert and Suhayb’s life completely turned around when their high school asked Robert, “Hey do you wanna do a video for us? We don’t have a lot of money to pay you” Robert further explains, “But at that point I was trying to figure out how to be a filmmaker professionally. You know, I was doing long interviews with long transcriptions and it was just a lot of the soul and passion that we put into making films that felt like it was not going the way we wanted it to.” Robert and Suhayb continuously questioned whether the hard and long work of filming was worth it. As a result however, the filmmakers successfully made and posted a video that was completely out of the box and intriguing. Ever since they released this video in 2011, schools around the world have asked the film guys to create videos for them. After they created about thirty six different admissions videos, they finally came to St. Stephens and St. Agnes to create a video for our school.
What the film guys were really looking for in our school was what the vibe, culture, and being a member of the SSSAS community is like. One quote from Mr. Kunz on what the video was trying to capture is, “the vibe that oftentimes has been created in videos that represent who we are, as a school has been, like, maybe a little bit more on the serious. You know, it's like, the warmth, the nurturing, the joy, then you get the goosebumps, because you're kind of like, emotionally drawn in, and in a different way, which is good in and of itself. For the right type of situations. I think for us, though, we wanted to tap into the joy and the fun and the passion that the students have here in a different way. And so I think that was kind of part of it.” The video is supposed to represent the core of our school and make the viewer feel a certain way when watching the video. In this video, they tried to show the warmth of the SSSAS community by filming what students enjoy doing. When the film guys arrived at our school, they gave a presentation about who they were, why they were here, and what they were looking for. They showed a picture of a large whiteboard and on that whiteboard were locations and activities that students love. The film guys wanted to get on the ground level of what a student likes at SSSAS instead of just showing what the campus has to offer. As Mr. Kunz said, “The film guys were looking for the feeling of SSSAS.”
The thought behind this video for our school is that we can use this for admissions to demonstrate the power of our community. The video is supposed to show the culture and spirit of this school within our community. The Film Guys asked many questions about our community and specific questions about what trends are popular. The video really tries to capture what the school is as a whole. In the video there is an emphasis on what places and clubs are popular at the school. One thing that people are often looking for in schools when applying is what it is actually like to be at that school. Mr. Kunz states what the video is trying to show, “like an atmosphere at the school that truly represents, you know, what is kind of unique about that school, in a creative, fun way that is full of energy, and full of excitement.” The video is looking beyond the basic information that is given to students when applying to schools. This video will allow someone looking to apply to this school a deeper window into the community at this school more than a shadow day ever could. The video focuses on showing every piece of the Saints community ranging from all interests and bringing it all together. So in short our school hired the film guys to bring more applicants to our school by showing what our community is really about.
The Film Guys wanted to create a video that would allow someone who is viewing our school to embody what it means and feels like to be a saint. It will first be shown to the applicants who are going through the admissions process, however it will be available on the school website around January 17. Unfortunately, Mr. Kunz was not able to say how much the video cost, but he was able to say it was a more expensive video to make compared to previous admission videos. As a student at SSSAS, I hope the film does a good job of representing everyday life at SSSAS and I look forward to watching the video in January.