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Behind the Scenes of the 2nd Annual Phoenix Film Festival’s Best Picture

Each year, the Reel Leadership Committee of second year students enlists first year students from each cohort to create a short film. The objective was a little hazy. Were we supposed to create Booth propaganda? Was the target viewer current or prospective students? Was creating something funny the primary goal? At the end of the day, the Reel Leadership Committee simply told us we would be judged on: Execution, Content, and “Boothiness.” Here’s the video we came up with…

As members of the Gargolyes cohort, Ben Lampert, Aakanksha Pevekar, Natalia Roose, and I, essentially agreed that we were to make something that represented Booth well, displayed the school culture, and was humorous.

After an initial brainstorming session where we threw out ideas ranging from a Booth infomercial to an Animal Planet-style documentary of students, we settled on something that excited us all: a Google search video that displayed a medley of questions new students might ask. These questions ranged from the benign (“What is Chicago like?”) to the anxious (“Do 2Ys want to be my friend?”) to the sarcastic (“Which messaging platform do I use?”).

To put the video together, we made a list of these questions and filmed dozens of students (mostly Gargoyles) acting out potential answers. The effect was a collage of students moving, often candidly, through the Booth environment—walking through the Winter Garden, playing sports at the annual cohort competition, etc. Other times, we just captured students being themselves, and their actions fit perfectly with our questions. Ultimately, the video—combined with inspirational music and an over-voice of Dean Rajan—evolved into an emotional tribute to Boothie life.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team. We were all incredibly eager to put together a great video, even while we were each experiencing the craziness that is first quarter 1Y. I remembered being immediately impressed during our initial brainstorming at the creative ideas presented. Once we had agreed to our concept, we all committed to it. We also particularly want to give special thanks to Ben, who was our technical video editing guru.

Advice for future film festival teams: get yourself a video editor on your team! It makes things a lot easier! Since the video was presented at the film festival, we have had several requests to use this video as marketing material for the school. I can’t say how proud this makes me of our team.

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