By Margaret Saab
The Epps music video directed by Vivi Gray (12), with the help of Sam McCann (12), was featured at the Indie Memphis' Youth Film Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, and our very own turkeys won the two top prizes. Read more about their story and Vivi’s awards!
On Saturday, Sept. 9, the Indie Memphis Youth Film Festival honored Vivi Gray (12) with the showing of her music video “Steps.” Vivi won not only the “Audience Choice Award” but also the highest award, “The Grand Jury Prize.”
Originally, the music video was created for Olivia DeWitt ‘17, better known on iTunes and Spotify as EPPS, as a part of her “Steps” EP release last spring.
The idea was initially presented in Nov. 2016 when Vivi and classmate Sam McCann (12), an assistant director of the film, considered a collaboration with one of EPPS’s new songs and saw particular cinematic potential in the song “Steps” based on the narrative it portrayed.
“Sam and I were both very inspired by Olivia’s message about the standards that I think young girls face in society as a whole. You can go so many interesting and weird places with that,” Vivi says.
Vivi’s initial ideas for the film focused on the effect of societal standards on young girls, but over time her idea morphed more into the analysis of a complicated mother-daughter relationship.
“I interpreted it as a relationship where the mother has subscribed to a world that is very limiting, and therefore her mind has now been limited, but the daughter, of course, rejects that, despite the mother trying to live vicariously through her,” Vivi explains.
Once she began to create the film, Vivi contacted the Memphis Film Commission to help secure locations for filming and, in theory, to award the film more exposure as a sanctioned project. In creating the film, Vivi expressed that her favorite aspect of production was choosing costumes for the “pyscho-mother” and deciding how such a mother would be depicted in the acting.
“Vivi has a great eye, and you can tell when you see the angles she chose to shoot from. She emphasized the eeriness of the story through her choice of shots and angles. For me, that's what made the video stand out.” describes Olivia DeWitt when asked what she thought the most noteworthy part of the film was.
In Spring 2017, the film was officially complete.
Savannah Grinspun (12), this year’s Art Club President, says, “I thought it was so gorgeous; Vivi was so good with editing and the camera that the visuals in it were so incredible. She manages to tell a story without even having the song directly relate to the music video narrative.”