From the Nominator
How do you deliver a message of hope and gratitude during a year when the community has been through nine months of a grueling pandemic? Every year, Sidwell Friends School, a PK-12 independent Quaker school in Washington, DC, sends a holiday video message as a way to promote unity and goodwill to the full community of students, parents and guardians, faculty, staff, and alumni—a message that took on new meaning this year. A normal production would have entailed hiring freelancers to collaborate on storyboards, finding participants (i.e., students, teachers, administrators), several days of shooting, a musical score, and extensive editing and vetting. However, in 2020 the challenge was to produce a similarly high-quality video under the strictest pandemic conditions, which included not allowing external contractors on campus at all. The solution was to produce the project completely in-house, with a tight storyboard, limited props, a specific window of time, and one amazing person in a fox suit. The result was “Light of Joy,” the story of the school’s mascot, Star the Fox, reflecting alone on what really matters in life, and sharing the heartwarming message with the full community.
From the Judges
In a year marked by societal upheavals, “Light of Joy: 2020 Holiday Video” from Sidwell Friends School discovered what we all needed: joy. This adorable, breezy holiday video focuses on the antics of the school’s mascot, Star the Fox, which helps ground this concise story of a campus changed, but not broken from the COVID-19 pandemic. The resourcefulness of the staff to change the video on the fly, the creative ways they presented their shutdown campus as if the students (and the holidays) never left, the great performance of the video on social media, its heartfelt message of togetherness, and the high production value on a non-existent budget exemplify why this title is worthy of the Grand Gold award for Video on a Shoestring.