Spy video nabs student Emmy award for Niteskool

Jeff Stone

Shutting down Michigan Avenue at 4 a.m. and making a sorority house look like a cocktail party for international spies was all in two weeks’ work for Niteskool Productions.

The student group’s 2002 music video, created for DJ Jephree’s electronic-techno song “How Does It Feel,” will be the recipient of a student Emmy award for best music video at a March 16 gala thrown by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. Niteskool took second place in the same category last year.

In the video, an old man tries to hunt down a female spy who stole a painting during a cocktail reception. The pursuit takes the pair all over Chicago and culminates in a high-speed car chase on Michigan Avenue.

“(The video) won in part because we got so many things that look like they cost a lot of money,” said Maureen Grosser, one of the video’s producers. “We got stunt drivers and only had to pay half price. We found ways to do things that students wouldn’t normally think about doing.”

Chicago Community Cinema also named Niteskool’s video as the best student film. Li-Wei Chu, Niteskool’s live concert chairwoman, compared the video to the “Mission: Impossible” movies because of all of the special effects.

“Like Tom Cruise, the girl is dressed in a mask (of an old man) that she rips off,” said Chu, a Communication sophomore. “We made (the cocktail party inside Tri-Delt) look like this sophisticated type of area.”

Katie Russell, who saw the music video when it was shown last year at Technological Institute during the Studio 22 premiere, said the video was impressive for a student production.

“The quality of film production was so high,” said Russell, a McCormick sophomore. “The best part was when the old man is transformed into a young woman. The make-up was extremely well done.”

Niteskool allows students to get hands-on production experience by sponsoring live concerts and producing a CD and music video. Student musicians audition each year for a spot on the CD, and the 12 best songs are recorded. The best of those selected for the CD is turned into a music video.

“I’m happy (with the video) as long as it’s fun — that’s all that matters,” said Grosser, a Communication junior. “Awards are just the icing on the cake.”

To improve the group’s name recognition on campus, Niteskool is planning a comeback concert that will feature a rock band, a live DJ and a hip-hop act, Niteskool members said.

Associated Student Government senators denied Niteskool funding for their 2003 CD last spring, citing the poor sales of the 2002 CD.

Le’Jamiel Goodall, ASG financial vice president and chairman of the Student Activities Finance Board, said a student group’s achievements usually don’t influence whether a group will receive funding.

“We take into account the merit of the association,” said Goodall, a Communication senior, whose group doles out money from the Student Activities Fee each year. “(Our evaluation) includes programming in the last couple of years, attendance to audits and management of accounts.”

Danielle Ongart, Niteskool’s president, said the award probably won’t improve Niteskool’s chances of receiving money from Northwestern sources.

“I don’t think that winning the Emmy will affect the money we get from ASG,” said Ongart, a Communication junior. “But (the Emmy) will help us raise money from sources other than NU itself, such as businesses and alumni.”

This year, Niteskool will produce a video for student ska-rock band Samsara. The band is made up of the same students as Green Means Go, a group of Music seniors who performed at Dance Marathon last year.