University Marketing was asked to turn Professor Caleen Jennings’s performance on the state of race relations in America, Hands Up, into a video to share with the AU community and beyond. Jennings wrote the play for a live audience, so it required thoughtful planning and creativity to transform this piece for a new medium.
Although Jennings had performed Hands Up multiple times for mid-sized groups of AU students, there was a desire to distribute it to a broader audience, including AU faculty and alumni. The video was designed to serve as an educational tool and an entrée to open, and sometimes difficult, conversations about race on campus and in America.
To retain the drama of the performance while creating unique perspectives and intimacy, UCM asked Jennings to perform the play several times, filming each performance from different angles. Bold lighting and a simple set conveyed the play’s raw emotion, while aged graphics and a black and white treatment gave the film a nostalgic look, evoking newsreel footage from the 1960s.
AU premiered the “Hands Up” video to an audience of approximately 150 faculty members on April 22, 2015. We also promoted the video through Facebook, with a shared post and sponsored ad reaching a total of almost 80,000 people and generating more than 43,475 video views and 1,800 likes, comments, and shares.