SOURCE: The Nerdery

The Nerdery

May 11, 2016 07:11 ET

The Nerdery Honored at Brand Film Festival in NYC

"The Nerdery's Top Row Club" Wins Film Gold for Mockumentary on Website Redesign

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwired - May 11, 2016) - The Nerdery earned a Brand Film Festival Award for its short film, "The Nerdery's Top Row Club," at The Paley Center for Media in New York. "The Nerdery's Top Row Club" is a mockumentary of concocted controversy surrounding The Nerdery's recent website redesign, which moved on from its popular Nerd-finder feature for searching staff by seniority -- with the most-tenured employees exalted to the "top row."

Nerdery filmmakers Mike Ross and Matt Larson got top honors in the Internal Film category at The Brand Film Festival, which showcased the industry's most artistic, creative and effective branded content films, selected by a high-profile jury comprising top creatives from advertising, PR, digital, production, film and media.

"I am humbled to be recognized among these creative agencies and brands, but just being in the same film festival as Martin Scorsese is something I've always dreamed about," said Nerdery Video Producer Mike Ross, whose Twitter handle is @mikeyscorsese. Martin Scorsese directed Brand Film Festival Award winner "The Audition," a short film for Melco Crown Entertainment starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Scorsese's film was co-produced by RacPac Entertainment, DDB, GroupM, FleishmanHillard and SPRG.

While The Nerdery's underdog triumph isn't quite the sequel to "Revenge of the Nerds," their Brand Film Festival Award win stands apart from the field as the only honoree that single-handedly conceived, shot, directed and produced its own film entirely in-house -- just as The Nerdery does each week for its "Meet the Newbs" internal video series, cast with new hires as part of their introduction to the company. As always, the internal film was created in four days with no budget.

"Brands have become content owners and the Brand Film Festival celebrates the most creative films in that context," said PRWeek Global editorial director Steve Barrett. "Video now sits firmly at the heart of communications and marketing, and agencies and brands are staffing up to reflect this -- cinematic storytelling is fundamental to the brand narrative."

As a custom software design and development company, The Nerdery routinely launches websites for clients, yet its own had not changed for six years. "Top Row" made its internal film debut two days before The Nerdery's new website revealed its brand evolution to the outside world in February 2016. The cobbler's children have new shoes, but as a tech company that celebrates its people, The Nerdery's staff of almost 500 Nerds was a critically-important internal audience at launch.

"For The Nerdery, this was the right film at the right time," said "Top Row" co-creator Matt Larson, The Nerdery's Audio and Video Specialist. "'Top Row' is a meaningful snapshot. It took a cheeky look back at where we'd been, and gave our Nerds license to find humor in changes."

"My gut said we were doing the right thing, my head knew what was at stake, and my heart was full of nostalgia for the great website of our past," said Nerdery CEO Tom O'Neill. "Each Friday at our Bottlecap event, it's our tradition to toast the end of the week with our Meet the Newbs video -- a fun part of our culture and such a great way to build community on our team. As it turns out, it can also be a wonderful tool for managing change. This Meet the Newbs production didn't just introduce new Nerds; newbs McKay Ward and Matthew Green did so much more -- they made a video that would touch the hearts of many Nerds."

"Mike Ross has his finger on the pulse of the culture here," said Matt Larson about his partner in filmmaking. "He saw the opportunity that week, as The Nerdey sat on the precipice of a major brand shift. Mike was the visionary. He's a huge Ken Burns fan, and before we even started shooting he had the pacing and speech-style all laid out in his head. 'Top Row' was was a Mike-led endeavor, full-stop." Previous to The Nerdery's award-winning film, the Top Row Club was a long-running inside joke -- some mythical summit coveted by Nerds, according Nerdery lore and legend (mostly made-up at first, but now made real by Brand Film Festival hardware and murmurs of Oscar buzz).

"The Nerds roared as the 'scandal' of the top row unfolded," said O'Neill. "All the anxiety of the upcoming launch of our brand faded away as I saw our Nerds pay tribute to our old website/iconic Nerd finder. Our culture embraced change and stepped confidently into our next chapter."

"Matt's skill in editing and co-directing the narration of Nerds Emily Townswick, Gillian Reynolds and Alex Arbit was magical," said Ross. "It meant a lot to our crew to have an opportunity to pay respect to our brand and culture -- and the love was so great that we got recognized among some of the best filmmakers in the world!"

About The Nerdery
The Nerdery is a custom software design and development company built on the belief that passionate nerds are the driving force behind business breakthroughs. The Nerdery's core services are mobile applications, web applications, websites, systems integration and digital consulting. Headquartered in the Twin Cities, The Nerdery has offices in Chicago, Kansas City and Phoenix. Founded by three programming pioneers in 2003, The Nerdery is professional home of about 500 software engineers, UX designers, QA engineers and other Nerds whose purpose is to redefine what's possible through technology. The Nerdery has made Inc. Magazine's list of fastest growing private companies each year since becoming eligible and appeared on multiple top workplace lists. Through The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, volunteer web pros have donated about $6 million in pro bono services to 175 nonprofits in communities where Nerds live and work. The Nerdery's vision is to be the best place in the world for Nerds to work.

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