Montana State University

MSU debuts new commercial at 'Cat-Griz game

November 17, 2011 -- MSU News Service

Camera operators Logan Triplett (far left), a 2011 MSU graduate in film, and Jim Menkol, a current MSU film student, film a group of students involved in the MSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders for a new MSU institutional commercial that will debut Nov. 19. Triplett and Menkol were two of 40 MSU-affiliated personnel who made the 30-second spot. The commercial features the work of the MSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which has been helping deliver clean water to an area of rural Kenya. MSU was recently recognized nationally for its community engagement efforts based upon EWB's efforts. MSU photo by Sepp Jannotta.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana State University has drawn upon a team of alumni, faculty and students to produce a new commercial that will debut Nov. 19.

"We Work Together" will premier on the big screen scoreboard at Bobcat Stadium during the Nov. 19 MSU-University of Montana football game. The 30-second commercial features MSU's award-winning Engineers Without Borders chapter and its work in Kenya. Students from MSU's EWB chapter have helped build wells that have brought clean drinking water and sanitary latrines to rural areas in Kenya.

MSU officials say that they are proud that nearly everyone who worked on the commercial is affiliated with MSU.

"We wanted to create a spot that showcases the human dimension of MSU and the fact that what is learned in the classroom changes lives," said Julie Kipfer, MSU director of marketing and creative services who was the executive producer of the spot. Kipfer said the project, which was filmed in high-definition, was planned to debut at the Cat-Griz matchup. "Fortunately, we had a really deep talented pool of professionals to tap for the project."
The ad was produced and directed by Dennis Aig, film professor at the MSU School of Film and Photography. Aig, who is the program head of the MSU Science and Natural History Filmmaking graduate program, is also an award-winning filmmaker.

The commercial drew on the work of several film students who traveled to Kenya with Engineers Without Borders. One of those students, Katie Ritter, a senior majoring in film from Bozeman, was one of two MSU students who traveled to San Francisco this week when MSU received the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Given just once a year, the award recognizes a four-year public university that embraces outreach and community engagement and comes with a $20,000 prize. MSU beat out international community service projects from public institutions throughout the country for the award, including Michigan State University, Penn State and Tennessee.

The editing on the spot was done by Scott Chestnut, an MSU graduate who has made a career editing films in Hollywood. Mark Vargo, an MSU grad with 33 Hollywood titles to his credit who is a member of the distinguished professional organization, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), was the director of photography. Vargo is currently an adjunct instructor in the School of Film and Photography.

"Without Mark, Scott, and the other professionals, this spot would never have been possible to produce in the very tight timeframe," Aig said. "We met all our deadlines and also offered the students on the crew a great mentoring experience."

Kipfer said using in-house and local talent allowed MSU to produce a top-quality product at a fraction of the cost of using an outside agency

"Nearly 40 people who were involved in the production were either MSU alumni, current students or members of the MSU faculty and staff," Kipfer said. "The spot was very grassroots in that we were able to tell the story of the incredible volunteer work of the EWB students, using the talent and expertise of people educated at MSU."

Kipfer said MSU plans to air the institutional advertisement many times during sports broadcasts through the current football and upcoming basketball seasons.

To view the new commercial, go to:

Julie Kipfer (406) 994-5737,