By Kim Boyce Hagerty
Sisters of the Living Word
When the Sisters of the Living Word decided they were going to hire Bitter Jester Studios to produce a video, they were looking for a modern and cutting edge five-to-seven minute film to share with their friends, supporters, and even the world! They wanted to tell their story interwoven with their mission of bringing new life to people who are poor and oppressed. Nic DeGrazia and Dan Kullman, the creative team and owners of Bitter Jester Studios worked with the Sisters to create beautiful video.
Since Dan and Nic did not know anything about the SLW before they were hired, they interviewed the six Sisters featured as well as one Associate, and from the answers to questions developed the script. On the filming day, which was very long, they worked with to encourage each SIster and help them as they spoke to the camera. There were a lot of takes during the filming day, and “the talent” become more comfortable on camera with their help. My personal favorite part was watching Dan and Nic help Sister Georgene Schumacher stand on an apple box so she’d be tall enough for the shot they’d envisioned. The Sisters filmed gave themselves wholeheartedly to the project.
The “B-roll” or background was filmed at the Living Word Center in Arlington Heights over a couple days, and it was fascinating to get a glimpse into how complicated filming is. One of the most beautiful parts of the video shows Sister Rosaria Schlechter leaning to talk to Sister Stella Stacken and patting her shoulder; what people watching wouldn’t know was that Sister Rosaria, who was suffering from leukemia, was telling Sister Stella how glad she was that she was able to spend her last days in her company. Sister Rosaria, much beloved, moved to eternal life a few days ago, and we are so happy she is in the background of the video.
“We are the Sisters of the Living Word” was nominated for two Emmys, in photography and lighting, and Sister Chioma Ahanihu and Margie Mei, Director of Development, were invited by the Bitter Jester team to attend the Emmys which were held on Saturday, November 16 at the Swissotel in downtown Chicago. When Sister Mary Nick Eiden, who is one of the Sisters featured, heard they had won the Emmy for lighting, she said “I thank God that this happened because Nic and his companions proved to be special, loving people. I am so happy for them!”
ABOUT THE EMMY: Daniel Kullman (Director of Photography) and Camrin Petramale (Gaffer) received an Emmy for Outstanding Crafts Achievement Off–Air—Lighting for their work on “We Are the Sisters of the Living Word,” a short creative film about the mission and impact of the Sisters of the Living Word in the world.
ABOUT SISTERS OF THE LIVING WORD: The Sisters of the Living Word is an Arlington Heights, Illinois–headquartered Catholic community of women religious who advocate for the homeless, immigrants, the environment, anti–racism, and victims of human trafficking. More information is available at slw.org.