Student Filmmakers Aim High with Creative Partnership

Student Filmmakers Aim High with Creative Partnership
Kara McDuffee

Shannon “Murph” Murphy ’23 and Aidan Namkoong ’23 hit the trifecta at Brewster. Not only did they each discover their creative passion, they found in each other a collaborative partner, and now they are sharing their talents with the community and beyond.

Their passion is filmmaking, and their creation is Sabafilmz.

“Saba” stands for Shannon Aidan Brewster Academy, and Sabafilmz is the Instagram account and platform where Shannon and Aidan share edited videos of Brewster games and events. What started as an interest in filming sports games turned into regular video releases that receive upwards of 4,000 views.

Shannon Murphy ’23 and Aidan Namkoong ’23

“We film pep rallies, games, and anything that gives an inside look into Brewster,” says Shannon, who is from Pembroke, Massachusetts. “We made the Instagram account to focus on what we love to do.”

​​Last year Shannon saw an opportunity to put her interest in film into action, and jumped on it: She filmed the lacrosse team when they stayed on campus over spring break. She also began filming other moments and trips in her life, launching the account MurphEdits. The only problem? She needed a better camera.

Fortunately, Aidan had one to lend. Before coming to Brewster, Aidan, who is from Frisco, Texas, had attended a couple of photography camps, inspired by his uncle’s love for photography. However, it wasn’t until his freshman year at Brewster that a media class sparked a newfound interest in video editing. 

After Shannon’s first couple of months filming Brewster sports, Aidan reached out to her with a proposal: What if they worked together to create Brewster videos?

“I really admired the idea that Shannon started this, and I asked her if I could help,” says Aidan. “Now we talk together, and we plan out who’s going to film and when we can edit together at night.”

The duo have created a true collaboration that many adults would envy. Each person brings their own perspectives to the table, supports each other’s ideas, and offers feedback on how they can continue to improve their videos and filmmaking. Meanwhile, they allow each other the space and credit to pursue their own passion projects.

“We both help each other out in many ways,” Shannon says. “I'll make a video, and he’ll ask, ‘What if you tried this?’ or ‘Have you thought of this?’ And vice versa when Aidan makes a video. Plus, we’re close enough that we can tell each other if we don’t like something and think there needs to be a change.”

Another enviable quality of their passion pursuit is the supportive environment they’ve found themselves in. In addition to the opportunity to film competitive sports teams on a beautiful campus (two elements Aidan expressed his appreciation for), they both referenced how the Brewster community helped them turn a vision into reality.

“Any idea that you might have, Brewster wants you to do it. Nobody says, ‘This isn’t realistic.’ They want you to do it and give you a shot,” said Aidan.

Shannon echoed this sentiment. “If I’m going to be honest, if I wasn’t at Brewster, I probably wouldn’t have started filming,” she admitted. “At my old school, everyone would’ve questioned me filming. Here, everyone wants us to film their games. They ask us, Can you film our games? Can you come to ours? Everyone is so supportive.”

The impact of their filming is palpable. You can hear the buzz on campus (and see it on social media) when a Sabafilmz video is going to be released. Shannon and Aidan both talked about the pride they feel when they walk into the Brewster dining hall and hear someone watching one of their videos.

Thus far this year, they’ve created films that include highlights of the varsity soccer teams, prep basketball games, hockey games, and pep rallies. And they don’t just showcase the athletes, but also the robust fan base that comes out for games. 

“I think our videos are not just giving the community highlights, but a sense of what Brewster is, and how competitive our sports are,” Aidan said.

The impact of their community contributions extends beyond the student body. The Communications Office has reached out to them for help with media projects, and Athletic Director Connor Wells worked with them to create a video for the fall sports awards, which he played for the entire school. 

Both Shannon and Aidan appreciate the exposure that Brewster gives them, especially given their goals for the future. Aidan hopes to major in business and minor in film, and he understands that Sabafilmz is giving him valuable skills.

“I definitely want to incorporate the skills I have toward something I do in the future,” Aidan says. “Let’s say I start a small business. I’ll have a good idea toward promoting it.”

Meanwhile, Shannon wants to major in communications and filmmaking. One day, she aspires to work her way into directing. “Obviously, ideas into filming and editing helps out with what I want to do,” she says, acknowledging that Sabafilmz might also give her a leg up for college applications.

However, bolstering a college application couldn’t be further from why Shannon and Aidan are spending hours each week filming, editing, and collaborating on Sabafilmz. (And it does take hours; both students have really learned how to manage their time between homework, their own sports commitments, and Sabafilmz work.) They’re doing it because they love it.

“When we graduate, I think leaving the Instagram account behind for Brewster to have is just a really cool thing to do,” Aidan remarked. “It’s a place to look back on all the memories.”

Both students also expressed their excitement over their growing audience and outreach with Sabafilmz. Not only do their views keep increasing (by thousands), but they’re also attracting followers from people outside of the Brewster community–namely because of the quality of their content.

“When we make a video and we know it’s going to do well, it’s just that feeling of, ‘Wow, we really did this.’ And then seeing the views go up and people follow us after, we realize people really want to see our stuff,” Shannon said. “It’s just the best feeling to know you’re improving so much, and one day you’re going to make it.”

When asked about their aspirations for Sabafilmz, Shannon talked about gaining the exposure and respect that some other popular New England video edit groups have. 

“When MaxHoops walks into the gym, everyone gets excited that they’re here,” Shannon explained. “That’s sort of the dream, being known for what you love. I feel like that’d be the coolest thing.”

It’s impossible to predict the future. That being said, when you watch Sabafilmz videos and see their continuing growth, it’s hard to believe they won’t achieve the aspirations they’re looking for.

To hear Shannon and Aidan talk about their aspirations and collaboration, and to see some of their filming and editing work, watch the video below!


Alumni and parents, if any of you have experience in filming or videography, we’d love to continue to inspire Shannon and Aidan’s pursuits with words of advice and encouragement. Please reach out to us with your stories and if you’d be willing to connect with two passionate students.


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