A documentary created by two Hayes High School students on President Rutherford B. Hayes will premiere Monday in honor of Presidents Day.
The documentary details the life of Hayes, his legacy, and the statue of Hayes that was erected last year in downtown Delaware.
The documentary was created by Gianni Cordi and Brandon Schrader, seniors at Hayes High School, who both jumped at the chance to take on the project when Principal Ric Stranges asked their cinematics class if anyone was interested.
Stranges said Wednesday he figured the students would put together a five-minute movie about the statue. He said he was stunned when Cordi and Schrader reported the run time was nearly an hour.
“When I presented it, I really just wanted someone to be there to take some pictures,” Stranges said. “I had no idea it would end up being a full-fledged movie. They’ve been part of every single step of this process. It’s exceeded my expectations.”
Cordi said the cinematics class typically works on short, story-based videos, not documentaries. Cordi added he was excited to try something new.
“We take the class very seriously,” he said. “This is what I want to do when I’m older. Every time we make a video, I’m very serious about it. I try and make it the best I can, so when I heard about this, I saw it as an opportunity to do something I don’t normally do. We’d never done a documentary. I wanted to take the helm on it.”
The documentary’s cinematographer, Schrader, said he enjoyed the challenge the Hayes project presented.
“A lot of other people were looking down on Hayes, and I thought we could make him look important,” Schrader said.
Part of the documentary will be shown on Monday after a birthplace memorial marker is unveiled and placed outside 17 E. William St. The ceremony will begin at 12:15 p.m. and concluded around 1:15 p.m.
Cordi said he was thrilled when he learned about the premiere.
“I thought it was awesome. I got super excited,” Cordi said. “It’s like a movie premiere. Not a lot of kids get to do this. Brandon and I are putting ourselves out there as serious about this.”
Schrader said he and Cordi worked very hard to make the documentary as educational and enjoyable as possible, because they want the video to be able to be played in classrooms.
“We wanted it simple to understand,” Schrader said. “We are still kids, so we get bored easily. We wanted to make it easy to watch for ourselves. I learned a lot about Hayes.”
Cordi said the documentary flows like a coherent documentary, but it can be watched section-by-section to make it easier for teachers to use.
“I included everything I thought was important, but you can easily go through the sections,” he said.
Cordi added he and Schrader worked on the project for “countless” days after school, and he’s excited that it’s finished and will be premiering soon. Cordi said he thinks it will make a good addition to his professional film portfolio.
“I’d like this for my portfolio as a filmmaker in general,” he said. “I want to be good at everything, so I figure the better I am at anything, the more of a chance I’ll have to get out there. It was a learning experience but also something I could say was mine. I’ve learned a lot from it, and I’m looking to do more serious things in the future.
“I want people to enjoy it. I want people to know that me and Brandon are passionate about this. We’re pretty young, and I want people to understand that we really care about this,” Cordi added.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.