Four months ago, Rochester Institute of Technology film student Ben Disinger scoured the Rochester region compiling clips for a project in his experimental filmmaking class. He had no inkling his efforts, along with a chance encounter with one of his favorite bands, would turn him into the hottest young commodity inside the glitzy music video industry.
Disinger’s music video for the song “Virgin” premiered this week online and is scheduled for upcoming release on broadcast outlets such as Fuse and MTVU. The song is performed by the band Manchester Orchestra and is featured on the group’s new studio album Simple Math.
The video’s debut comes one month after winning “Best Music Video” at the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival. It was also recognized for best music video cinematography, and Disinger earned “Best Director” honors. The 21-year-old student says he is still trying to process the impact of his sudden success.
“It feels like I’ve just kissed a girl who I’ve secretly admired for a very long time,” he explains with a smile.
Disinger never had a music video in mind when he started the project. The aim was to create a short, narrative video without dialogue. As he sat at his laptop, editing clips for his class project, “Virgin” played in the background.
“I started paying attention to the words a little bit,” he says. “Looking at the visuals I had, I realized they were perfect for each other. They fit beautifully. That kind of blew my mind.”
Disinger assembled a “rough cut” of his video clips to accompany the music. On May 7, realizing that Manchester Orchestra was performing in town, he approached the band as they got off their tour bus. With laptop in hand, Disinger asked band members if they would care to take a look. They agreed, and Manchester Orchestra’s lead singer Andy Hull recounted their reaction on the band’s website.
“We were blown away,” Hull writes. “We put him in touch with our manager and for the last few months he’s been putting the finishing touches to this incredible piece. This is that rare moment when art expands further than first intentions or expectations—where two different inspirations can coincide to create something better.”
The video has been entered in numerous film festivals under the title “Liberty.” In addition to its honors at the Los Angeles Reel Film Festival, it is an official selection for the upcoming Independent Film Festival in Tampa and has been recognized for merit at the Metropolitan Film Festival in New York City and the HollyShorts Film Festival in Hollywood.
Bogdan Ciornei, a fourth-year new-media design major at RIT, produced the video’s special effects. Casting was provided by Mary Therese-Friel LLC.
Disinger, who is a fine art film major, will begin work on another short film this fall and expects to graduate from RIT next year. Afterwards, he plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film.
View “Virgin” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKgSs0MQ270.