After graduating from Rice University, Chennisi moved to Atlanta to work on a corporate video project at Alston and Bird, the law firm where Daniel’s mother, Liz Price, worked. When the Blumen family decided to create a video for their son’s bar mitzvah, they reached out to the law firm for a videographer and contacted Chennisi.
The video that was initially posted for family and friends soon went viral, reaching roughly 400,000 views on YouTube since Feb. 1.
In three minutes, the video features landmarks across Atlanta including Turner Field, Olympic Rings, Coca Cola headquarters, TNT live broadcasting station and the Georgia Aquarium. Blumen is seen rapping next to notable celebrities such as NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, rapper Ne-Yo, Mayor Kasim Reed and DJ Frank Ski.
Check out Chennisi’s video here:
“I think it went viral due to the celebrity cameos and high production value, which got everyone’s attention — maybe viewers perceived it as an excessive display of wealth,” Chennisi said. “In reality, it was just a kid who wanted to send a funny video out to his family and friends.”
Chennisi became interested in filmmaking when she was seven years old and produced her first movie, which was put together with a VHS player and a camera when she was ten. She soon pursued film related projects at SJS through MavTV, which she co-founded.
“I didn’t think that I was going to major in film,” Chennisi said. “I thought I would pursue a biology or pre-medical degree and then decide what I wanted to do; however, by the time I got to college, I realized that I wanted to pursue the area that had held my interest for so many years.”
Chennisi soon teamed up with former classmate Abigail Hook (’09), who was studying at Harvard, to work on her first major project. The result was “Babushka,” a 45-minute documentary featuring the grandmothers of Kazakhstan during the nation’s struggle for independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
“Until then, my longest project was 15 minutes. ‘Babushka’ was the first long-form project I worked on, and it was a challenge putting it together, especially in a language I didn’t actually speak,” Chennisi said.
Chennisi’s dream of creating a feature movie will become reality this summer as she teams up with two other SJS alumni, Michael Steves and Bubba Fish, (both ‘09). Chennisi co-wrote the screenplay and will work as director of photography.
Chennisi said, “We have always talked about doing a movie when everyone graduated, and it’s finally time.”