As many Americans can attest, in recent years the college admissions process has transformed into an expansive and expensive mesh of competition, aspiration, and anxiety. Perhaps no American understands this more than Brandon Jones. As a 17-year-old senior at Nacogdoches High School, Brandon isn’t just any high school senior. Unlike his peers who fret over whether or not they will attend college at all, Brandon has already been admitted to college. 41 colleges and universities to be exact. Brandon, you see, is one of the top-rated high school football players in the country, also known as a five-star recruit. And there’s one question that literally thousands of people across the country are asking: where will Brandon Jones enroll next year?
Brandon’s story is at once familiar and foreign. On the one hand, he has all the typical trappings of a suburban American teenager: he has friends, his own car and a doting mother. On the other hand, he is already a national figure and the subject of such intense intrigue and speculation — is it all an invasion of privacy? To further complicate matters, Brandon has assumed the role of father figure to his younger brothers following the loss of their father several years prior. In this week’s Staff Pick Premiere, Ryan Booth and Henry Proegler give us an intimate look into what it means to be Brandon Jones or as they put it, “what it’s like to be standing at the nexus of childhood and adulthood, and having to make a massive decision in a very public way.”
With six previous Staff Picks to his name already, Texas-based filmmaker and photographer Ryan Booth has been a mainstay on Vimeo over the years. The Vimeo die-hards among us may remember Booth from his winning submission to Vimeo’s The Story Beyond the Still contest in 2010. Nearly seven years later, Booth is back with his producing partner, Henry Proegler, under the production moniker Hank & Booth, to bring us what might be their finest work yet. Similar to the film’s protagonist, the film itself, which premieres today on Vimeo has already generated lots of buzz within the football community, however, you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate this stunning and sympathetic portrait of an impressive young man.