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ASU alumnus-directed music video wins award at Phoenix Indie Film Fest

Chuck Sterling, an ASU film alumnus, won an award for the music video he directed for The Color 8


ASU alumnus Chuck Sterling poses for a photo at Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona, in spring of 2017.

Fans dancing in the street, live music in the back of a moving truck and houseplants decorating the inside of the truck – these are the scenes from a music video directed by an ASU alumnus, which recently won the award for Best Indie Music Video at the Indie Film Fest

Chuck Sterling, who works for media publishing company and majored in film and media production at the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre, directed the music video for the song “Raw” by the band The Color 8. It came out in February 2018, and served as an announcement for the band’s upcoming tour.

Matty Steinkamp, the founder and one of the directors of the Indie Film Fest, said the music video was chosen because of how it excels in all the areas that makes a music video great.

"First of all, it's awesome," Steinkamp said. "It was the most authentic music video out of all the other videos. It didn't seem like they were trying to go out there and overproduce something that that wasn't them." 

Steinkamp said that the Indie Film Fest, which was held this year in downtown Phoenix on Feb. 1 and 2, is an independent film festival "extravaganza."

"(The Indie Film Fest tries) to be as conscious as possible in promoting an equal space of film and conversations and storytelling," Steinkamp said.

Sterling said he wasn't at the awards to accept the honor, and he was surprised he had won an award. 

The Color 8 asked Sterling for a high quality version of the video in early January, he said.

Steinkamp said that a jury member for one of the categories in the film festival was the one who submitted the music video for Sterling and the band.

“I was kind of blindsided because it's been about a year since we produced the video and posted it,” Sterling said.

Kal Benion, lead guitarist for The Color 8, said making the music video with Sterling was really enjoyable. 

“He was really cool to work with,” Benion said. "We had fun (and) that was the coolest thing."

Sterling graduated from ASU in May 2018, where he said the faculty at ASU helped him to grow as a filmmaker.

“They were always willing to talk (and) very willing to be honest with criticism and stuff like that,” he said. “Just very real with how the real world operated and how this industry works.”

Sterling said something that helped foster his skill was being in close proximity with so many other students that he ended up working with.

“Very early on I met a group of about six other friends who all of us consistently were making stuff both in class and outside of class,” he said. “So that was always a really big motivator to get making stuff, and hone my craft, was that friendly competition.”

Sterling said he offered to direct the music video for the band, which was dropping an album at the time and getting ready to go on tour, because it made a soundtrack for one of his previous films.

Jason Davids Scott, an assistant director for film in ASU’s School of Film, Dance, and Theatre and one of Sterling's former professors, said that the group of friends Sterling made at ASU contributed to his own creative development. 

“(Sterling) was part of a larger group of students who all very early in their academic career came together and agreed to work together on multiple projects,” Scott said. “It was all of his friends who really benefited from learning how to work with each other (and) learning how to support each other."

Scott said he’s happy to see that Sterling has the skills necessary to make a name for himself. 

“He's always been a great collaborator,” Scott said. “Those are the things that really stands people in good status as they establish their careers as filmmakers."

He said that having a group of friends to collaborate with can be more impressive and impactful than just what classes can do.

“We're always proud of what we can offer students in classes, but it's the work that they do together that often proves to be the most significant and important,” Scott said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @hilltroy99 on Twitter. 

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