Picture this. Precariously perched on a platform on Cloud City, Luke Skywalker braces himself, kneeling and aiming his blaster pistol at an enraged Darth Vader. Back and forth, the nemeses duel! Skywalker uses carefully aimed bursts from his gun while Vader harnesses telekinesis to blast Skywalker from the elevated battle ground. After an extended series of violent bursts and forceful lunges, Skywalker’s adept combat skills render him victorious over Vader, the supreme Commander under the Galactic Empire. Skywalker defeats his enemy, his father, once and for all.
But the setting is a different kind of Cloud City. It’s St. Cloud, Minnesota. And the platform is really the roof on a house in a cul-de-sac on Michael Court. And Luke Skywalker is holding a battery-powered laser-sound gun while Darth Vader wears an old black rain poncho. And these “Star Wars” characters aren’t father and son, they’re brothers. And it’s not George Lucas behind the camera. It’s Brian Bellmont.
The year was 1981 and Brian, Dave and Mike Bellmont put their creativity and camaraderie to work in their very own science fiction Super 8 movie. Using editing tricks Brian had learned in a film class that summer, the brothers created their own special effects. With calculated cutting and taping, they crafted their characters to have super-human abilities like being able to jump onto roofs or disappear with the snap of a finger. Another trick created the illusion of laser beams. By taking a pin and strategically scratching carefully placed lines onto the film, the Bellmont brothers made the distressed emulsion appear to be beams of light shooting from eyes, hands, and battery-powered laser-sound guns! I mean blaster pistols.
And this was just the beginning.
Fast forward to 2023. Brian and Dave Bellmont are the respective owners of Bellmont Partners Public Relations and Kinostadt Films, two companies deftly rooted in video production and communications. Brian and Dave have each become local industry leaders, jointly and continuously honing their professional video production and communications craft since borrowing their dad’s camera in those Super 8 film days, imagining projects and bringing them to life. Their combined decades of experience, wealth of industry knowledge, careful attention to detail and passion for storytelling make them a highly practiced, dynamic team. Brian and Dave frequently and skillfully collaborate on projects for a wide variety of clients and audiences.
Recently, they came together again for a very special project that started several years ago.
In August of 2021, Bellmont Partners celebrated its 25th anniversary as an organization. But the Bellmont team, dealing, along with everyone, with the complications, stressors, complexities and distance of the pandemic, did not get to celebrate their remarkable milestone. With heads down and a deep focus on clients and each other, Bellmont Partners continued sharing their professional expertise while simultaneously adapting to new needs and a landscape of shifting targets.
In late 2022, when Brian and the Bellmont team finally had the chance to pause and reflect on the past two years, including the fact that we’d flown past a huge milestone, he saw an opportunity for introspection. He remembered thinking, “This is a perfect time to communicate why we do what we do, where we’ve come from, where we’re going.” As an organization that operates by telling other peoples’ stories, he wanted to take a moment to use our team members’ communication skills to tell a new story: our own. And so, Brian committed to sharing Bellmont Partners’ story in honor of our 25th anniversary.
He knew just the person to bring this project to life: his brother and life-long video production partner, Dave Bellmont.
Dave started his video production career in and after college, working on projects like “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and “D3: The Mighty Ducks.” He is a firm believer in the power of video not only as a means of communication, but as a tool for sharing authentic storytelling in a way the written word could fall short.
“Out of all the communication methods, video can be very powerful because it can convey information and emotion very quickly and efficiently,” said Dave. “It’s capturing authentic moments. And audiences want to see video. They want to ingest video. They’re open to it and it’s part of their everyday experience.”
Dave also shared some of the many ways in which a company or organization can use video. “A video doesn’t have to accomplish everything,” Dave shared. “It can just be one element of a larger message. And maybe that’s why people have historically been sort of intimidated by video because they think it’s a big deal, that it has to cover everything. But it doesn’t. It can just be one part of it.”
“We took the approach that we take with our clients,” said Brian, discussing the process behind making the video series with Dave. “We started with a strategy, a concept. Why are we doing this? What do we want to get across? And in our case, we wanted to communicate, using video, who our people are and why we do what we do. The end result is a really good representation of Bellmont Partners. It starts and ends with our people.”
Additionally, Dave shared, “With any sort of documentary structure video, I like to let the interviews create the structure and then support it with B‑roll and photos and things like that. So, it kind of edited itself based on the interviews.”
Over the course of their 42 years collaborating on films and videos, Brian and Dave have watched video and more specifically, corporate use of video, transform throughout their lives.
Brian reminisced, saying, “30 years ago, you hired a crew to make a corporate video for thousands and thousands of dollars. And you needed months to do it. Sure, that kind of production still happens, but you can also empower your employees to take their phone and shoot an interview in the hallway, and that may be even more effective than a formal video. If there are people in the video communicating in a way that is authentic and that is interesting, you’re already halfway there. When good people are telling good stories, that gets you where you want to go.”
They share support for this grassroots, go-for-it approach to getting started in using video as a communications tool for some aspects of a business, but they also stress the importance of knowing when to bring in an industry professional. Working with an expert, like Dave, allows for an experience in which quality, concept, and impact are at the forefront of a project. “The process of working with Dave was seamless,” Brian explained. “He’s not only a good director and videographer and editor, but he is a good planner and producer. So, everything was ready to go, and our team members just needed to come in, talk for a little bit and then leave. It was a very painless process for them. And everyone we’ve showed these videos to really just talk about how authentic and how “Bellmont Partners” these videos are and that’s just what we were going for.”
“These videos” that Brian references are the final result of Brian and Dave’s collaboration. It’s the culminating project to celebrate the 25+ years of Bellmont Partners: the Bellmont Partners Video Series.
The themes Brian envisioned and organic responses the team gave translated into four authentically unique and distinct videos:
- The history of Bellmont Partners as an organization is captured in Our History
- Showcasing the extraordinary people that makes up Bellmont as an agency inspired Our Culture
- Highlighting the amazing work we do, and have been doing, for clients for a more than a quarter of a century appears in Our Work
- And the emergent, transcendent theme across them all was Our Community (coming soon!)
The Bellmont Partners Video Series not only showcases who we are and what we do but has offered tremendous opportunity for reflection and gratitude. We are so proud of what we do and enjoy sharing the stories of the clients and people with whom we are fortunate enough to work.
We hope you enjoy the Bellmont Partners Video Series and their respective blogs, all of which are accessible on our website and via the links below.
We’re thrilled about where we’ve been over the past 27 years, and we can’t wait for the next 27! Stay tuned for our 50th anniversary, which may be coming to you live from a rooftop in St. Cloud …