Carmel Valley student filmmakers create documentary short on 10th Switchfoot Bro-Am

With behind-the-scenes access to San Diego-based, Grammy-award-winning rock band Switchfoot this summer, four young filmmakers captured the 10th annual Bro-Am surf contest and concert, which has raised more than $1 million for local underprivileged teens in the past decade.

“Working with Switchfoot was incredible,” said Canyon Crest Academy senior Brandon Chase, who worked alongside fellow student filmmakers John De Vito, Nick Snyder and Evan Stefanko. “Even though we’re in high school, they treated us like we were at the same level as them. They didn’t treat us any different. It was one of the most professional projects I’ve ever been a part of.”

A production of Envision Cinema and the school program CCA-TV, the short film, “Switchfoot: Close to Our Hearts, the Bro-Am Documentary,” focuses on the band’s mission to give back to its hometown. Like the filmmakers, members of the band also grew up in San Dieguito Union High School District.

“It’s such an awesome experience for high school students to be able to do a documentary about a real concert with a major artist,” said Mark Raines, the cinema coordinator of Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision, which offers day classes and after-school programs for cinema, dance, digital and fine art, instrumental music, theater, and vocal music. “The cool thing is they’re from the same school district, they live in this community and the money goes to benefit teenagers in their hometown.”

From filming and editing, to interviewing and scheduling, the four students developed a variety of skills while working on the project, which took two days to shoot and nearly three months to complete.

“I definitely learned how to work with others and incorporate someone else’s views or opinions in a project,” said Brandon, who aspires to work in the film industry.

Having already screened the documentary for their Envision Cinema peers, the filmmakers are set to debut their short film during the Envision Festival of the Arts, which takes place from 3-8 p.m. Dec. 6 at Canyon Crest Academy. Tickets cost $6 for students and $10 for adults.

The film is also available online at

“I’m really happy with it,” said John, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, who also has a dream to be a professional director. “In the end, it came out really well and we got everything we really wanted to get. I think we told a pretty good story.”