Filmmaker Julian Kneidl set out to capture the spirit of Seattle Seahawks fans in his latest documentary, "The 12s." Kneidl, who spent a portion of his life in the Seattle area, independently produced a five-minute short film, interviewing locals and detailing the culture of Seahawks fans in the NFL.
Here's a short Q&A we conducted with Kneidl about why he made the film, the steps he took to make it, what he learned throughout the process and more. Before you go ahead and read it, though, view the documentary in its entirety:
AY: For starters, how did the making of this documentary come about? What influenced you to do this?
JK: I spent a big part of my youth in Seattle and was always fascinated with the Seahawks and the culture around it. As a filmmaker whose main focus is on sports, I was looking for a new topic to work on. When I got the idea to do a piece on the 12s, I felt kind of stupid for not having had that idea earlier. I've been part of the fan culture for a long time and had a natural connection to it. Now, that's exactly the way I like it when making movies. The more natural my connection to the topic is, the more authentic the outcome. Other than that, I'm young, hungry and always motivated to film as much as possible to improve my filmmaking. This was just such a great opportunity for that.
AY:*This certainly wasn't a one-day project (or maybe it was?). How long did it take you to plan everything, conduct all of the interviews, shoot b-roll and finalize this in post-production? *
JK:The planning process took about three months, but the actual filming took place in five days. During those five, I shot five individual interviews, two games, and I'd say at least one-and-a-half days of b-roll. Most of those shots were filmed solo, so me just running around by myself with a lot of equipment in the back of a rental car. Post-production was another three to four months. It included hanging out in a very nice studio with my good friend and musician, Joel Ney, who helped me out with the sound design.
AY:Was this primarily an independent project? Or did you have a crew of people aiding you with things?
JK: It was an independent project. I did get some help from friends, however. I'm very fortunate to have a very close group of friends in the Seattle area who helped me out by carrying equipment, recording sound during interviews, or just driving around for b-roll and being there for moral support. One of my friends even connected me to former Seahawks running back Randall Morris, which was huge for the documentary.
AY: *What did you learn about 12s after doing this short film that you didn't know before? *
JK: I always knew about the spirit of the 12s, and that certain feeling that you'll only get walking around the Seattle area with all the 12 flags up and about. Getting to know so many different people in such a short amount of time who all share the same passion was mind-changing. There's such a powerful connection between those people. The community throughout the 12s is very special and inspiring. I think people should try and take that community spirit outside of the football world more often, and I've learned how powerful this can be during the filming process.
AY: Lastly, is there anything you would've liked to add to the film but couldn't?
JK: I would've loved to talk to a current player or a coach of the Seahawks to get their perspective on the topic of the 12s. That's almost impossible to do during football season when you're not a member of a major television network, though.
Here are some 12s supporting the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field during Week 1 vs the Dolphins.