The Hammer Comes Home to Make a Music Video

Sean Forbes (in black) next to Matt Hamill with students at RIT/NTID for a video shoot, "Hammer." Photo by A. Sue Weisler.
Story Highlights: 
  • Filmed on the Quarter Mile, the wrestling room and Frisina Quad.
  • Dozens of NTID students appear as extras.
  • Three RIT/NTID graduates involved in the production: Sean Forbes, Matt Hamill and Adrean Mangiardi.
  • The video coincides with the Oct. 27 opening of "The Hammer," a film about Matt Hamill.


Three RIT/NTID graduates returned to Rochester this week, not just because it was homecoming weekend, but to shoot a music video at their alma mater.

The trio – Sean Forbes, Adrean Mangiardi and Matt Hamill - collaborated on a music video filmed on the RIT campus, which included dozens of students raising and lowering their arms in unison as if they held giant hammers in the center of the D. Robert Frisina Quad.

The video is timed for the Oct. 27 release of “The Hammer,” an independent movie filmed at RIT and around Rochester about the life of Hamill, an RIT hall of fame wrestler who has had a successful career as an Ultimate Fighting Championship contestant.

Forbes, whose video production company is known as D-PAN, has been a successful rap music artist since graduating from RIT in 2008. Mangiardi, who has worked as a film director since graduating from RIT’s School of Fine Arts in 2006, directed this latest video.

“The music video is for a song of mine called ‘Hammer’ that I wrote about Matt Hamill,” Forbes said. He said Hamill also talked about using the song as his theme when he walked into the UFC ring to fight, but Hamill announced plans to retire at the end of this year.

“Maybe one day he’ll make a comeback and walk in to the music,” Forbes said. The video will be posted soon on YouTube, his D-PAN website and will be the first single on his upcoming album, “Perfect Imperfection.”

Forbes wanted to shoot his video on the RIT campus where “The Hammer” was filmed. “I wanted the look to be similar,” Forbes said. “RIT/NTID is a beautiful campus and it was my home for many years. I feel that for Matt and I, RIT/NTID really shaped who we are. Prior to coming to college, I had just started to accept my deafness, but meeting many other people like myself, and realizing many of them like music, that may have led me to where I am today.”

Forbes and Hamill, celebrities in the deaf community, became good friends when they were both hired to attend various deaf-related events. “The first time I met Matt was actually at RIT when he showed up to my apartment because of mutual friends,” Forbes said. “I remember him telling old wrestling and fighting stories. He’s a funny guy.”

Their work on the video started before sunrise, as Forbes, wearing a hooded RIT sweatshirt, walked alone on the Quarter Mile near trees ablaze in autumn colors. The camera crew rode in a golf cart to get their shots of Forbes walking. Later, more footage was taken near the Wallace Center and in a wrestling room where Hamill spent many hours. The final scenes were shot in the Frisina quad, when Hamill arrived. Even NTID President Gerry Buckley joined the crowd and displayed an enthusiastic series of fist pumps.

“The shoot in the quad was awesome,” Forbes said. “A great number of people showed up and it was as I imagined. One thing I love about RIT/NTID is the diversity of people from all over the world. I always tell people in interviews that my years in Rochester were some of my best because I got to meet people from everywhere.”

After the team was finished filming, Hamill and Forbes took time to pose for pictures before returning to their homes – Forbes, in Detroit, and Hamill in Utica, N.Y.

“I enjoyed every bit of it,” Forbes said of his day in Rochester. “I look forward to coming back again.”

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