Video Directors to Watch

December 16, 2011

Four video directors who will adjust your eyeballs.

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Big break: Burning down the sets in Blank Dogs’ video for “Setting Fire to Your House” and plunging Zola Jesus through a mirror in her video for “Night.”
What to watch: Zola Jesus’ video for “Vessel,” which was filmed in New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument and which features Nika Danilova bathing in a mica-spangled vat, and Gary War’s “Highspeed Drift,” which was shot on the beach with the band donning triangle masks.
What’s next: An ever-constant flow of music videos, the premiere of work with Sacred Bones Records at a SXSW 2012 Film & Music crossover event; a DVD of the Australian Outback nightmare film Twelve Dark Noons, a psychedelic apocalypse film in twelve chapters, featuring Naked On The Vague and a Clock Of 12’s; and then maybe a project or two longer than five minutes.
Mission statement: “Using the surreal and fantastic to illustrate my distrust for the world.”

Stu Barnes, Tracy Brown, Michael Duffy & Ivan Shumaker
Location: San Francisco, CA
Big break: Video for local favorites Girls’ “Honey Bunny,” which Shumaker directed to look like a sugary, up-tempo march through sunny San Francisco.
What to watch: It’s difficult to prescribe any one piece to sum up Thugwizardry’s style because, despite being a bunch of weirdos, each member has his/her own tastes. “We make sure to stay open to one another and be collaborative with everything we do,” says Barnes.
What’s next: Duffy is headed into the Brazilian jungle this month to document the environmental impact of a dam. Brown is shooting a video for Rodarte using a high-speed camera designed to capture test car crashes in slow motion. Barnes has a conceptual video installation being projected on city walls for the SF Arts Commission and is about to shoot a video with choreographed construction equipment. Shumaker just wrapped edits on two shorts and is preparing to enter his latest film, Under the Ether, into the festival circuit. The collective has a hilarious, horrifying, dark parody of an ’80s classic that they’re currently making into their first feature-length film. 
Mission Statement: “To show the spectacle of life through the truth in illusions.” 

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Big break: Holy Ghost!’s “I Will Come Back,” which is a shot for shot remake of New Order’s video for “Confusion.” “We thought it would be funny to remake such a classic but objectively mediocre video. We shot the video on 16mm film over the course of about two months. In the end, the dissecting and reconstructing was a great education in music video making.”
What to watch: Kindness’ video for “Cyan.” “[Singer] Adam Bainbridge told me that all the lyrics in the song where based off street signs he’d seen in London. Since we were shooting in New York, I spent the next couple weeks living on Google street views researching locations. They were spread across the boroughs, which was an adventure in itself, but that was compounded by the fact that we had scheduled the shoot—through sheer oversight—for September 11th, 2011. We were rolling around in a black rental van with a giant film camera sticking out the window. Somehow we made it through the day without getting pulled over.”
What’s next: A video for Danny Brown’s “Monopoly” 
Mission Statement: “‘Vérité is no excuse for lazy film making.’ This is written on a piece of paper taped to the wall of the Deadhorse Films offices. I’m not completely sure what it means, but it keeps us honest.”

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Big break:World of Regret” for Ford & Lopatin, which was made with Thunder Horse earlier this year. “This video was one of the first times I had an opportunity to apply many of the skills I developed in my fine art career for a commercial product. I found inspiration working on this video when I realized that creating an expansive, 3D world within a reasonable amount of time was in the scope of my abilities.”
What to watch: “Vatican Vibes” for Fatima Al Qadiri, which premiered at the New Museum alongside the works of six other artists who each made videos to accompany the songs on Qadiri’s EP, Genre-Specific Xperience.
What’s next: Currently working on an extensive interactive virtual environment called “Tunnels” which is being funded by a Rhizome commission. The user navigates through the world via a mouse and keyboard, exploring an endless sequence of tunnels, each vividly depicting a certain time, narrative, genre or iconography. It will be released next year as a free download.
Mission Statement: “I aspire to put a masterful level of work and detail in everything I do. I want it to feel generous. Turn effects into content. Massage your eyeballs. Play video games. Don’t eat carbs.”

Video Directors to Watch