It’s no surprise that some of the most visionary directors around cut their teeth on music videos. Spike Jonze, David Fincher, Michel Gondry, and many others have used the freedom offered by the format to unleash their imaginations and experiment with radical new ideas.
While most major film festivals ignore them, Flatpack are proud to celebrate the music video. Programmer Sam Groves explains why they’ve become such a big part of the festival. “There are less restrictions on the filmmakers to make something prescribed,” he says. “They’re perfect for experimentation in style, form, and content. There’s a freedom to them, which isn’t always as clear in the short film format.”
Huck has always been a big fan of the spectacular and often psychedelic visuals screened at Flatpack, so we asked Sam to select some of favourite music videos from this year and festivals past. If you like these, you should check out Video Jukebox, tonight Friday 21 March at York Café in Birmingham City Centre.
Devendra Banhart – Mondo Taurobolium
Directed by Galen Pehrson, USA
This is just perfect. Bordering on ‘not really a music video’, it’s totally gorgeous, it’s weird, looks, and sounds great. It’s basically everything I want from a promo.
Directed by Allison Schulnik, USA
Ever since I saw Mound by Allison Schulnik, I’ve been eagerly awaiting a new film from her. Knowing how time-consuming making a film like this is, I knew it was going to be a bit of a wait, but it was most definitely worth it. Again, I can imagine some people questioning whether this is a music video in the conventional sense, and perhaps it isn’t, but it’s totally mesmerising, and the actual track is terrific.
Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
Directed by David Wilson, UK
David Wilson has to be one of the UK’s most exciting animators. He’s prolific, has an amazingly fluid style, and it seems his work quite regularly has an eroticism about it. He came to Flatpack a few years ago and did a talk about his work – he was as entertaining as his films, and this one for the Arctic Monkeys is an absolute cracker. I love the way he mixes abstract and figurative animation to spellbinding effect.
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Directed by Joe Pelling & Becky Sloan, UK
Feels Like We Only Go Backwards won Best Short Film at last year’s Flatpack. Whatever Joe and Becky touch seems to turn to gold. What an amazing blast of colour. To raise some funds, the duo sold individual plasticine frames from the film. Not just talented filmmakers, but shrewd business people too! Check out their sequel to Dug Hug Me I’m Scared also – it’s a doozy, and is screening in Friends and Remedies.
Troumaca – Layou
Directed by Steven Spencer, UK
Being a Brummie, it’s nice to be able to shout about someone in Birmingham doing us proud. Stephen Spencer, and his studio, Nice Monster, are certainly representing. This vid for Birmingham-band Troumaca is just a delight. No discernible narrative, just beautiful images. Steven also made this year’s festival sting.
So, Sam, what else is rad at this year’s Flatpack?
If you like Video Jukebox, you’re going to love both of our animation programmes: Friends and Remedies and Evolutionary Road. You’ll probably enjoy our Calf Retrospective too, and if you feeling proactive, you can get yourself on to Mirai Mizue’s animation workshop (which is free!) and make your own music video.
The fantastic Flatpack Film Festival takes place in venues across Birmingham, 20-30 March 2014.