Category Archives: Music Videos

PETER HADFIELD PUTS THE SAW IN “I SAW YOU”

The Canadian film I Saw You is about the unexpected results when one is thrown suddenly into a situation and doesn’t know how to handle things. Specifically, the story is about a young man (know in the film simply as “boy”) who falls in love at first sight. He makes a plan, somewhat spontaneously and proceeds forward, determined to create something wonderful from his passion from his new found feelings of love.  The circumstances may be different but the spontaneous nature of the film’s message resonates with its cinematographer Peter Hadfield. The independent film organization Cineworks paired up artists to create collaborative visual art pieces. The lead actor, Ashley Andel, and Mina Shum (director, writer, and producer) were paired up to make a film. One of the curators at Cineworks suggested Peter to Mina as an accomplished cinematographer who worked well in high pressure situations. Without ever having met or worked together, the two began building the visual schematic that would present the film’s storyline.IMG_3345

Peter Hadfield is a Canadian cinematographer who is more accustomed to working with projects that have a larger than life appearance. Projects like Harrison x and Clairmont the Second’s “It’s Okay, I Promise” with its fast movement, or the heavy adrenaline infused TV series Ice Pilots NWT (on which he worked as an editor) are more indicative of some of Hadfield’s fast movement work but Peter is always looking for a challenge as well as a way to expand his palette as a cinematographer; which made him eager to work with Mina Shum on I Saw You. Mina Shum is a highly respected and award-winning director, writer, and producer whose credits include (among others) Double Happiness (for which she was awarded the Wolfgang Staudte Award at the Berlin Film Festival, Best Feature Film at the Torino Festival of Young Cinema, Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as multiple nominations for other films) who quickly signed on Hadfield as the cinematographer for I Saw You after meeting with him. The film called for a much more intimate feel than much of Peter’s prior work but his vision for the shots persuaded Shum; a decision she is happy to confirm was the correct one. Shum comments, “Peter’s personality is strongly displayed in his work. He is intelligent, conscientious, caring, and talented! Peter brought a unique sensitivity to the film. He has a great eye, and a strong work ethic, and most importantly for all artists: vision. His experience was a major asset to the production. When I needed advice, his perspective was always sound. His work was so strong that I was happy to include him on another production, Ninth Floor which is a feature documentary.”

I Saw You was an Official Selection of the Vancouver Film Festival, an achievement that was especially meaningful to Hadfield as the film was such a deviation from his usual large scale work. The boy, who falls in love at first sight with a girl, places an ad in the local paper stating “I saw you.” The action continues over seven days as the boy waits for a call from the girl. He unexpectedly becomes part of a community with three Chinese women who frequent the park near him. Hadfield wanted to capture the emotion and heartache of the boy by the way the shots were framed. He explains, “Most of the film takes place inside an apartment. The use of walls, doorways, and the ceiling became instrumental for metaphor in the frame. I would fill half the frame with a wall to make Boy feel claustrophobic, or frame him in the kitchen through the doorway to make him feel stuck in his situation. I used unconventional and awkward framing, excluding parts of the boy’s face from the frame to make his discomfort more apparent. Towards the end of the film the framing becomes more conventional as Boy’s experience becomes brighter, until we see a full shot of the boy when he bumps into the girl again.” Lighting is a part of cinematography that Peter is especially interested in and recognized for his mastery. Director Scott Cudmore (who used Hadfield as his cinematographer on the “It’s Okay, I promise” seven minute opus music video by Harrison x and Clairmont the Second) notes that, “I am always thrilled with Peter’s understanding of composition and light. It inspires me as a director and always makes me want to work with him again.” Hadfield confirms his preoccupation with this aspect of his job noting, “One of the largest challenges for I Saw You was shooting in a cramped apartment without much space for lights, not to mention the camera. Using practical lights in the frame as well as sculpting available light became essential to light Boy (the film’s main character). A fun challenge! Mina Shum was very flexible and collaborative. When I made bolder suggestions she was totally game to use them. My favorite part was shooting inside the apartment at night. It made for so many opportunities to light the apartment in interesting ways and create interesting frames. Since ninety percent of the film took place in one small apartment, we had to get very creative in finding new angles.”

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Peter is continually searching out new ways of approaching his craft and challenging himself. Utilizing his availability to other filmmakers and even investigating things as mundane as podcasts to increase his awareness of all emerging approaches, Hadfield is constantly improving himself.  The aforementioned director Scott Cudmore recognizes this attribute in Peter and is currently making use of him again on the upcoming video “Needs” for the band Odonis. Peter reveals, “The music video has a very loose narrative of a corporation developing Artificial Intelligence, the AI becoming out of control and the corporation reacting to the problems than ensue. Long camera zooms and intense color, inspired by Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Francis Ford Coppola’s One From The Heart are present throughout the video. The vivid color palette and ominous, constantly zooming lens makes for a very dark and dramatic video. I was stepping out of my comfort zone on this one. I usually prefer to light naturally, or use available light. I poured over different images from both photographers and cinematographers, trying to discern how the artists I respect achieve a look similar to what I was going for. I love being forced to grow as a cinematographer; both myself and those I work with end up with a better product if I am stretched beyond my current limits.”

Director Michelle Castro Flexes His Cinematography Skills

Gloria Trevi
Director and cinematographer Michelle Castro shot by Alejandro Ibarra

 Audiences around the world will recognize Michelle Castro from the plethora of directorial accomplishments he’s made to date, which span the likes of music videos for renowned artists, award-winning narrative films and commercials.

Castro’s reputation as a highly skilled director became increasingly well-known throughout the Latin American entertainment industry after he directed the music video for Mexican pop star Gloria Trevi’s hit song ‘El Favor De La Soledad.” Trevi, who is often referred to as the “Mexican Madonna,” is also the subject of the biopic “Gloria,” which was released in February 2015.

Michelle Castro’s strength as a director has undoubtedly earned him international acclaim over the years, but his work as a cinematographer is another area of his genius that deserves notice.

As his film “When Negatives Collide,” which he both wrote and directed, was making waves as an international hit at festivals last year including being chosen as an Official Selection of the 2015 Cannes Court Metrage du Festival de Cannes, Castro was busy immersing himself as the cinematographer of several new film projects.

One such project, “The Destroyer,” a documentary film directed by Rupert Luis Sanchez (“Moktane”), follows MMA fighter Sean Loaffler as he prepares for a fight that could make or break the future of his career.

After spending 16 years as a strong competitor in the sport, Loaffler finally got his chance to make it big in 2012 when he was scheduled to fight in the UFC against Buddy Roberts; however, after suffering a massive ankle injury and being deemed unfit to fight, it was back to the drawing board for Loaffler. The film follows Loaffler after the accident up through his fight comeback, which if he wins, will give him another shot at the UFC.

Director Rupert Sanchez explains, “Michelle and I have been working together for years so when I started developing the idea for ‘The Destroyer’ he was a part of the process from day one. We both decided that being a documentary, in order for the film to stand out visually,  it needed to feel cinematic. He suggested to film at an extremely shallow depth of field and with a free flowing camera; it proved to be the most important decision for the over all look and feel of the film. His undeniable eye for the human moments and complete understanding of my intention for the film is felt in the cinematography.”

Castro’s creative vision for the shots within the film coupled with his expert versatility behind the camera was a huge asset to “The Destroyer,” as he was able to get up close and capture the action of the fight scenes and the deeply emotional struggle Loaffler experiences in this very real story.

“We shot this with DSLRs because of the mobility that they provide. Also when [Sean] was either training or fighting you are very close to the action and you really need to be able to move away if they are throwing punches at each other,” says Castro.

“The Destroyer,” which is currently in postproduction, will begin making its rounds on the festival circuit later this year.

For Michelle Castro the last few years have been incredibly busy, in fact, since 2013 he has lent his ingenious creative skill as a cinematographer to more than 15 films. From his most recent foray into the documentary film format with “The Destroyer” to dramatic narratives like Álvaro Ortega’s “Waltz” and Anish Dedhia’s “Chypre,” and the experimental mystery feature “Los Títeres de Belial,” Castro has revealed his remarkable ability to capture the visual story of each film, bringing each tale to life in a totally different way.

The film “Chypre,” which stars Svetla Georgieva (“Kantora Mitrani,” “A Punishment to Some, To Some a Gift”) and Christoff Lombard (“Waiting for the Miracle,” “Deguello”) takes audiences inside the cold relationship of one couple and examines how a young wife, who is sadly ignored by her husband, begins to desire a woman she encounters on the train. Castro sets the tone of the film with his visual approach in a way that, combined with the actor’s expressions and body language, allows the story to come across without relying heavily on dialogue.

The film, which had its world premier at the New York Indian Film Festival, earned the Best Film Award at the 2014 Los Angeles Thriller Film Festival, in addition to being chosen as an Official Selection of the India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay, the Third Eye Asian Film Festival, the Rainier Independent Film Festival and many more.

Castro admits, “‘Chypre’ is one of the projects that I hold close to my heart… From train stations to mock up trains this was an exciting film to shoot. Anish Dedhia, the director, is a good friend and did an amazing job writing the script. Another reason that I’m grateful for this project is because I got to work with Svetla Georgieva, which marked our third collaboration. I consider her to be one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with.”

Prior to working as the cinematographer on “Chypre,” Castro directed actress Svetla Georgieva in his dramatic mystery film “Succubus,” which earned the Honorable Mention Award at the Los Angeles Movie Awards in 2014, as well as a nomination for Best Short Film at the Studio City Film Festival.

As for what’s on the horizon, Michelle Castro, who recently wrapped production as the cinematographer on the films “Charlie,” “Sleep,” “The Four Horseman,” “O1” and “The Delicious,” is slated to work as the cinematographer on three new film projects as well as direct an upcoming feature, with more information to be disclosed at a later date.

 

Master Bassist Martin Fredriksson

Martin Fredriksson
Swedish Bassist Martin Fredriksson

From the powerful melodic bass lines that drive soul, funk and blues to the heavy and improvisational styles of psychedelic rock and hip hop, Swedish bassist Martin Fredriksson is one of the rare musical forces in the industry that is able to play virtually any bass style with pure precision. It’s not surprising that after his abilities became known throughout Sweden that he was called to bring his talent to the World’s musical melting pot, the United States.

Fredriksson recalls, “My parents bought a bass and a guitar as Christmas gifts for my sister and I when I was about 10 years old. I took the bass and have never let it go since.”

It was not long after picking up bass that Fredriksson began receiving recognition for his prowess back home. At the age of 12 he along with some of the best musicians at his music school in Sweden formed a band known as The Junk. Two years after the band’s inception they received the Culture Prize from Swedish magazine, Frotté, and shortly after two of their songs were voted into the Top 5 on the regional public radio station in Nyköping.

For Fredriksson, playing music is the “sweet spot” that many people search for in life—the true calling that puts one at ease. And, considering that he found his true calling at such a young age, he has had the opportunity to perfect his craft to a rare level of mastery.

“I get very calm and concentrated when playing,” admits Fredriksson. “When I was 16 I was chosen as a young ‘successful’ musician to be presented in a poster together with about 100 other people with different backgrounds and ages from my home municipality. There was a quote from the interview on the poster at the exhibition that said: Life flows when you play, everything will be all right… That is still my experience.”

Fredriksson would go onto play at some of the most notable festivals in Scandinavia including Åmåls Blues Fest, the biggest blues festival in Sweden, and Notoddens Blues Festival, the biggest blues festival in Norway, before taking his talent to the US where he earned the musicianship scholarship for the bass program when entering the bass program at the Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles.

Since moving stateside several years ago Fredriksson has become the bassist for a number of well-known bands and internationally acclaimed artists including The Malloy Band, Dream Alive, SuVi Suresh’s band, Major Myjah, Radiorelics/Mary’s Mischief, Jasmine Villegas and many others. What is even more impressive than the sheer number and fame of the groups he plays with however, is the fact that they are all completely different in terms of musical style, something that speaks leagues to Fredriksson’s versatility as a musician.

Fredriksson and Dream Alive were featured on MTV India earlier this week when the music video for their song ‘Drifting Away’ directed by Irving Ong began recieving national airplay on the station on Saturday. The video, which you can check out below, will continue to air on the station for the next week!

Aside from performing at shows across Los Angeles with the band Dream Alive , Fredriksson played bass on the album “After the Dawn,” which was released in 2014 and the “Drifting Away” EP. He has also doted his magic to several music videos over the last two years for the band’s songs ‘See You Tonight,’ ‘Don’t Say No,’ ‘Drifting Away’ and ‘Waiting So Long.’ In the band Dream Alive Fredriksson also plays alongside drummer David Meyer, who has gained attention in recent years for his work with John Mayer and as the drummer in Frank Ocean’s band.

Fredriksson admits, “I love to play many different genres, but I guess my heart right now belongs to soul, funk and blues.”

The extraordinarily talented bassists also plays with soul funk singer Anduze, who recently released “The Lone Wolf Odyssey Mixtape Vol. 3,” alongside guitarist Johann Frank who also tours with Engelbert Humperdinck.

The caliber of seasoned musicians Fredriksson plays with speaks leagues to his unparalleled skill, something that is even more astonishing when considering that he is still in his early 20s!

His ability to complement the soulful singing voice of famed singer songwriter Suvi Suresh with his bass playing led Fredriksson to join her band in 2011. Better known as SuVi, the singer’s music has been featured in a long list of Bollywood films including Highway, Blue, Ghajini and Raavan for Grammy & Oscar Award winning composer, A. R. Rahmanand. 2013 Fredriksson recorded the songs ‘Made of Gold,’ ‘Sweetest Dream,’ and ‘Ricochet’ for SuVi’s album “Made of Gold,” in addition to being featured in three music videos for SuVi’s songs recorded live in the studio.

In 2014 Fredriksson also began playing with Radiorelics, an explosive and alluring LA-based rock band. Last year Fredriksson and the band toured and received major radio play. They went on to receive incredible recognition when their song ‘Jack Daniels’ made it to the number 9 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and continued to maintain a strong position on the chart for 18 weeks. The band has changed their name to Mary’s Mischief since their initial debut.

While Fredriksson’s versatility has been a major factor in his success, he is also a naturally powerful performer on stage.

About performing in concert, Fredriksson explains, “I think people can see that I love what I do, sometimes I just lean back, close my eyes and enjoy the moment…. I have had this longing to play on stage from the start. I have been performing frequently since the age of 13… Therefore I can be very relaxed on stage and just enjoy the flow and the feedback from people in the crowd.”

In 2012 Fredriksson played bass for singer songwriter Laura Warshauer at Lollapalooza, one of the largest rock festivals in America. Warshauer was chosen by BMI and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame to be the recipient of the first ever (Buddy) Holly Prize in 2010.

Fredriksson also performed live on television as the bassist in Jasmine Villegas’ band on AXS Live in 2013. Villegas, who is currently signed to Interscope Records, skyrocketed to success in the music industry after starring in Justine Bieber’s music video for ‘Baby,” as well as performed during Bieber’s 2010-11 My World Tour. You can check out Fredriksson playing bass alongside Villegas and the rest of the band as they perform the song ‘Hello’ off her album “S(he) Be(Lie)ve(d)” for AXS Live in the video below.

Aside from being a killer bassist with an unparalleled capacity for playing a diverse range of musical styles, Fredriksson has also contributed heavily to many of the bands and artists he’s played with as a composer, arranger and songwriter.

“Arranging music together with a band and feeling that we have created something great together is very satisfying,” explains Fredriksson.

“A very important part when I am involved in arranging is that the songs is very melodic and also has variations in melody and strength… I really like to have a strong connection with the drummer I’m playing with because that creates a strong backbone for the rest of the band.”

In between playing with the plethora of bands and artists he plays and performs with regularly, Martin Fredriksson has also been called in as a studio musician to lend his talents to a variety of other projects. In addition to joining Kendall Lake’s band, and playing live shows in the band of Major Myjah, who signed with Warner Bros. Records earlier this year, he also recently recorded eight songs with Japanese rapper Morii Daichi for his third full length album.

Producer Richard Moore Makes His Mark Across Platforms

Richard Moore
                                                      Producer Richard Moore shot by Charlie Hyams


Producer Richard Moore has been responsible for some of the most thought-provoking films, powerful documentaries and successful advertising campaigns of our time. He got his start while still in high school, has spearheaded hugely profitable production companies, and has worked with award-winning directors and multi-billion dollar corporations. Through all of it, he has maintained a level of professionalism and natural talent, which have allowed him to maintain stringent standards when choosing all of his projects.

The roots of Moore’s drive and determination can be seen in the beginnings of his career, when at just 19 he personally organized the funding of a full-scale Universal Records music video production for all-girl band The Saturdays. In addition to overseeing budgeting and set building, Moore was tasked with hiring and managing more than 70 cast and crew members.

“This was my real introduction to what it to took to be a producer,” Moore said. “With managing pressure, dealing with a lot of people in different positions and different environments, while simultaneously supporting your director and helping him or her to achieve their creative vision.”

Moore served as the senior producer at Big Balls Films, the company behind the wildly popular Copa90 YouTube channel. Funded through an investment by Google, Copa90 quickly became the most successful sports YouTube channel in Europe, in no small part because of Moore’s prowess as its head of production. Geared toward the much sought-after 12-to-30 year old audience, Moore was in charge of courting advertisers for the channel, which received a hefty annual operating budget from Google.

“For Copa90, I was responsible for the launch and channel management, with an annual budget of $3 million to spend on programming,” said Moore, describing his critical role in the project.

“I, alongside the creative team at the channel, was key in pitching, selling and executing brand-integrated shows while also building our original slate of programs, which we would then sell to third party platforms.”

Among Moore’s other notable advertising productions are campaigns for clients including the financial services group HSBC and Mexican tequila giant el Jimador.

Working with the cross-platform production company Unit9, Moore produced the #ispossible campaign for HSBC, a London-based international banking and financial services company. The campaign consisted of three commercials, each of which follows a young entrepreneur who found success through the backing and guidance of HSBC.

“The campaign documents [the entrepreneurs] as they reveal the people that helped them realize their ambitions and explain how to achieve yours through inspiration and mentorship,” he said.

Also while working with Unit9, Moore produced the “Mexology” campaign for el Jimador tequila. Moore, who admits that a huge factor for him in choosing a project has to do with his impression of the director, was personally requested by the director of the “Mexology” campaign, Martin Stirling. Moore had previously worked with Stirling on the Most Shocking Second A Day campaign for the Save the Children Fund, so when Moore was contacted by Stirling for the “Mexology” campaign, he promptly accepted.

“I worked with the recent Cannes Gold Lion-winning director Martin Stirling, who specifically requested me on the project due to my background and experience in documentary-style films and as someone who has the ability to manage global clients in a very high-pressured and time-sensitive environment,” Moore said.

The campaign took an innovative approach through its examination of Mexican culture in America, which ultimately promoted el Jimador’s trademark laid-back appeal to youthful consumers, which comprise the company’s target audience.

Mexology was a commercial campaign for el Jimador tequila about four artists who were challenged to collaborate on the creation of an event that embraced the Mexican spirit of enjoying life,” Moore said. “They were tasked with re-imagining the legendary Michigan Building, an abandoned theatre in Detroit, without a script, storyline and within 48 hours.”

As a major player in the production field, Moore’s name drew the attention of Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson himself. When Sir Branson’s mother Eve began a project to assist women in North Africa, Branson reached out to Moore to produce a film about the charitable endeavor on behalf of Virgin Unite.

“When we arrived at Eve’s house, she asked us within the first 10 minutes of our meeting if we wanted to help her ship a herd of cashmere goats from England to North Africa to help bring stability to women in the region through creating jobs in the textile trade, specifically in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco,” recalled Moore. “It sounded so far-fetched and bizarre that we had to do it, and two weeks later we were filming with her and her beloved goats in Africa.”

With such a wide array of projects, encompassing everything from advertising and sports media to music videos and charitable works – not to mention his extensive work as a producer for film and television – Moore has shown himself to be a leader in an incredibly competitive field, and we look forward to what he has in store for us next.

Producer Filippo Nesci Continues the Nesci Family’s Successful Lineage of Creative Innovation

Arturo Nesci
A photo Arturo Nesci took of his brother Domenico Nesci in the early 1900s

Film has been a passion of millions of people all over the world for more than a century. But for Italian producer Filippo Nesci, film is much more than just a passion. It’s a birthright.

Nesci’s family history with film goes back to the early 1900s when his great grandfather, the Baron Arturo Nesci, was a photography enthusiast. 

A generation later, Nesci’s grandfather, Michele Nesci, established himself as a filmmaker, photographer and finally, a film professor at the prestigious Roberto Rossellini Film School of Rome. While Filippo Nesci’s father, Domenico Nesci M.D., took a different path, becoming a creative psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Domenico was also heavily influence by film; and, in the last decade he has incorporated the medium into a innovative creative psychotherapy training that he invented for medical students known as “The Workshop Movies and Dreams.”

After helping his father make a documentary for the Italian online scientific journal of psychotherapy “Doppio Sogno” several years ago, Filippo Nesci was hooked on the filmmaking process, and his innate skill in the industry immediately propelled him on the track to becoming a producer.

Filippo Nesci
Domenico Nesci (left), Filippo Nesci (center), & Professor Dominique Scarfone (right) after presenting a workshop on multimedia psychotherapy at the IPA Congress in Boston on Jul7 23, 2015.

Nesci’s breakout production was the music video for singer-songwriter Meg Myers haunting, beautiful, tour de force Monster. The video garnered more than 1 million views on YouTube despite Myers not being attached to a label or a publicist at the time of its production, which was an impressive feat for Filippo Nesci to pull off.

“It was organizing, planning and getting everything for the director (Abram Pineda-Fisher) in order to make his vision come true,” Nesci said.

Pineda-Fisher’s vision included a night scene in a forest that involved Myers being soaked in buckets of cold water. During the filming of that scene, Nesci went above and beyond the typical call of duty for a producer as he assisted his crew with keeping Myers as comfortable as possible during the challenging shoot.

“I was very impressed with the commitment she had for her first big music video,” Nesci said.

Myers has since signed with major label Atlantic Records, thanks in part to the organic success of the Monster video that Nesci produced. Atlantic Records is part of Warner Music Group, one of the “big three” recording companies and one of the largest and most successful labels in the world.

Nesci parlayed the success of Monster into more music videos, including 80s Fitness by British electronic music production duo KOAN Sound. The video featured an elaborate production of two fitness enthusiast teams who used a combination of parkour and martial arts to whimsically compete to the death in front of intricate, beautifully designed background sets that were created from miniatures.

“This was an extremely ambitious production considering this music video had a very limited budget,” Nesci said.

Nesci went out and covered vital expenses such as food, production design and additional staff that kept the production going. He even found two production designers to build a small gym on set, and scheduled the transportation, construction and overall management of the gym’s creation.

“The results were an amazing music video, and an extremely happy artist crew and record label,” Nesci said. “The director (Tim Hendrix) kept getting more work thanks to the success of the video.”

80s Fitness went on to win Best International Video at the 2013 FirstGlance Film Festival, a 2013 Jury Award for Best Music Video at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, and a College Emmy.

Another Nesci production, the film Wrecks and Violins, also took home multiple awards. The story of a disoriented teenager who needed to overcome a stranger’s bizarre torment with nothing more than a violin and a monkey-suited comrade earned the Golden Ace Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival and was a 2012 NFFTY Audience Award Winner.

Nesci used his innate people skills to create a light and relaxed atmosphere throughout the film’s entire production process which was vital to the project finishing on time and within budget. His most remarkable accomplishment during the film’s production was when he used his diplomatic talents to obtain a permit to film a key scene in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena without spending a dime.

“(It was) not easy to get,” Nesci said. “It required all my unique communication skills.”

But perhaps the most impressive of Nesci’s production feats was when he found a white alpaca for a commercial for the Scotch whiskey distillery Lagavulin. The commercial’s director specifically wanted a white alpaca and a field in which to film the South American llama lookalike. Nesci found not only a white alpaca, but an entire alpaca farm.

“I found him the exact alpaca he wanted, and I also found other different ones that we later filmed just to have more options in post-production,” Nesci said.

The find paid off for Nesci and Lagavulin as the commercial won a 2014 Clio Award.

Nesci has already build an impressive resume of award-winning projects such as films, music videos and commercials, and will no doubt add many more to it in the future.