UKMVAs BEST DIRECTOR, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - TEXT LUKE BATHER
It’s that time of the year where everything feels weird. Halloween has now been and gone, we’re slipping aimlessly into November but we’re not far enough in yet to start firing rockets into the air and burning rubbish in a pub carpark. Christmas is creeping up faster than you’d like and suddenly you’re sat there staring blankly at a Santa’s grotto wondering where the hell your year went and if you even accomplished anything. Oh, God no.
What was my point again? Oh, yeah - the UKMVAs is happening this week. Clearly there’s no better time to celebrate some people who have actually accomplished some things this year, so lets look at the nominees for Best Director and see how you feel when you try and compare yourselves to them. I know, it hurts, but let’s look anyway. Leave your speculation at the door - everyone’s a winner here. Especially the person who ultimately wins this category…
Colin Tilley’s year has already been pretty huge. Picking up Best Director and Best Hip Hop Video at the MTV VMAs earlier this year certainly stands him in good stead at the UKMVAs. The three videos put forward for consideration offer a broad spectrum of visual and narrative textures. Each one laced with abstract imagery and visual metaphor. They each look strikingly different, and take place in their own unique but fully realised universes. The Kendrick and Nicki videos are getting all the press, but the 9 minute cut of the Carnage video is absurd as it is engrossing.
David Wilson is only getting stronger by the year. The Royal Blood video showcased his deftness in switching between his animation and live action styles seamlessly, and within an incredible sci-fi TV show meta-narrative. His recent work for Tame Impala used playful cuts and practical effects and oversized props to bring a surreal edge to a serious narrative, surely inviting more than one Michel Gondry comparison. Which is certainly no bad thing.
Fleur & Manu
Having walked away with two awards in 2013 (for Best Dance Video and Best Alternative Video), Fleur & Manu have spent their time wisely by doubling down on what they do best. Nowhere is that better seen than in their videos for Drake and Skrillex - taking a visually peculiar concept with both hands and running with it at full speed into the sunset. Rarely has Drake’s face looked so intriguing as when it’s morphed onto the head of Rob Ford.
Ian Pons Jewell
Ian Pons Jewell is doing it right. His output this year has been a crop of visually rich, conceptual micro narratives that break down the fourth wall and melt straight through fifth. His work with Vince Staples is a fantastic realisation of a dystopia that feels plausible even when tinged with the surreal. This sort of narrative flair is a muscle he’s gotta keep flexing.
Ninian Doff may have thought his year had peaked when he had the prestigious honour of being asked some questions by Sky News - but no! The UKMVAs started shouting his name from the rooftops, and for good reason. Have you seen that video he did for The Chemical Brothers?! Go now. Watch it. That bit where she puts the petrol pump in her neck!? I think the first time I saw that it caught me so off guard that I actually just starting repeating the word “no” out loud to myself in an empty office for a few minutes. Anybody that can get that reaction out of me deserves an award. Hang on Ninian, I’ll make something out of foil and pipe cleaners for you…
A departure from the other nominees, Vincent Haycock’s work isn’t reliant on big, conceptual ideas, surrealism or effects. The videos are miniature cinematic ballets of emotion, delicacy and beauty. Each one choreographed to precision without ever feeling over-planned. Lingering takes and muted colour palettes allow him to get some incredible performances out of his actors. Plus he made something that actually made me want to sit there and listen to a U2 song. That’s huge.
So in summary, the year's flown by and these guys made some ace videos. At least whilst we’re wallowing in abject misery we can have something good on the screen. Merry November!