There's an art to making the perfect music video, and over the years they've evolved and taken on many styles. Some are released as high-art short films, like Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," while some stick true to the lyrics within the song. Others are released as comedic pieces, animated shorts, powerful statements. Whatever other genre you can think of, it's been made into a music video. When made well, they take a lot of time, care and effort, which is why it makes perfect sense to feature them at BendFilm Festival.
This is the first year for the music video category, and viewers will be treated with 10 different videos that span a variety of visual styles, messages and genres of music. The ones chosen are a true showcase that highlights what can be possible when blending two mediums (sometimes more) in the right way, and going above and beyond to share a message and story.
- MOsley Wotta and Jesse Locke
- A still from the colorful and moving video for "Just Like Them."
"Expanding our festival categories means we get to formally broaden our recognition of storytellers of all immersive mediums. We relish the opportunity to celebrate the role film and music play together to captivate, create a sense of place and invite audiences to dream. We look forward to sharing this new category with 10 beautiful, soul-baring videos," said Selin Sevinc, BendFilm's head programmer.
The artists featured include Sleater-Kinney, FREAK DADDY ft.. Daisha McBride, Chad Matador and Hadrian Shmadrian, Dolphin Midwives, MOsley WOtta, Deaf Telepathy, Kevin Knapp ft. Baby Luck, Ellington Peet ft. Emilia Austin, Mike Meyerz, and Harry The Nightgown.
Two Bend-based directors are featured in the mix of videos. Among them is Doone Williams, who directed Portland band Dead Telepathy's video for "Midnight Sun" and made a trippy montage of found footage and visual effects, like you're looking at videos of your own lost memories. Meanwhile, Jesse Locke, who worked with Bend's MOsley WOtta on "Just Like Them," helped create an animated world of lines and color by utilizing thousands of individual hand drawings to create the electrifying effect. The song itself is about navigating your own narrative, and the video plays into that. Animators on the project include Locke, Jason Graham of MoWo, Kaycee Anseth and even Graham's kids stepping up with a helping hand.
"This was the biggest effort that we've ever done, in terms of how labor intensive it was. It took 18 months. We were intensely devoted to the practice of showing up and doing this thing little by little," says Graham. "When you're doing an animation piece, that's hours of your life. To see that you could pour a lot of time and effort into something and you can see tangible results, that was a huge step up when we saw what we could do."
All of the entries use their own unique visual techniques and methods of storytelling. For instance, in Sleater-Kinney's "Worry With You," a couple finds themselves living together in a place that is way too cramped, making for a video that is both fun and a reflection on spending a little too much time in our homes during the pandemic. Kevin Knapp's video for "Cute" is a fun portrayal of body positivity and acceptance. Chaz Matador and Hadrian Shmadrian's video for "Reputation" pokes fun at the question: what would you do for success? As a musician tries to fake his death for record sales, only bad things come.
That's the beauty of the music video category: everyone is sharing their own message and each video is crafted in its own way. It's a strong group that will shine a light on the power of this particular medium, and they are all well-deserving of the first year selection. Furthermore, this inclusion is also opening doors for other musical artists in the community who might want to work with directors and expand their visual art in the future.
"The consideration for how to diversify what they're [BendFilm] doing is for the betterment of the community. It just opens up more avenues. I'm all for the expansion of what film means and what visual media means. They're actively looking at what they're not seeing, and this is a consequence of that," added Graham.
Various locations, & virtual
$275 all access, $175 full film pass, and $100 virtual pass