Film Archive

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    Hardly anyone’s been on an uphill-climb as fast as Tyrone Lebon. One day he plopped into our lives with his photographs and films, and then the next minute he’s everywhere – shooting people all over the world and being talked about by countless magazines and websites. Just to reassure us that he’s no flash in the pan he’s just created this fantastic, informed collage of a film.

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    If you’re slightly unhappy in your day-to-day job and secretly feel that perhaps you should be doing something a tad more creative, look away now. This film leads you up whitewashed stairs to a gargantuan, high-ceilinged New York studio, inhabited by two well-known artists, Ana Kras and Devendra Banhart. We’ve featured Ana’s work a few times on the site for her beautiful, simplistic, friendly furniture design and works on paper.

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    I’m happy to admit that after watching all three minutes and 47 seconds of Stevie Gee’s new music video for Archie Bronson Outfit, my computer desktop is littered with so many screenshots of boobs, beers and motorbikes in psychedelic hues that I can scarcely find anything else. And the thing is I don’t even mind.

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    This is nuts. When you thought OK GO couldn’t do any better in one take than their last, famed effort then think again. The foursome are back with one of the most staggering efforts in the history of music videos, this time set in some sort of airport where the gang ride around on electronic unicycles popping umbrellas with about 1000 extras to form kaleidoscopic patterns when shot from above. The jaw dropping first few minutes is totally trumped in the last minute where the whole formation quadruples in size leaving you with your jaw resting on the desk in front of you. Unreal.

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    There are moments in life when Abba really seem to speak to us. Not just in how the band really seems to get how it feels to be seeing the winner smugly taking it all, or to be terribly grateful for the music, but in the literal sense that they’re actually talking to us. This nonsense is all now a reality thanks to the superb video for beatboxer Roy Kafri’s single Mayokero that’s been doing the internet rounds for a few days.

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    Some writers create page-turners; masters of narrative and plot that compel you to keep on reading. In some ways Joan Didion is the opposite, although her writing is no less compelling. When reading her work, its brilliance stops me dead over and over again, such is her ability to analyse a person, a place or a concept and then articulate her thoughts.

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    Peter Brookes is a demigod among political cartoonists. The septuagenarian is now in his 22nd year at The Times where he still produces a cartoon every day, distilling the frustrations, jibes and political unrest of the nation into one biting image to a looming and unmoveable deadline. This short film The Art of Satire examines Peter’s work in the contexts both of political cartooning and of The Times, who recognise Peter’s exceptional skill by allowing him to contradict the editorial direction of the paper in favour of following his own line.

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    New York-based artist Daniel Arsham is a figure with fingers in a lot of different conceptual pies, from installation works to short films. While architecture plays an important part in his work, so too do the paradoxes and oddities of human nature, and that’s what’s under the microscope here.

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    CANADA are the epitome of supercool; everything our favourite Barcelona-based filmmakers and producers touch turns to chic, so it’s time the rest of us just put down our on-trend moccasins, blacked-out sunglasses and tiny man-buns and just let them get on with it. What better way to retire our cool-hunting ways than to watch the collective’s latest short, Laberinto (Labyrinth), directed by Marc Oller, which sees the classic love story of a boy chasing an aloof girl played out sublimely.

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    In the design world, the brief plays many different roles – ubiquitous, all-important, loathed, misunderstood; it can be a starting point, a back-up and a battleground. And yet we don’t often hear that much about the brief and its place in the creative industry – enter design strategy firm Bassett & Partners. Posing the question “if every project starts with a brief, why aren’t there more projects that end up with exceptional results?” the San Francisco-based company have tried to rectify this imbalance with their interesting short film Briefly.

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    Guillermo Del Toro usually associates himself with the darker side of filmmaking, but the Mexican director and producer has just finished work on an altogether more upbeat and life-affirming movie. The Book Of Life follows the story of Manolo, a young man caught in the middle of a wager between two deities who must embark on an epic adventure in order to see the woman he loves again.

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    Gothenburg’s Goat are probably one of the most interesting bands out there at the moment. Their infectious fusion of world music, psych and heavy rock has captured the imagination of a now massive fan base, and their live performances are notoriously theatrical; the whole band costumed and gyrating like some kind of ancient Dionysian cult. Their music videos are pretty nuts too.

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    It actually takes a lot of hard work to make something seem effortlessly cool, but it helps if the raw ingredient you’re working with is, well, Jude Law. And your backdrop is the tranquil waters of the British Virgin Islands. This great new short for Johnnie Walker Blue Label opens with two men entering into a wager: if one wants to win the other’s vintage yacht, he’ll have to dance for it.

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    We’ve been talking a lot recently about the gradual shift of the internet: websites becoming more advanced, successful blogs being abandoned left right and centre, artists adopting new ways of uploading and sharing music. What I’ve been curious about is the gradual change we’re going to witness in music videos. Gone are the hi-octane, fleshy, music videos that were rife a few years back, and it seems that increasingly bands are not as keen to peacock themselves around and taking a back seat is the cool thing to do. Maybe it’s also to do with the attention span thing that everyone goes on about, why would you want to watch a four-minute music video with a narrative that you won’t understand until you see the end when you can just watch a beautiful piece of ambient animation?

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    Matthew Frost’s Fashion Film featuring Lizzy Caplan remains one of the finest spoofs I have ever posted on the site, and it’s interesting that it was that parody that led Kirsten Dunst to this short. Commissioned by Vs. Magazine for their latest cover shoot with the Spiderman star, it’s an excruciating look at celebrity culture through the prism of a very individual encounter.

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    Spectacular promo film here from Reebok, inviting you to “give me your classics and I’ll show you the future.” As well as taking you swerving around northern A-roads in a BMW E28 M5 (dream car) stopping briefly on the way to pick up a blonde girl in the leafy suburbs (dream babe) this short film perfectly promotes the nostalgia associated with the Reebok Classics.

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    Paul Gale is a comedy filmmaker whose various online offerings have racked up millions of YouTube hits, but his most recent parody is rocketing him onto a whole new level. Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong takes the simple premise of the misspelling of customers’ names on their coffee cups – and the moaning Tweets and Instagrams of “hilariously” egregious examples – and offers a very simple explanation. The staff, it appears, “are f***ing with you.”

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    Creativity can come in all shapes and sizes, and yeah we’ve posted a lot of great stuff this week. A project or painting someone has been working on for years can change your life entirely, as can one photograph or spectacular piece of design. Sometimes, though, it can just be the opening credits of an old cartoon remade with real animals. Thank you then to Disney and their blog Oh My Disney for creating and sharing something so intricate and bonkers it’s blown all art ever made out of the water. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the DuckTales Theme Song With Real Ducks.

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    Considering New York band Parquet Courts recently announced in an interview that they were staying away from social media and the web because it wasn’t “punk,” it comes as something of a surprise that lo-fi punk master Ty Segall has just released a music video with an accompanying interactive website. I guess this is what happens when you make brilliant, unique music – artists start queuing up to interpret it for you, be it through artwork, remixes or websites.

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    Due to their consistent brilliance we tend to drop everything when we hear of a new Metronomy video. Well, today it’s happened again, this time for their new single Month of Sundays. The video was directed by filmmaker Callum Cooper and was shot on a cloudy London day in the Barbican and other famous Brutalist residential buildings in London. Using a clever spinning technique not dissimilar to the skipping rope GoPros of old, Callum followed and shot the band as they strolled around and posed among various dark stairways and openings. Taking one of the UK’s favourite bands and buildings and combining them together to create a simple and utterly compelling music video makes for some of the best watching we’ve had in ages, even if it does make us feel a bit seasick at times. You can read more about it in this interview with him and the band over on Nowness.

  21. Fixlist

    You can’t go wrong with a video set to honky-tonk piano music featuring some fresh-faced youngsters who get to work solving a granny’s sock problem. Designers Dan Jackson and Sophie Both are the “Fixperts” who puzzle over how to help “fix partner” Edna get her socks on in the mornings and come up with a creative solution in this short, jazzy film.

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    Spectacularly creative Dutch duo Lernert & Sander have made a film for COS, The Sound of COS, in which the artists imitate the sounds clothes make. In their studio they crush salt, open umbrellas, slip on oven mitts and stomp about to create the soundtrack for a fashion video. Meta, eh? The concept is ingenious, because as we’re paying heightened attention to the pop of the button, the zip of the jacket and the jingle of keys in a purse, we’re also paying extra close attention to COS’ Autumn/Winter collection in all its lovely detail.

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    How do traditional creative industries survive alongside the new digital kid on the block? By going back to basics. Made You Look is a documentary about the UK’s DIY graphic arts scene, exploring how creatives, publishers and agencies are sticking with and returning to tactile means of making things. They’re using pens on paper and acrylic paint along with new technology to create works which can be held onto instead of disappearing into the ethereal web.

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    Thus far I don’t think Keaton Henson has ever released a video that I’ve not been completely captivated by. His William Williamson-directed film for 2012’s Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us was about as scathingly intense as they come, and the 2013 follow-up, You, turned out to be a total tear-jerker too. So it shouldn’t surprise you that Keaton’s latest video for new track Healah Dancing is pretty heavy-going. From the outset it seems geared up for a violent and emotional climax, but the results are in fact much less predictable – but much more exciting – than that. Enjoy!

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    Imagine turning up to work in the morning, checking your schedule and realising that the vast majority of your time is going to be spent creating a zombie horse. That’s what the team at Montreal-based Rodeo FX did for Series Four of Game of Thrones, along with creating the slave city of Meereen, the Unsullied Army, a sequence with the White Walkers and most memorably the final (KIND OF SPOILER ALERT!) battle between Stannis’ army and the wildlings.

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    WARNING do not watch this if you are afraid of family members dying and then being messily devoured in front of your very eyes by OTHER members of your own family. Seriously, parts of this video were deemed unwatchable by most of the It’s Nice That editorial team, which I think is perhaps why I love it so much.

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    German design studio Hort prides itself on being an “unconventional working environment” and a “place where work and play can be said in the same sentence.” In this video by Analog Mensch Digital, Hort’s much-loved creator Eike Konig talks about their work and ethos whilst rolling paint and printing a poster. The camera wanders about the studio past leaning bikes and big white desks, scrolling up bookcases and dwelling on the Anthony Burrill posters gracing the walls. Eike is always worth listening to, whether he’s musing on the differences between international and German clients, traditional and digital work and the morals of design. He says: “Visual language is a strong language. We have responsibility in the use of this power.”

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    Every time a new music video by Us (AKA Chris Barrett and Luke Taylor) is sent round the studio I find myself stubbornly insisting that they can’t possibly have topped their previous efforts, and every single time the London-based directing duo seem to prove me wrong. Their latest creation for British singer-songwriter and producer Labrinth is potentially the finest yet in fact, combining what is becoming their trademark one-shot effect with a brilliantly simple storyline. The video follows Labrinth through the ups and downs of making a record, from TV interviews and squabbling record label execs to shooting videos in flash cars and performing onstage, exposing a side that usually remains concealed. It’s a natural fit for Us’ pared-back aesthetic, where cameras, ladders and extras are all included in the shot. Have they upped the stakes again? We reckon so.

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    “Can I email you back on Monday? I’m actually in the desert this weekend,” was the reply we got from Tom Gould when we got in touch to see what he was up to a couple of weeks back. It might sound like the filmmaker’s equivalent of the dog eating your homework, but in Tom’s case it’s a wholly credible excuse, and even more so now that we can see the fruits of his labour.

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    How refreshing to see a music video that isn’t three minutes of slowly buffering and ultimately mind-bending CGI. The videos we cherish are always a combination of great idea plus low budget – which is what makes this new one for White Fence so perfect. Why has no one thought about putting a lead singer of a band in a prison for a music video before? I love the idea that no matter how much we worship bands and frontmen, if you threw them in the clanger for even an hour they wouldn’t last five minutes.

  31. Haim

    This is great! Haim have actually had a really great back catalogue of videos so far, proving to everyone that this medium is still mega-important as to how a band is seen (Metronomy also do this well). Now I may not recognise many (any) of the trendy music names that star in this video, but what I do know a lot about is chat shows. The whole video is a pastiche of ubiquitous telly fodder like Jerry Springer, Jeremy Kyle and Oprah – the gross chairs, beige set-design and on-screen graphics that remind you of Saved by the Bell that we all know and love.

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    There can be no question that ballet is one of the most enrapturing art forms out there, but I sometimes wonder if the archetypal representation of the dance as graceful, pristine and effortless quite does justice to the physicality of it. How refreshing is it to watch a short film about a ballerina, that doesn’t airbrush over the fingerprints on the mirror, the beads of sweat on the shoulder blades, the tremble of a lip as a dancer exhales?

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    You know those CDs of whale music you can buy at the tills in garden centres? If, rather than listening to those, everybody in need of a couple of minutes of downtime halfway through the afternoon could just take the time to watch The Ridge, the world would be much, much better place. It’s kind of a spectacular bit of filmmaking; filmed for Camp4 Collective in Denali National Park, Alaska, the camera sweeps across mountains buried in fluffy snow, rocky ridges brandishing over barren expanses of white and mountain faces that look curiously like old men’s faces (watch out for the moustachioed bloke at 1.40).

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    You know how it is; you’re filming your latest music video, taking instructions from cue cards administered by an overbearing director when suddenly he’s distracted and is no longer showing you what to do. Do you stop what you’re doing and risk looking like a chump or just keep on dancing until the next cue card flashes up? This is the great existential debate at the heart of Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace, which sees him taking this line of inquiry to extremes; crashing cars and terrorising families in the process. Fun times!

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    It’s always fascinating to see how different cultures take certain musical genres and shape them into something quite unique depending on what they adopt and what they re-imagine from the original. Scene Unseen is a new video series from Bose and Vice which explores this phenomenon through three examples; indie in Mexico, electronica in India and dancehall in Japan which is the subject of the first film.

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    Is anyone else slightly unnerved by how happy Bill Callahan has been of late? His songs no longer deal with loneliness and somewhat terrifying obsession and now dwell on nicer, every day things such as driving in the car with your loved one as a snoozing pillion passenger. Yes I know it’s nicer to listen to songs about that sort of thing, but I kind of miss wigging out to some of his earlier classics where he would, for example, go into stark lyrical detail about arranging a woman’s lingerie into the shape of a little dolly on the bed while she’s out.

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    Every friendship has its issues. A mate I used to live with once cooked baked beans in a wok; a culinary move so baffling that I can feel the irritation welling up every time I see him (it’s now seven years after the incident). Maybe we should have gone to therapy, because it seems to be working for Daryl and Joe, the stars of this terrific unscripted web series. In each short clip the pair discuss something about the other person they believe affects their relationship; from drinking to punctuality and a racist dog to an inability to pronounce a sister’s name properly. It’s the kind of thing the web does so well; giving life to content that couldn’t really live anywhere else. It might, might, even help me get over wok-gate.

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    Pretty much anything created in the style of an old video game is fine by us. This partiuclar pixel art music video created by animator Mattis Davier is a thrilling, erotic voyage into creepy suburbia where we’re faced with a Twin Peaks style horror story and a lot of visuals that kind of remind me personally of the Are You Afraid of The Dark? intro.

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    Lana Del Rey is something of an opinion splitter in the studio, so it’s with great relish that we’re posting her highly-anticipated new video for Ultraviolence. In a glorious twist from the super long epic Tropico that she released in December, it’s incredibly lo-fi and brings to mind that first video for Video Games. Directed to feel like a home video made by her husband on their wedding day, it focuses pretty heavily on Lana herself; putting her veil on, eating an orange and walking to the church. Whatever you think of it, it’ll likely make you long to whack out a Super 8 camera and start writhing around in a wedding dress. Which, let’s face it, we all want to do secretly.

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    Jack Featherstone, Hans Lo and Simian Mobile Disco have long collaborated on music videos for the band’s singles, using highly complex analogue techniques to generate visuals that complement each song. But their latest offering may well be the most complex yet. Six months in the making, Tangents features live-generated digital imagery fed through an oscilloscope. The guys filmed, it, manipulated it and then knitted it all together into a four minute epic that builds from monochromatic morse dots and dashes to a full-blown crescendo of strobed psychedelia.