Film Archive

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    It’s no secret that Studio Swine are forever pushing boundaries in the world of product design, taking uncommon materials and putting them to universal use. But their latest project is extremely unusual, even by their own standards. For Hair Highway the pair ventured into the heart of mainland China to the epicentre of the global human hair trade. There they acquired enough human hair to use it as the basis for a number of luxury bespoke objects – the carefully-maintained strands preserved in deep amber resin, creating stunning patterns and textures. To top it all off they’ve made this lovely film to document their journey, the people behind this strange trade and the finished products themselves.

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    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.

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    It is a universal truth that Andrew Telling plus extraordinary cyclists equals fantastic films. The London-based filmmaker is a regular fixture at Rapha HQ, heading out on the road at the drop of a hat to produce stunning films that showcase both the brand’s expertly-made wares in action and the thrill of cycling itself. In honour of this year’s Tour de France, Rapha sent a team of cyclists out across Yorkshire to take in the sights and sounds of the race’s latest leg. Unlike this weekend’s Tour activities however, the pace on this ride is a leisurely one, drinking in the English countryside and stopping for the occasional pint of ale and piece of cake. Nevertheless the film-making is as beautiful as we’ve come to expect from Andrew, creating simple, satisfying narratives around what is essentially a leisurely weekend jaunt.

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    If you’re working on your summer bod right now then you can either look away or take some inspiration from the guys in this music video. Some people are into the whole muscle thing, but I can tell you now that for me this is way more terrifying than it is a turn-on, I mean look at them! The shoulders of these muscle-men are the width of a small truck and their waists are teeny tiny, giving them a strange Donkey Kong look about them. Odd, but intriguing.

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    The description of this video reads: “A dancing egg wreaks havoc when people can’t take their eyes off him.” I mean as far as concepts go, that’s pretty strong. Basically a guy in an egg costume (note to self: purchase an egg costume) goes around distracting people as they get on with their day. It was created by directorial duo A Very Successful Business quite literally for a laugh. “We created it just for the fun of making it, and to add a bit of surreal silliness back into the world,” co-founder Dulcie told us. Sure, this isn’t a video that’s going to go down in the top ten music videos of all time lists, but it made every single person in the It’s Nice That office laugh, and surely that counts for something. Well done, egg-lads!

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    “This generation is not afraid, pay attention” – what a line to end on! This short film directed by the rather talented William Williamson takes a close look at residents of Lahore, Pakistan and contemplates their different, individual methods of expressing themselves through their clothing. From the transexual Hijra to confident policewomen in shiny new uniforms, this wondrous few minutes takes you on a powerful journey to loud, messy, jangly Pakistan and into the lives of people who are on the cusp of realising a fashion revolution. We take for granted what it means to express ourselves through what we wear, and it’s informed, intelligent films like this that are needed to remind us just how powerful that expression can be. Read a fantastic interview with William over on Dazed Digital.

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    I fear I’ve referenced this before, but one of my Desert Island Discs would almost certainly be Baz Lurhmann’s strange spoken-word track Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen. I like it for many reasons, not least the opening phrase “Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99” which to a Midlands teenager felt exotic and American and important for ways I couldn’t really define.

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    “There’s nowt as queer as folk” begins this video created by Tate Britain to promote their spectacular exhibition, British Folk Art. The show has received critical acclaim for its curation, taking thousands of folkloric objects from the 1700s until now, and filtering them into a truly humbling exhibition that teaches you more about the underlying tone of our country than any history books ever will. From Morris Dancers to hen parties, and from leather Toby Jugs to tapestries woven by injured soldiers, these artefacts are a charming and often rather funny glimpse into what makes us all weird and British.

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    You may already be sick of hearing about Glastonbury (particularly if you didn’t manage to get a ticket and had to watch other people watching Dolly Parton in a field) but here’s something I never knew about the famous festival; it has its very own newspaper. In 2013 a seven-tonne vintage 1957 Heidelberg printing press was installed at Worthy Farm on which a 15,000 run Glastonbury newspaper was produced. It was back again this year but this lovely little film focuses on its debut appearance, the enduring appeal of printing in this way and a couple of theories about why the printing press proved such a hit with the Glasto-going public.

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    The only thing cooler than a girl gang is a girl gang of six-year-olds who are insanely good at skateboarding. Meet Pink Helmet Posse, a group of three astonishingly talented and cute little girls who are best friends, and love to skate. The New York Times have commissioned this spectacular short film about this curious trio as part of their consistently brilliant Opinion Pages, inviting the viewer to check out something that’s going to blow their minds and also make them think a little too.

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    Say what you like about music videos, for me the most successful have to be two things: simple and cool. Sound easy? It’s not, but when you think of any fantastic music video that’s stuck in your mind for years afterwards, it’s usually both those things combined seamlessly to create something magic (see Michel Gondry’s famous Chemical Brothers video). Back in the present day, this video for Uumellmahaye (gesundheit!) by Lithuanian artist Manfredas ticks the boxes perfectly. Director Ruta Kiskyte assembled some enormous inflatable letters in a disused plaster dump in the middle of Lithuania and got a guy to take his clothes off. The question is, is the naked man going to pop the smoke-filled letters we see before us? Wait, what’s that in his hand? Is he? He’s not…Oh yes, he’s going to bloody pop the letters! Perfect.

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    I love how OK GO just drop a sensational new music video every now and again like it’s no big deal. If you haven’t seen their insane back catalogue of music videos so far (come on, keep up) then go to YouTube and watch so you don’t sound like a total noob when everyone’s talking about this in about there hours time. If you have then check out this brand new video created by Special Guest and directed by Aaron Duffy, Damian Kulash Jr. and Bob Partington.

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    Next week the Royal College of Art’s much anticipated graduate exhibition Show RCA 2014 opens to the public; the culmination of two years’ intense study for the students involved. As media partners we have created a series of video portraits taking us into the studios 9And hopefully the minds!) of some of those taking part and the first one debuts today; a chat with Innovation Design Engineering student Nell Bennett. Look out for more next week as well as some special videos from the private views.

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    Olimpia Zagnoli is an illustrator we’re fond of. Her application of bold shapes and bright colours to elucidate the subtlest of social observations is right up our street, and it turns out to be exactly the kind of work which translates easily to public places, as she proved last year witht his cool project. So what happens then when an illustrator this talented turns her hand to art direction, and applies the same rules to moving picture?

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    Starter for ten: where did James Joyce write Dubliners? Nope that would be far too obvious, in actual fact it was in Italy, and in its most north-eastern corner Friuli Venezia Giulia to be precise. It’s a beguilingly beautiful part of the world that has captured the hearts of a host of towering creative figures: Ernest Hemingway built a house there and the film director Pier Paolo Pasolini spent much of his life in the region. Stretching from the Alps down to the shores of the Adriatic Sea, Friuli boasts incredible landscapes and yet seems overlooked by the hordes of tourists who descend on Italy every year, making it one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

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    If you’re feeling like you’ve heard, read and listened to all the stories there are then check out Jungles in Paris who document unique tales from across the globe. The brainchild of Darrell Hartman and his brother Oliver, the pair have created a fantastic website of short documentaries and photo essays inspired by new discoveries.

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    It’s sad, but the strangely hypnotic How It’s Made has become one of my favourite programmes over the years simply because it champions the most mundane items you can imagine and gives them a starring role.

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    An audio-visual match made in heaven, animator Daniela Scherer got together with musician Tom Rosenthal to create the video for his new music video for As Luck Would Have It, and her Western theme, minimal colour palette and cowgirl-come-mother central character turned out to be the perfect animated accompaniment to Tom’s dulcet tones. The video is simple in approach, following a young pregnant woman as she becomes a mother, interspersed with effortlessly composed images of cowboys laid across train tracks, magic 8-balls which always tell the truth, and one particularly arresting shot of a woman absent-mindedly whistling while singing the ukelele. It’s a wonderful music video, and if you’re anything like me, one that you’ll feel inclined to watch on repeat for a full 15 minutes before you can click away.

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    If you don’t give a toffee about typography, then the fixation on any font probably seems a touch tedious. But this fantastic new film from Steven Qua for The Times newspapers is an engaging and accessible exploration of this famous typeface, which takes in both its history and its current incarnations at the newspaper for whom it was designed. There’s insights from the likes of Andy Altmann, Marina Willer, Neville Brody and Monotype’s Dan Rhatigan so there’s more than enough here for both the initiated and the as-yet-to-be-converted to enjoy.

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    Here’s an exclusive for all you lucky lunchtime lurkers, the premiere of We Were Evergreen’s brand new video Belong is happening right here, right now. Rather than a smörgåsbord of poignant close-ups and intricate instruments, We Were Evergreen has kicked it up a notch by joining forces with the ever brilliant, Kate Moross for the visuals.

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    We featured Madeleine Waller for her photographs of swimmers at London Fields Lido way back in 2010, so you can imagine our delight to find that these very charming images have been published in a book all of their own, entitled East London Swimmers, by Hoxton Mini Press.

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    Basement Jaxx are currently teetering on the cusp of releasing the first new music that they’ve made in absolutely ages, and I’m sure it won’t dampen anybody’s excitement to know that the visual accompaniment to their new song Unicorn does indeed feature a unicorn. It’s one that’s been magicked up by video artist and animator Tomek Ducki, who’s responsible for no small number of mind-bogglingly good animated shorts. This one is a true tribute to the 80s soulful disco culture that Basement Jaxx value so highly, with flashing wormy creatures, dancing under spotlights, and unicorn horns with minds of their own running riot all over the place. I think you have to see it to believe it.

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    CANADA’s recipe is usually a very simple one: take a selection of beautiful, scantily-clad girls, place them in mid-century surroundings and have them act out all manner of strange activities. The rest always seems to work itself out. For their latest reel of film, as part of Nowness’ #DefineBeauty series, they’ve added a magnificent cheeky twist to this winner of a recipe which you’ll have to wait to the end to enjoy – although that little bug-eyed guy below has a lot to do with it.

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    Four years ago designer and photographer Anna Brooks was one of our Graduates class of 2010, wowing us in particular with her twist on the familiar class portrait. It seems apt that just as we launch this year’s graduate scheme we find out there’s a new string to her bow. In this music video for Isabel Broox’ single Sleep we follow a couple through the course of a day – so far so standard.

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    No video could open more perfectly than this one from The Lonely Island, which starts with a brilliant Made in Chelsea-esque parody of a windswept British girl on Waterloo Bridge with the London Eye behind her. She’s saying in a horrific Ab Fab accent “Hi this is Bridget, should I come over later?” to a Brooklyn-based Andy Samberg dressed in his finest American lad gear, not giving two effs about what she has to say.

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    I’m a sucker for a really well-executed spoof, so take a bow New York based artist/copywriter and filmmaker Dan Shapiro. Inspired by “the stereotypical conventions of the faux-introspective, vague creative profiles floating around the internet” Dan decided to lampoon them by creating his own. From the floaty music to the cliched, sun-kissed shots,the subjects’s supremely irritating self-deprecating chuckle to the inane pronouncements (“It’s about being present and aware”) Dan has got it spot on.

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    Remember back in 2012 when that guy Wlodzimierz Umaniec vandalised a Rothko painting in the Tate Modern? He got jailed for two years, and the mixed reaction from the public was an incredibly interesting one. The painting was taken away by Tate and, since the incident happened, not much has been said about it. For 18 months however, Rothko’s vandalised Black on Maroon has been gradually repaired by the world’s finest restoration crew.

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    You know when you stare at the sun for too long and your eyes turn everything dark around you? That’s the feeling that pervades Dawn in Luxor, Kahlil Joseph’s new short for KENZO, which falls alongside their Spring/Summer 2014 collection. The LA-based filmmaker is known for the “fragmentary, paradoxical and beautiful” lens he casts over the world he captures, and all three adjectives are at work here.

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    This awesome new music video for Eugene McGuinness absolutely rocks. In fact, it rocks so hard that it seems to get to the very heart of what it might mean when someone says that they are “rocking out”. We might even go as far as to say that this video for Godvia is the definition of “rocking out”.

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    It’s always great when a creative for whom we’ve long banged the drum turns their talents to something slightly new and wows us all over again. So it is with Dutch creative Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, who has just created this great promo short for young accessory brand A Scarf Called June, to mark his own addition to its range. There’s soaring choral music, some nudity and a riotous culmination of colour in Jordy’s signature style. Believe us; this is well worth one minute of your time.

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    I didn’t know anything about Iris Apfel until I started working at It’s Nice That, and now what I know about her can be reduced to a few words; she’s really bloody cool! In fact she’s so cool that Tate Modern invited her to offer some thoughts on their blockbuster 2014 show Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs in a short film. In it Iris chooses a series of unsurprisingly glamorous outfits that have been inspired by her favourite pieces in the exhibition. There’s a Dior cape that’s, “as heavy as a horse blanket,” some early Gianni Versace, “that kind of just goes doesn’t it?” and other garments that Iris declares are, “so Matisse-y!” In conclusion; “I guess everybody who worked with colour was influenced by our friend. Mr Matisse certainly knows how to carve through colour!”

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    Metronomy frequently astound us when it comes to producing videos and album artwork – it was only a heartbeat ago that they had Michel Gondry direct this absolute stonker of an audio-visual offering – so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that their latest one is so good, but we are anyway. Directed by Daniel Brereton and animated by Matt Lloyd, the video for Reservoir uses felt-tip animation in what might be the best way we’ve ever seen. Watch out for the band’s voiceover towards the end and just see if you aren’t utterly won over. Can’t wait to watch this one in all its analogue, homemade glory on an actual TV screen, speakers blaring.

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    It’s always a joy to hear from filmmaker, photographer and long-time friend of the site Thomas Brown, especially when he comes bearing glad tidings of a new project. This time he’s created the video for Alex Banks’ new single All You Could Do, alongside set designers Lightning and Kinglyface, and their visual treatment fits the urgent, slightly unnerving music perfectly. There’s lots of imagery that sears itself onto the brain and Thomas has the confidence to disorientate the viewer from start to finish. Typically he wears his talents lightly; so while on the one hand he describes the work as “an embodiment and exploration of energy and light,” in the same breath he admits it’s “bonkers…It involves a Burroughs-esque dream machine, truly trippy visuals and Brighton going apeshit.” He’s not wrong.

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    It’s always nice when two of your favourite artists are brought together in some way, when one kind of art form inspires another. Great collaborators often produce great work: I’m thinking of Michael Gondry’s music video for Björk, or Dali’s dream sequence for Hitchcock, or Keith Haring painting Grace Jones. So I was very excited to see Markus Hofko, a.k.a the Bow, a.k.a Rainbowmonkey, a New Zealand based graphic designer and digital artist, making a video for Flying Lotus’ shimmering track Phantasm (feat. Laura Darlington).

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    A very professional beyond-his-years film here from Kingston University student Scott Carthy. For two days he followed some very fast-moving street performers around New York and discovered their talent and the jeopardy they have recently found themselves in. “Manhattan, since mid March, has seen an urgent reform, with arrests of performers using the cars as their stage trebling in a New York minute,” Scott told us. “Section 1050.6© of the New York city Transit Rules of Conduct states that performers are ‘free to use the subway stations, but can not operate within the cars themselves.’ Understandably this crack down has come as a result of complaints, but a bias becomes apparent as attitudes towards these dancers seem to be split right down the middle.”

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    There’s a reason why everyone stopped watching Pimp My Ride and that’s because the before-and-after process isn’t as effective when you’re making something look fundamentally worse. In this much more appealing makeover tale, director Laurie Lynch has taken a vehicle and transformed it into something inexplicably better, and used it the new video for I Wanna Feel by Second City.

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    We’re unapologetic Wes Anderson fans here at It’s Nice That. We’re also very partial to an insight into the astonishing world of visual effects, particularly where big blockbusters are concerned – previously we’ve scraped our jaws off the floor after behind-the-scenes- glimpses at The Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby. So we knew from the off that this reel from Look FX showing their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel was going to be similar, but it’s still tremendously enjoyable.

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    Bankers have been the butt of a number of jokes over the past few years. They’re easy prey for satirists, what with their wholesale destruction of the global economy and flagrant disregard for fiscal responsibility. But Ninian Doff’s latest video for Peace’s Money adds a whole new level of surrealism to banking satire. In it we see an upwardly mobile yuppy climb the city ladder by unusual means. You see it’s not through tidy hedge fund management that he gains the respect of his bosses, it’s his badass dancing skills, and they gain him entry into a weird and wonderful finale that I really don’t want to spoil for you. See for yourselves…

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    Carlos Jimenez is a Spanish photographer and filmmaker living and working in London who caught our attention last year for his work on Nobrow’s promotional film for ELCAF 2013. It provided a slick overview of a massive, messy event and displayed some extremely nice editing flourishes. But Carlos’ most recent project is an altogether more refined proposition. Commissioned by the V&A to produce a film about the renovation of their plaster courts, Carlos has produced a slow, sweeping piece of cinema that glorifies some extraordinary works of Renaissance art including some rare close-ups of Michelangelo’s David. There’s also interviews with a few key players in the V&A’s conservation and curatorial teams who give a real sense of the important work they’re involved in.

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    Like inhaling helium or unexpectedly getting a free meal, there’s definitely something magic about messing around with slow motion or playback on film. It’s an easy and very pleasurable art form, and has been taken advantage of a lot in the world of film, possibly most impressively in Spike Jonze’s video for the Pharcdyde’s Drop. In this case, filmmakers Simon Bouisson have wandered the streets of Tokyo backwards and then played it backwards to make it look as if the star of the film is making his way through a city of backwards-walking people. Get your head around that? Never mind, just watch it.