Director Alma Har’el has released Jellywolf, a short film for i-D and Chanel’s digital platform The Fifth Sense. Starring Lisa Bonet as a shamanic beauty parlour owner and Kiersey Clemons as the young protagonist searching for her “mythical spirit animal”, the surrealist short uses dreamy special effects to create an alternative vision of downtown LA, complete with jellyfish falling from the sky.
The Israeli director is known for her films LoveTrue, a feature-length documentary produced by Shia LaBeouf with a score by Flying Lotus; and Bombay Beach, which won the Best Documentary Feature award at Tribeca Film Festival 2011. She’s also the founder of Free the Bid, an initiative to fight gender bias in the advertising industry.
For Jellywolf, her latest commercial project, the brief was simply make a film inspired by scent and Chanel’s latest perfume – the theme linking all of The Fifth Sense’s content. She chose to make a visually spectacular and magical film about the exploration of womanhood.
“It’s a trippy love letter to women in a time when our rights are being revoked again. I want women to see each other and glow in the dark together,” Alma tells It’s Nice That.
“I was looking at visionary art by Mati Klarwein. He was a Jewish artist whose family fled Nazi Germany to the British Mandate of Palestine. He created the art for my favourite album cover of all time, Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. I listened to that album a lot in LA and was thinking of his mystical multicultural and African influences in the context of strip malls and neons.”
Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan collaborated with producer Emile Haynie on the Jellywolf opening track, while the main soundtrack is Ha Howa Ha Howa by Sexwitch, a collaboration between Natasha Khan and Toy.
“I actually didn’t know about Sexwitch until I met Natasha and asked her to do the music for this with Emile,” explains Alma. “We were sitting in the studio and Emile asked me for a reference. I said I didn’t have one but I can describe what I want, and when I finished describing it Natasha asked me if I knew Sexwitch… she played it for me and the song was exactly what I wanted.”
Jellywolf was produced by B-Reel Films in association with Delirio Films. Watch the full film below.