Music videos are such a fun artform. They combine multiple mediums and are short bursts of creativity in film: they are fertile ground for directors and artists to run wild. Tons of today’s best directors got their start making music videos, a testament to just how powerful this medium is, these little videos often standing as proof of a director’s ability. But, how can we celebrate them? Especially on a local level: is there any way to share their work? Yes, of course there is: the Los Angeles Music Video Festival is all about that: celebrating the art of the music video with an eye on Los Angeles artists.
We spoke with Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival Sami Kriegstan, who gave us a little taste of what to expect from this weekend’s festival.
The Los Angeles Music Video Festival is kicking off its second annual fest this weekend. You guys have been prepping for some time for this and we’re super excited for it: what can we expect to see–aside from music videos–at the festival? What’s different this year from last year?
This year’s fest is basically last year’s on steroids. two days instead of one, five categories instead of two…there will be lots of exciting, unique things going on including a one-of-a-kind “keynote conversation” between Eric Wareheim and his favorite collaborators, a live sync performance by Seventeen Evergreen featuring a fully costumed, choreographed dance number, a fast-pitch contest, a rowdy panel of guests celebrating comic music videos, an insanely popular genre (look out for some heavy-hitter YouTubers here), a “Biz of the Biz” panel exploring the shifting economics behind the music video industry…food trucks…alcohol…what more do you need?
The LAMVF has everything from comedy to student to narrative categories. Although all music videos, what makes each of these genres more distinct within the film sub-genre? Moreover, what other genres could we anticipate seeing in the future of LAMVF?
I think the tonality of the genres really defines them, more than aesthetic or production value at this point. There was really no scientific method behind selecting our categories this year. It’s difficult to divide the mass of videos being made into discreet little bins but we needed a way to organize the fest. It’s a work in progress. I’d love to add a take-away category (where filmmakers capture a single live performance of a song) and a separate animated category would be really fun.
As you guys are the resource for music videos in Los Angeles, what can we expect this year at the LAMVF in terms of work? Are there trends you guys have noticed in the genre? If so, how do those trends manifest themselves? Visually? Musically? Etc.?
I was surprised with the amount of gore and violence, sometimes portrayed almost lovingly…I think I’m going to call it the HBO effect. You see this raw, human, Indie sort of violent acts that are clearly meant as alternative narrative tools for displaying great love, deep regret, boredom, whatever it is. I thought that was interesting. I’m sure it says something meaningful about society today but I choose to consider it the way I do poetry – focusing more on what I feel than “what it all means.” We also got a bunch of live-action/animation hybrids which I love. I think they point to better software and more willingness to experiment with textures and effects on the part of filmmakers.
Since LAMVF’s goal is bring together independent filmmakers and musicians, what are some of the ways those communities can use LAMVF to network and collaborate? With the changes in the industry, how does LAMVF aim to connect the film and music communities?
Just showing up to the festival will be a great opportunity for networking. The venue is small but the audience is comprised of pretty influential directors’ reps, producers, musicians, filmmakers, bloggers, etc. Also, I think the mere existence of a festival dedicated exclusively to non-top-40 music videos, that celebrates ALL the people involved in the music video making process, is a real novelty in this country and will (we hope) continually raise awareness about the work being done in the space and attract filmmakers and music makers to reach out to us and connect with one another. Something we’re launching soon is a proprietary subscription-based service to literally connect filmmakers with bands; so look out for that as well.
We’re super pumped for the LAMVF. What are you guys most excited to share? At the festival, what should we be most excited to see?
I couldn’t be more excited for Eric Wareheim’s block. Viewer be warned, this is not a screening for those with sensitive constitutions. It’s going to be pretty R-rated. Maybe X-rated. Honestly the videos are so good this year, I’m excited to share them with everyone. The non-narrative category is especially stellar. And the live performance, if it shapes up the way I think it will, should basically blow everyone’s socks off. But obviously, I’m excited for all our events. That’s the whole point of having my own festival ;) I just hope everyone else feels the same way!
For more on the festival, check out their website and you can grab tickets for the event here. It’s going to be tons of fun and, who knows, maybe later today you’ll have a chance to win some tickets to the Fest…