Still from To Build A Home, a new film by Up The Resolution created for The Cinematic Orchestra’s forthcoming DVD, Ma Fleur
Here at CR, we get sent dozens of music promos every week. And most, to be perfectly honest, tend towards a predictable and frankly uninspiring formula as overstyled youths bounce around in a studio/street/park playing their instruments as a singer, usually lacking in charisma, good looks and sartorial elegance, mimes vocals to camera (yawn). Or worse, an aging, muscly popstar jumps around like she’s 21 wearing a leotard (for the love of all that is good in the world, make it stop, make it stop).
Refreshingly, a new video by Up The Resolution for Ninja Tune act, The Cinematic Orchestra – entitled To Build A Home – avoids clichéd music video formulas. Instead it combines beautiful cinematography with a talented cast of actors and an emotionally harrowing story line. The film is also unusual in that the soundtrack consists of two, rather than the usual one, track…
We’re delighted to announce that the CR blog is hosting, right here, right now, the very first screening of To Build A Home. Read on to view the film and to read a Q&A with director Andrew Griffin (UTR’s Griff) about the project…
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CR:One video for two tracks is unusual, how did this come about?
UTR: We were initially approached by Vez, commissioning on behalf of Ninja Tune, to submit two separate animated treatments for The Cinematic Orchestra tracks, To Build a Home and Breathe.
We’d worked with Vez and Ninja Tune before on the promo for Coldcut track, Sound Mirrors, and that video persuaded them we’d be right to pitch something on these tracks which have a similar mood and atmosphere. The difference was a much tighter schedule, and whilst Sound Mirrors was done in down time over a year, both these videos had to be delivered in a fraction of the time so a different approach was called for. We also needed to come up with something different stylistically so we wouldn’t repeat ourselves; working on such low budget six minute promos can only ever really be a labour of love, but they can also be good opportunities to suggest new styles or ideas to clients who are receptive to taking chances.
We offered up a short live action film that would span both tracks, something we hadn’t done prior to this, but which we’d always had ambitions toward. By doing this, and assimilating the budgets for both videos, we had the opportunity to work on writing a short film-like script, shooting live action to 35mm, and were also offering the label an innovative approach for them to market.
CR: Two tracks could work as the soundtrack to a short film?
UTR: We believed so, yes. Beyond the obvious allusion to soundtracks in the band name, and in the music itself, there was a narrative theme (of love and loss) that ran through both songs lending them to being linked as a single story. The band had themselves commissioned an unmade film treatment for which these tracks were intended as a ‘score’, and whilst we didn’t read that script we were very sensitive to writing something sympathetic to the music and lyrics, and that was suitably moving, but (hopefully) not too mawkish or melodramatic.
The label and band warmed to the idea, but the commission really solidified once we landed actors Peter Mullan and Julia Ford as the cast. Their involvement dispelled any concerns in regards to the production, their experience and talent adding and altering the shoot for the better. Once we had the cast, the crew came a little easier with some donating their considerable efforts in exchange for expenses only. This was probably helped by the fact we’d decided to shoot on location in the Cumbrian countryside over a sunny bank holiday weekend giving the impression it was a subsidized holiday – though that was pretty short lived once they saw the on-set facilities consisted of a dry toilet ‘hole’ in an outside stone hut!
The Cinematic Orchestra will play their albums Man With A Moviecamera and Ma Fleur (from which the two tracks featured in this film are taken) live at The Roundhouse in London on 10 October. Full details here: http://tinyurl.com/5z49z8
A DVD version of their Ma Fleur album is due for release next year. It will include this film – which will also be available as a download from 27 October
To Build A Home credits:
Title: To Build A Home
Artist: Cinematic Orchestra
Label: Ninja Tune
Written by: Up The Resolution
Directed by: Up The Resolution
Director of Photography: Connor Connolly
Produced by: Up The Resolution
Co-produced by: Sophia Pendar-Hughes & Griff
Edited by: Up The Resolution
Cast (Husband): Peter Mullan
Cast (Wife): Julia Ford