TikiKiti Awards Winter 21-22

How’s the weather in your backyard? Looks like we’re heading for a spring thaw.

Don’t look at my gut, okay? I’ve spent the last two years eating my feelings. I consumed a lot of guilt, a lot of negativity, and a lot of Ben & Jerry’s.

Like Alice’s Rabbit, I’m running late and there is much to discuss, including new goings-on at TikiKiti. We’ll be continuing our mission of curating Unofficial Music Videos from every point on the map, but we’re also going to delve through our archive of videos and try to connect some cultural dots, in the form of (drumroll please!) the TikiKiti International Film Festival (TKIFF).

We’re totally jacked to bring back some slapping videos from past masters, and put them together in new combinations with fresh entries to create themed online happenings (film festivals).

Together, we’ll explore our respective cultural identities, emphasizing the things we have in common, analyzing the conflicts that divide us, and maybe learn a few sweet dance moves along the way.

More on this as it develops.

By far, the greatest thing we’ve done at TikiKiti is encouraging emerging artists to “go for it” by convincing them that our intentions are good, and that there is an audience for their work.

Case in point is French filmmaker Kevin Bodin. We’ve gone from repeatedly gushing over his stunning visual style, to actually suggesting the song “Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice as proper inspiration for a dynamite video.

Oregonian Jesse Locke has gone from being an early participating video artist, to hosting segments on the TikiKiti YouTube channel.

Expect a new and improved website, more interviews with a wide range of artists, and creative field reports from… everyone.

Basically, we’re doing a deep dive into our collective talent pool. While the quest for the Barclay Trophy continues, we’re going to be responsible for much more content, written, filmed, and produced by TikiKiti types like you and me.

Stay tuned! We are on the move and we want you to come with!

This is your daily reminder that Team TikiKiti is a hazily organized flock of filmmakers, artists, writers, and scalawags, intent on scrutinizing music videos from folks like you, the current inhabitants of Earth. It’s an endeavor we’ve been picking at for several years, but our enthusiasm for the work continues to evolve.

A hearty round of applause for Swedish artist Emil Oberg, who sent us this music video for fellow Swedes, Amason. In this edition of the TikiKiti Awards, we’ll also visit Mumbai, and make a few stops in America, so we don’t get too homesick.

1. Producer: Emil Oberg
Artist: Amason
Song: “Parachutes”
Category: Narrative

Welcome, my son, to the machine. Behold the plight of the office drone, gamely shuffling papers until the weekend arrives, when he is rewarded with a taste of sweet freedom. Simply told, but Oberg evokes layers of pathos from his leading man through editing that bounces from mundane chaos to pure moments of deep thought.

2. Producer: Melissa Chilson
Artist: Everything Everything
Song: “Distant Past”

Filmmaker Melissa Chilson shows true colors while getting vividly introspective. Through precision editing and an infallible color palate, Chilson illustrates how the need for validation can lead to a rabbit hole of self-pity and maudlin reflection.

3. Producer: Frank Galpin
Artist: Katrina Stone
Song: “Best Of Luck”
Category: Narrative

There’s a feeling going around that’s contagious. Not sure if it’s a song, a meme, or a positive attitude, but writer and motivator Frank Galpin captures an artful organic journey that seeks to keep us in the moment, and succeeds.

4. Producer: Zubin Sahney
Artist: Whiterosemoxie
Song: “West Side Boys”

This “Mumbai Vlog” uses a roving camera and flashes of red amidst moody black-and-white street scenes to deliver a slice of life that is both piping hot and too cool for school.

5. Producer: Kai Turner
Artist: Valentine
Song: “American Boy”
Category: Narrative

California filmmaker Kai Turner asks some deep questions in sign language—and discovers that the best way forward is holding hands with someone else.

And there you have it, another whirlwind tour of hearts and minds from near and far. We’re not sure where we’re going, but we know we’re getting there.

TikiKiti Awards: Fall 2021

Holy macaroni! Feast your eyes and ears on this bunch of Unofficial Music Videos!

Usually we start things with a neighborly preamble (“Hey! Looking good! You been lifting?”), but this edition of the TikiKiti Awards is an abundance of riches. To put it in plain English, deciding on a winning video out of the current batch of entries was a grueling process.

We could have made a case for several videos from our Fall Class of 2021 as being in the running for the esteemed Barclay Trophy. There was so much high-quality work that it came down to personal preferences from the panel of judges, and even then it was the thinnest of margins.

Your TikiKiti crew is a loose-knit cadre of creatives on hand to inspect vital examples of Unofficial Rock Videos from all points in the inhabited galaxy, a task we’ve been muddling through for nearly six years. We continue to gaze in awe at your artistic achievements, whether it’s a big-budget, tech-heavy epic, or just some kids having fun.

We’re not concerned with limitations at TikiKiti, because as the video evidence mounts, we realize there aren’t any. You, the burgeoning filmmaker, continue to find ways to write your own rules and create entire worlds.

Our winning artist goes by the name Enrg Milk and he hails from Ireland. We’ll also visit Chicago, Canada, and Los Angeles on this trip through our cultural salad bar. Take as many helpings as you want.

1. Producer: Enrg Milk
Artist: Playmint
Song: “Real Alien Ships”
Category: Narrative

This is what we’re talking about when we mention “World Building.” Enrg Milk manages to create a detailed aesthetic that harkens back to the glory days of low-budget Sci-Fi, while carrying a catchy melody.

2. Producer: Leah Bleich
Artist: Nicole Reynolds
Song: “We Are Haunted”
Category: Narrative

Warning: This video contains heart-wrenching scenes of domestic entropy from the point of view of a child. LA-based filmmaker Leah Bleich demonstrates a sophisticated camera eye that brings us uncomfortably close.

3. Producer: Karsen & Jacob Chandler
Artist: Superorganism
Song: “Something For Your M.I.N.D.”
Category: Narrative

Hey! Let’s have a baby! After all, these are the best of times and nothing could possibly go wrong. A musical meditation on adult anxiety while waiting for a visit from the stork.

4. Producer: Joshua Lee Videos
Artist: Bella Poarch
Song: “Build A Bitch”
Category: Narrative

Another view from the gamer’s couch, this one fixed firmly on the endless quest for a blissful relationship. You can’t design your own perfect lover but you can enjoy the dance.

5. Producer: Gabriel Goldman & Allan Rodriguez
Artist: Gerard Way
Song: “Happy Together”
Category: Narrative

This cover of The Turtles’ hit is a hit. What looks like a run-of-the-mill narrative really takes off and soars thanks to ingenuity, editing, and non-embarrassing CGI!

There are some fairly educated folks out there who claim our social skills are eroding through continuing isolation. Work from home, no-show at gatherings, delivered food, etc.

TikiKiti is a vitally important tool of expression that speaks volumes about our collective joys and fears. And it knows no boundaries. Everybody into the pool!

TikiKiti Awards: Summer ’21

Heard you missed us. We’re back and we come bearing the latest looks in domestic and imported Unofficial Music Videos.

Once again, our tumultuous state of affairs has prevented us from posting and critiquing your lovely fan-made videos as often as we’d like.

You know the drill: Honey! Have you seen my masks? Gotta get back to work.

As you may recall, we, the cultured cats of TikiKiti, have been curating and collecting brilliant examples of rock video artistry from all points on the Atlas for more than five years. And it bears repeating: The quality and depth of your work is killing us in the best way possible.

Affordable technology certainly helps us in our “vision questing” but there is no mistaking the eye of an artist.

Speaking of which, our current Top Five features a bonus clip from Parisian filmmaker Kevin Bodin, who continues to stoke an already blazing talent. Bodin has won the Barclay trophy on multiple occasions, so we thought it best to display his work outside the competitive milieu.

Producer: Kevin Bodin Films
Artist: Ambre Dore
Song: “400 Coups”
Category: Narrative

Our man in Paris specializes in the sound and fury of relationships in peril. Bodin makes exceptional use of space to create distance and tension. He also understands pacing; his stream of consciousness never cease its flow.

1. Producer: Anish Naren
Artist: The Weeknd
Song: “Heartless”
Category: Narrative

This could be the origin story of a superhero, but it’s more likely the musings of a young man on the brink of discovering something larger than himself, namely, self-awareness. Remember, our insignificance, in a cosmic sense, can set us free. Filmmaker Anish Naren makes excellent optic decisions.

2. Producer: Sarah Maggiacomo
Artist: Vanic & Bryce Fox
Song: “Sick Of It”
Category: Abstract

How was 2020 for you? Sarah Maggiacomo exorcises some clinging demons from her psyche with stylish vivacity in search of catharsis. We’re going to be processing this pandemic for years to come, aren’t we? Maggiacomo drops a wondrous bomb of nightmares driven by apocalyptic anxiety.

3. Producer: 不二青
Artist: Aespa
Song: “Black Mamba”
Category: Narrative

Looks like the view from the gamers couch is one of reinvention and maximizing potential. A vibrant and varied palette of secret agent adventure and subterfuge. But is this thriller from Taiwan merely escapism, or are they turning the tables on our tormentors?

4. Producer: Quincy Davis
Artist: Quincy Davis
Song: “Who Am I?”
Category: Narrative

I recognize Portland in some of these shots, and it’s reassuring to know that despite a reputation for turmoil, we are home to artists like Quincy Davis, who has a highly developed filmmaking aesthetic and a gift for composition. To be or not to be. That is the question. But it’s not the only question.

5. Producer: Ajam Guild Z
Artist: Xamd
Song: “疾駆(MV)”
Category: Narrative

More scenes from inside the machine, this time from Japan. There is no humanity here, no culture, just avatars and automatons dancing to misfiring synapses. At the same time, we have one eye looking for a way out.

Everywhere you turn these days, someone is mining your data. What was your first concert? What food reminds you of Grandpa? Would you rather be rich or free?

Your videos are travelogues with interior dialogues. If they want to know what’s on your mind, take a look inside.

TikiKiti Awards Spring 2021

No one is united
And all things are untied
Perhaps we’re boiling over inside
They’ve been telling lies
Who’s been telling lies?
There are no angels
There are devils in many ways

Hello dears! Uncle TK has come visiting, and he’s bringing presents for everybody. Hope you like Unofficial Music Videos!

Time has passed. From the safety of our bunkers we’ve seen December, January, and February roll by like tumblin’ tumbleweeds. Folks in masks are waking up from winter’s grip and smelling cherry blossoms in the air. That’s a fine scent, even more invigorating than potpourri.

Have you gotten your shots yet? I’m set to get poked here real soon. I reached this decision after testing a bathtub vaccine that made my hair fall out. Maybe then we can hang out or get coffee or some such. If distance makes the heart grow fonder, then we’re busting out all over.

TikiKiti has been posting vivid video postcards from distant shores for a few years now, and we’re starting to see return work from artists, including past winners of the Barclay Trophy.

Our current Top Five Videos include another winner from Parisian filmmaker Kevin Bodin, whose Velvet Hammer approach to video continues to amaze and inspire.

1. Producer: Ambre Dore & Kevin Bodin Films
Artist: Ambre Dore
Song: “Karmen”
Category: Narrative

As we’ve seen before, Kevin Bodin approaches a song like a painter eyeing a blank canvas, except that he leaves room for other dimensions. The word I’m looking for is sweep. The best filmmakers have the ability to knock us off our feet with the deft synchronization of sight and sound. Here, dormant passions erupt in a dark industrial future when love is forbidden and only practiced by outlaws.

2. Producer: Diana Gorgieva
Artist: Sabrina Claudio
Song: “Stand Still”
Category: Performance

At once ethereal and intimate, Diana Gorgieva’s creative diary reveals an artistic star emerging in the firmament. Whether it’s dancing, painting or chasing a mood, Gorgieva looks breathtaking in every frame of this visual resume. Perhaps her greatest gift is as a filmmaker.

3. Producer: Teo Whale
Artist: Son Lux
Song: “Remedy,
Surging Sea”
Category: Narrative

Bygone memories surface like old slides loaded into a projector that play in a blurry, fragmented loop. Teo Whale weaves snapshots in time into a haunting family mosaic, both joyful and tragic.

4. Producer: Berty & Next Studio
Artist: Interwayne
Song: “Shadow Entity”
Category: Abstract

It seems that every moment we’re inundated with messages and various forms of stimulation. That subtle bombardment requires time and tools to decompress. “Shadow Entity” hits like this, an interlude that focuses on the most recent barrage of feelings, and deciding which ones need to go further and which ones just need to go.

5. Producer: Yanin Chanasit
Artist: Oh Wonder
Song: “Lose It”
Category: Narrative

It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering. But is being in a constant state of nervous exhaustion over the next final a sustainable lifestyle? No indeed. Yanin Chanasit reminds us that some goals are not worth the cost in trauma.

Hate to sound like a broken record (if you need to Google that phrase, do so now), but the quality and scope of your Unofficial Music Videos are growing like weeds. Every time we see them, they’ve gotten so much bigger!

TikiKiti Awards: Winter 2020

Well my world used to be sunny
And jokes used to be funny
But now you’re gone
And everything’s turned around
Well my world used to be warm
And there never was a storm
But now you’re gone
And everything‘s turned upside down

There’s a chill in the air and the folks at the bus stop can see their breath. Either that, or they’re vaping.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve. Festivity is proving hard to come by, but we muddle through somehow.

The numbers are off the charts and still climbing. There’s a vaccine, but we’re at the back of the line, behind the people who told us there was nothing to worry about.

Here at TK HQ, we continue to label and sort all of your charming videos, warmed by the glow of dauntless creativity. ‘Cause baby, it’s cold outside.

Our current Top Five Videos are from October and November, in an effort to compress our timeline and allow for more entries.

And who is us? TikiKiti is a nebulous cloud of filmmakers, writers, and flaky artistic types, who appreciate Unofficial Music Videos from honest, hard-working citizens of Planet Earth.

On a “monthly” basis we present the five top shorts, with the coveted Barclay Trophy awarded to the best of the bunch, as determined by an erudite panel of judges.

1. Producer: Arman Karkhan
Artist: Apparat
Song: “Goodbye”
Category: Narrative

Our memories of love often take on the consistency of a dream or hallucination. Iranian filmmaker Arman Karkhane conveys the elusive, ineffable qualities of that particular feeling through precision art direction and utmost patience.

2. Producer: Jonathan Ehlers
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Song: “Run Like Hell”
Category: Narrative

A serious and seriously disturbing short film set to Nine Inch Nails by filmmaker Jonathan Ehlers. In rapid-fire succession we get blinks of heinous acts that we are somehow complicit in. Like an episode of Criminal Minds hatched by Touch Of Evil-era Orson Welles or David Lynch, it feels like something we’re not supposed to see.

3. Producer: Ekest
Artist: Kaina
Song: “Arise”
Category: Vérité

You can’t go wrong with dazzling topography, especially if you have a drone camera handy. Thoughtfully edited and realized, there’s more here than just scenery. It’s an entire story only tangentially about the cameraman.

4. Producer: Basko & Stephanie Chiasson
Artist: Travis Scott
Song: “Stop Trying To Be God”
Category: Performance

Sometimes in our quest to be better human beings we don’t recognize when we fall short. Aspirations are great—desperation, not so much. Maybe someday we’ll be granted the grace to accept what we cannot change or control. Then we can start living?

5. Producer: Seonghoon Park
Artist: Arctic Monkeys
Song: “The World’s Five Ever Monster Truck Front Flip”
Category: Narrative

More communications from the deep space of our own isolation. Technologically speaking, we’re doing everything possible to reach each other, to those above and below. So where is everybody?

We’re still here and we’re sending virtual video hugs from the Middle East to South Korea. Because that’s what we do. The globe is big, but it’s not that big, once we get to know each other.

TikiKiti Awards: Fall 2020

Please don’t dominate the rap, Jack
If you’ve got nothing new to say
If you please, don’t back up the track
This train’s got to run today

Gosh, what a year. From a Stygian coal mine of fear and despair, we tentatively surface to a patch of daylight. *knock wood*

We’re still quarantined (Is there a band called The Quaranteens? If not, there should be) and from all accounts we’re heading into a brutal winter that’s going to make the first wave look like a badminton match.

Naturally, our main source of video material has slowed due to schools being in limbo for the time being, but we press on. And though we’ve been fusing months together (currently August and September) to gather the most entries, we TikiKiti cats have been bowled over by the high quality of your Unofficial Music Videos.

This installment of our Top Five Videos is actually a Top Six, because we wanted to recognize a crop of artists that really went the extra mile to blow our minds. Well done, indeed!

Might I remind you that TikiKiti is an evolving coterie of filmmakers, writers, and designers, who want nothing more than the chance to appreciate Unofficial Music Videos from good people just like you.

On a “monthly” basis we showcase the five top shorts, and present the distinguished Barclay Trophy to the highest vote-getter.

1. Producer: Globeheads
Artist: Globeheads
Song: “Raw”
Category: Narrative

Mysterious surveillance video from clandestine group challenging the idea that dissatisfied citizens can retreat into the safety of a narcotic stupor. They’re watching and they’ll always find you. Have a nice day.

2. Producer: Kevin Bodin
Artist: Saez
Song: “Toi tu dis que t’es bien sans moi”
Category: Narrative

An absolutely flawless and ravishing video from Barclay winner Kevin Bodin, who creates a remarkably rich world for his lovers to navigate. Look and feel are in perfect synch, it’s both elegant and heartfelt.

3. Producer: Valentin Stutznäcker
Artist: Mandragora & Devochka
Song: “Shiva Style”
Category: Narrative

The recurring dream this month seems to be exploring escapism routes. Once again our protagonist chooses the wrong door after getting overstimulated on drugs and video games.

4. Producer: Emily Larkin
Artist: Eyedea & Abilities
Song: “Now”
Category: Performance

Filmmaker Emily Larkin produced this amazing video while dealing with the effects of quarantine isolation. Truly one of the finest performance and lip-sync videos I’ve ever seen.

5. Producer: Cinevision
Artist: Rosie Carney
Song: “Bare”
Category: Narrative

The world keeps turning whether we’re still in love or not. We’re linked to a mud ball flying through space at dangerous speeds. It’s incredible that we’re able to communicate at all. Not a super-original idea, but brilliantly executed.

6. Producer: Juanito Ellicruz
Artist: Owl City
Song: “Firelies”
Category: Narrative

Marvelous slice of post-Covid life in the Phillippines. Take a walk and let your mind and soul wander in the face of captivity.

Remember friends, our months may get mashed, but we’re committed to the cause. We’re here rain or shine.

TikiKiti Awards: Summer 2020

“Holes in our spirit causing tears and fears. / One-sided stories for years and years and years. / I’m inferior? Who’s inferior? / Yeah, we need to check the interior / of the system that cares about only one culture.”

We’re on a consolidation kick here at TK HQ, truncating the months of May, June, and July into a single post, since the video flow has slowed to a trickle during the summer solstice.

How are you? How are you coping? In the streets of my town, local and secret police are beating citizens while rolling out the red carpet for white supremacist demonstrators.

Meanwhile, the national and international media is helpfully portraying Portland, Oregon as a city torn asunder by fires and violent protests, in need of a strong federal hand to come in and restore order.

You may remember this strategy working for Hitler, at least for a while.

Fortunately, we have something that law-abiding German citizens did not have: Smart phones.

Even as journalists from local news agencies—as well as those bearing more distinguished press credentials—are being assaulted and arrested, waves of observers continue to witness and record horrifying brutality.

The belabored point is, with something as simple as a Samsung, you can help make a record of the truth, either as a documentarian or as someone who can create art on a shocking canvas.

Images survive, they always do. Google the My Lai Massacre.

Sorry for the dour diatribe, but we’re living through a barrage of teachable moments, and it’s time for action.

Speaking of which, here’s another reminder that TikiKiti is a quirky collective of filmmakers, writers, and designers, who love popping bowls of corn and cueing up a heaping platter of Unofficial Music Videos from folks just like you, hailing from every spot on the globe.

On a “monthly” basis we showcase the five top shorts, and present the distinguished Barclay Trophy to the highest vote-getter.

Let’s soak up that summer sun and pretend the Beach Boys are playing down at the pier.

1. Producer: Reilly Elizabeth
Artist: Kim Petras
Song: “Demons”
Category: Narrative

Wow. Here’s riveting visual evidence that one doesn’t need drones, breathtaking vistas, and a choreographed squad of steppers to spice up a production. Seamless editing with the proper song and committed performers can work wonders.

2. Producer: Exorsten
Artist: Moderat
Song: “Mode2”
Category: Abstract

Another simple concept taken to extreme artistic lengths. Flash and fade closeups of mouths, ears, and hands set to bursts of explosive electronica had us on the verge of over stimulation.

3. Producer: Tommy Montgomery
Artist: New York Voices
Song: “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens”
Category: Performance

Is Tommy Montgomery the Orson Welles of Unofficial Videos, or the Weird Al? While lip-sync buffoonery isn’t exactly high art, the painstaking amount of work that went into something this corny and cute should be applauded. Every detail is rendered with joyful precision.

4. Producer: FlacoLoco Productions
Artist: Tyson Childers
Song: “Nose on the Grindstone”
Category: Performance

This particular tune by Tyson Childers obviously resonates, since this is the second time it’s gotten the video treatment. Just another small, searing portrait about finding a reason to believe despite having all the cards stacked against you in a rigged game.

5. Producer: Дмитрий Мурашев
Artist: Whitewildbear
Song: “Closer”
Category: Abstract

Overlords? Observers? Tourists?

Two guys fall to Earth and consider it up close. But what do they want? Dance and play foosball, like anyone else. This is a superbly conceived and executed short film from an obviously talented Russian director.

So where are we now? That’s a good question, friends. Perhaps if we hold hands in the darkness it’ll be a little less frightening.

Artist Spotlight: Tanya Kostadinova

Allow us to introduce another Barclay Award winner, London filmmaker Tanya Kostadinova, who took top honors last December with her Unofficial Video for Boney M’s “Daddy Cool.”

Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? Present occupation? Goals and ambitions?

I have just recently graduated from Richmond, The American International University in London (as a) Film Studies major.   

How did you first connect with film and video as a medium?

The first time I truly connected with film was in my 6th form when I ended up taking a Film Studies class because not much else was available. Even though I took it just fill in my timetable the class ended up being life changing. 

Did you have the song “Daddy Cool” in your mind when filming, or did it suggest itself later on?

I started of looking for a 1970s Disco song and was drawn to Boney M immediately. I was considering “Ma Baker” and “Sunny” as well, but ended up with “Daddy Cool” as I felt it would go best with what I had in mind. 

Did you storyboard or just wing it? Is there a narrative here?

Half of it was planned and the other half was winging it. I started out with a clear idea in mind of what I wanted to achieve, however, halfway through filming I had to find another actress and at that point I was just winging it and hoping for the best. 

The flow and edit is fantastic. What’s your gear set-up, camera, editing software, etc?

I used a Nikon camera with wide-angle lens and a fish eye to give it a psychedelic feeling and used a monopod throughout. For editing I used FinalCut Pro and played around until it all felt right.

Even though looking back there are a couple of things I would change or re-do, I don’t want to go down that path so when I finish something, even if it’s not perfect, I would rather just move on. 

Are you already professionally employed in the field? Part-time? Hobby?

So far, I have been mainly focused on my studies and doing a bit of freelance on the side, but all of that was before we went into a global pandemic, of course. 

What are you working on at present? Has the pandemic stifled or invigorated your creativity?

Lockdown has definitely heightened my creativity as I feel that I’m able to focus much easier on my ideas and express myself in variety of forms. I have been working on expanding my Photography portfolio as well as having recently started writing poetry.   

Can you discuss a few artists or influences that helped to shape your aesthetic?

Growing up I was mainly exposed to mainstream blockbuster movies which never really intrigued me that much. Didn’t think anything bad of them but didn’t think anything great either. They were just there.

It wasn’t until 6th form when I discovered a variety of other directors, genres and stories that I was really fascinated by. I am a huge fan of the film noir genre and aesthetically it inspired me for the “Daddy Cool” video. 

Artist Spotlight: Matthew Smith

Let’s take a moment and get to know another of our Barclay Award winning visual artists, Matthew Smith, whose video for the Tyler Childers song “Nose On The Grindstone” took top honors for March of this year.

Can you give us a brief biographical sketch? Age, location, background, studies, profession?

I’m 32 years old, living in Richmond, Kentucky. I’m an Army veteran; I am currently a fulltime student working on my BFA degree at Eastern Kentucky University here in Richmond. 

How are you holding up amidst all this upheaval? What’s happening in your area?

It’s not been terribly bad where I am considering what I’ve seen in other parts of the U.S. Recent events have been challenging to an extent. It is a confusing and frustrating time, I feel like, for most of us that are just trying to make sense of everything going on.

Are you a film professional or more of a student/hobbyist?

I had taken a study abroad trip to Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand, last spring. I studied illustration there but also decided to take an elective film and animation class and fell in love with visual storytelling. That’s what I’ve decided my title is, visual storyteller.

What can you tell us about the “Nose On The Grindstone” production? Gear, crew, time? 

This video was filmed using a combination of a C100, Lumix GH5, and my Samsung Galaxy when I was flying over the island and about to land in the country for the first time. 

I had one other crewmember; he was a graduate student also from the US that I was introduced to, and a former marine. He assisted with camera and lighting, but I directed, performed, produced, and edited the video with the university’s equipment. I think we went from start to finish in about three or four days, max.

We used the university’s recording studio for some of the shots, and then contacted a church nearby to film a few scenes in there and the rest was reenacting the landing scenes at the airport mostly.

Did you have the “story” pretty well laid out beforehand to make a statement?

Tyler Childers and John Prine had toured Wellington just before this assignment for film class came up, so this was actually a project I filmed after the concert for a grade in film class. Tyler opened the show with this song, and I was homesick to a degree because I was expecting a baby back in the U.S.—that’s her ultrasound in the end of the video.  

I’d listened to the lyrics and recalled memories from childhood and was always being told that if I wanted to make it as an artist I’d have to leave home and go out into the world to learn how it’s done.   

Where I grew up in South Eastern Kentucky, we didn’t have many opportunities in the art field and I wanted to pioneer something here to prove to other local artists that we actually could. So it’s a chronological story for the most part of what they call in fiction as the “hero’s journey,” I tried matching visuals best I could with the words and it kinda just flowed. 

Is this your story, or that of someone close to you? It’s an emotional powerhouse.

These are my reflections growing up poor and somewhat under undereducated about the world. The picture of the house belonged to my great grandma.   

Neither of my parents went to college, I’m the first, I guess, to actually leave the country and study abroad, so it was kind of a big deal for me to get to tell that story in a country where they know little about KY but have KFC’s everywhere.

I’d been discharged early from the military and when I came home I struggled a lot with insomnia and mental health for a while in my 20’s. It kinda spiraled out of control and (I) couldn’t keep work, my car was getting repoed and I’d lived for about a year in a storage building. 

Finally in 2017 I won a claim I’d had to appeal four times from my medical discharge and they back paid me from 2012. 

That allowed me to have a second chance in life to have a clean slate and do something I was actually passionate about.

What are you working on these days?

I have about one year left for my BFA degree and mainly have my time focused on getting through that. I did, however, start up my film production LLC in February of this year and invested in resources and equipment to do more filming, documentaries, and music videos.

A friend and I just finished up another Unofficial Video of a song called “Dead Horse” he covered to compete in a contest for Hayley Williams the lead singer of Paramore. I just loaded it to Youtube as well, as a portfolio piece for the business, which is basically what I’d also done with this video.

Everything on my Youtube channel is just a big portfolio for my digital art.

TikiKiti Awards April 2020

Lock up the streets and houses / Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later / Because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right.

No need for any April Fool’s pranks this year, m’kay? We’ve been nearly fooled to death.

Looking around, it appears that rage is all the rage. People are pissed off and rightfully so. The system has failed us, time and again.

Rage is a powerful emotion and we’ve seen what it can do by itself. Rage coupled with the urge to create can be incredibly cathartic.

I’ve said as much before, and it bears repeating: Use it. Take your iPhone or Android and make a little movie. Maybe add a little song.

If you can take that step, TikiKiti is here as a forum for video artists from literally every part of the planet. Month after month, we see what’s on your mind, no matter which continent you call home.

We’re a cranky collective of filmmakers, writers, and designers, who stay up most nights watching your Unofficial Music Videos, and forming opinions.

On a quasi-monthly basis we showcase the five shorts we’ve picked as best, and present the distinguished Barclay Trophy to the most deserving creator.

Sometimes, like this month, we have two winners.

1. Producer: Ekest
Artist: Fleurie
Song: “Breathe”
Category: Narrative

First stop, Finland. Doesn’t it seem like the whole universe is one big Missed Encounter? A bit of bad timing and entire timelines of possibilities collapse. This is first-rate shot composition and a concept beautifully realized.

1. Producer: Foxy Creatures

Artist: Funny Bunny
Song: “Bang Bang”
Category: Performance

A decidedly unglamorous take on the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, complete with the questionable allure of self-destructive hedonism.

3. Producer: Charlotte Jouin
Artist: David Bowie
Song: “Lady Grinning Soul”
Category: Abstract

Is she a moth or a butterfly? It’s hard to tell in black & white. This is a marvelous pairing of song and image. French filmmaker Charlotte Jouin’s admiration for David Bowie rings clear and true in every frame.

4. Producer: Ibrahim Tunc
Artist: Sven-Holger Rosenvinge
Song: “Dancing”
Category: Performance

All the preparation before the moment can be both excruciating and exhilarating. Flawless editing and a riveting performance highlight this video short from Sweden.

5. Producer: Richard Egan & Laragh McCann
Artist: Jape
Song: “The Sea Shade”
Category: Narrative

Deep summer memories of love and wonder are worth every hour of survival drudgery on the way to the grave. This delicate entry from Ireland deftly depicts the very real bloom of new sensations, wrapped in a dreamlike gauze as if viewed from a different time.

I wish we could cash in on the air miles, or at least get our passports stamped. Finland, France, Sweden, and Ireland all in one trip? This is globetrotting without losing your luggage.

Footnote: We haven’t forgotten Best Video of 2019, and we’ll have a winner momentarily!