Sometimes it feels like we’re everywhere at once, with all these video postcards from India, Jamaica, Poland, and Jolly Ol’ England giving us a great seat for the Parade of Nations. The TK Crew has definitely benefitted from being exposed to so much cultural dynamism. Our morning meetings now feature jicama scones and Free Trade coffee.
Seriously though, we live in times where seeing beyond borders to find a message can be challenging. There are those who insist on doubling down on their ethnocentrism, refusing to acknowledge the common humanity that binds us. Perhaps they need to watch more videos.
As for the present, we’re still a little behind the times, but this edition represents the finalé for the year 2018, with the top finisher once again taking home the coveted Barclay Award, presented each month for excellence in Unofficial Video artistry.
1. Producer: Kornelia Malczewska
Artist: DJ Snake + AlunaGeorge
Song: “You Know You Like It”
Another powerful example of dancing in the face of oppression. Revolutionary steps and blistering choreography are given the respect they deserve.
2. Producer: Red Pop Dance
Song: “Acid Rain”
A provocative Polish dance ensemble spins a dark Eco Fable through incisive movement. A teachable moment without a fairy tale ending.
3. Producer: Alex Bosserman
We all have our own way of seeing life as it unfolds and it’s important to share perspectives. Otherwise we’re all just strangers stumbling around in the dark.
4. Producer: Krispy Films
Artist: Pink Floyd
Song: “Great Gig In The Sky”
A bored English schoolboy slips through a crack in reality and discovers the infinite moment that is right now. Old-school psychedelia to the rescue!
5. Producer: Sumit Lekhari + Lavina Lekhari
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Don’t like the world you’re living in? Dance a better one. If you can Imagine Dragons, anything is possible. But you can’t do it without full commitment.
We’ll see you cats next year, which should be any day now!
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’… somewhere between the present and the future.
I swear, we’re almost there. November is over, the turkey has been snuffed and stuffed. And speaking of overindulging, we’ve got six videos on tap this month, the final two entries were judged a photo finish by our distinguished panel of mimes and marionettes.
As always, the prestigious Barclay Award is presented each month for outstanding achievement in indie video artistry.
The current Top Six feature amazing women who take no shit, a hip-hop horror movie, and “Dolphins On Wheels,” which belongs in a genre all its own.
1. Producer: Unlocked Films
Artist: April March
Song: “Chick Habit”
Pundits and savants are already quaking in fear over the possibility that now is the time that righteous women take back the night and kick ass. We welcome our new witch overlords.
2. Producer: Chris Cotton
Artist: Loyalty Is Timeless
Hip-hop and horror go together like spice on rice. The line between grim reality and mad science is gossamer thin, and we have to stick together against bumps in the night.
3. Producer: Alex Videographie
Artist: Markus Schultz
Song: “We Are The Light”
So, the skateboard is a metaphor for making the best use of the tools around us? Or perhaps the story boils down to showing more respect for the paths taken by others. Anyway, it’s a thought-provoking vignette, shrewdly rendered.
4. Producer: Skinny PM + Mane Precieuse
Artist: Holly Guelce
Song: “Mwen Jenn Manmou”
Dancer Mane Precieuse’s defiant choreography transforms this deceptively simple video into a torch of revolution and release. Our souls are free to dance despite oppression to the body.
5. Producer: Anna Harvey
Song: “Bird Set Free”
A beautiful model has a psychotic break because she’s lost control of her life. The editing contrast between her composed exterior and her fraying grip on reality is frighteningly realized.
5. Producer: Faculty of Art + Design (FAD)
Artist: Kill The Noise + Dillon Francis
Song: “Dolphins On Wheels”
I will never forget where I was when I watched “Dolphins On Wheels.” This video demands your attention and never surrenders. A childish farce that offers a nerd hero who won’t conform, the Faculty of Art and Design have created a very special spectacle that you won’t forget, even if you try.
That’s what we do at TikiKiti: Display Unofficial Music Videos from all corners of the world that wash up on our shore like notes in bottles. Keep sending them, we’re here and loving it.
Boo! Halloween has attacked and retreated for another year, but we ignored the doorbell and ate the candy ourselves. Except Skittles. They’re all you, man.
As winter begins its frosty descent, we Kitties warm ourselves by the pale fire of Unofficial Music Videos vying for the prestigious Barclay Award, given out each month for outstanding achievement in indie video artistry.
This month’s Top Five features bold statements in black and white, snotty schoolboys in disgrace, and a full-on head trip that’s either mind-expanding or a complete fabrication.
1. Producer: Hadi BA
Song: “Good Life”
Evocative black and white photography and a dreamy pop song forge a strong alliance in Hadi AB’s striking meditation on travel and time.
2. Producer: Aztec Llama
Song: “Mouthful of Diamonds”
There are interludes of dancing here, but it definitely has an unsettling narrative story structure, as well as a deft editing hand. A sumptuous array of images awaits.
3. Producer: Loic Xavier
Artist: Noah Cyrus
More scenes of travel, romantic fallout, and Marilyn Monroe come together in a painfully cathartic collage. Pro tip: You’re never over it.
4. Producer: Harry Bloomfield
Song: “Ninety Nine”
Producer Harry Bloomfield isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. These are all familiar rock-vid tropes, but he correctly serves them up piping hot.
5. Producer: Henry Hedlund
Artist: Travis Scott
Is the world ready for suburban psychedelia? Who knows what evil lurks at the other end of the Ping Pong table?
In the not-too-distant future, we’ll have more artist profiles, scintillating analysis, and possibly even something by you, dear reader. Get motivated and make magic happen. This isn’t the rarefied air of some highfalutin’ creative collective.
We’re just like you, and we’ve all got something to say when the time is right. And there’s no time like the present!
We’re having a nice trip this Fall. How about you?
It’s back to school time for many of our young filmmakers, who routinely send out their student productions for a little extra credit. And we’re honored to bring these scholarly efforts to a wider audience to discuss the juicy bits.
This month’s Top Five definitely made it a September to Remember.
1. Producer: Oregan Izak
Artist: Confidence Man
Cool and confident, as only a pair of frightfully fashionable British teens can be, the sullen protagonists artfully air their grievances against a Basic Cable boyfriend. Another repeat episode.
2. Producer: Mitchel Federan
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “You Should See Me In A Crown”
The editing is spot-on and the dancing Mihacevich sisters are 100 percent committed to the visceral and decidedly anti-glamor choreography.
3. Producer: Maxime Sauvant
Song: “Take It Easy”
The colors and exotic locations really pop in Maxime Sauvant’s languorous short, a visual postcard from a tantalizing Twilight Zone.
4. Producer: Jesse Jenner
Song: “Right In Front Of Me”
A potent pastiche of imagery accompanies this moody bit of Brit-pop, reminiscent of MTV’s glory days more than 30 years ago. Echo and the Bunnymen? Thompson Twins? They never left.
5. Producer: Malachite Mangusu
Artist: Mystery Skulls
Song: “Losing My Mind”
Another troubled teen finds his senses working overtime when he hits the reality wall and slips through the cracks.
From big-budget bonanzas to strapped students testing the limits of their ingenuity, we are continually amazed by the depth and dimensional thinking of our international video artists. Buckle up, boys and girls, this is getting good.
As promised, we’re going to spotlight the creative efforts from our last three Barclay Award winners (there was a tie in June, hence two winners) and isolate some of the singular elements that contributed to their victories.
Director: Roma Kong
Artist: Lady Gaga
Song: “Bloody Mary”
It’s not always necessary to make a spectacle, but here director Roma Kong successfully crafts a big-budget blockbuster that cunningly combines costumed pageantry with a horror movie sensibility.
The madhouse setting is reminiscent of the Peter Weiss play, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. Like its thematic predecessor, the narrative illustrates the fundamental divide between the idea of helping or “rehabilitating” humanity versus simply exploiting our suffering for the entertainment of others.
The presence of a Jesus and a Mary Magdalene embodies the conflict of divine aspirations with all-too-human desires, and the result is madness, apparently. The burden of creating art and images that stand on their own is simply too much for ordinary mortals. A once noble vision is transformed into something grotesque, a horrific symbol of our inability to grasp what’s truly important.
Director: Román Reyes
Artist: Oh Wonder
Song: “Technicolour Beat”
Now this is a performance video, perhaps the best we’ve seen. Román Reyes takes a very different approach to storytelling and boils it all down to the artful positioning of dancer Nora Peinador in a number of shimmering tableaux—and it succeeds brilliantly.
We often bandy the term “commitment” when reviewing our videos and here is a sterling case in point. The subtle movements of Ms. Peinador are in stark contrast to King’s Freak Show cabaret, but no less expressive, as each gesture is delivered from the soul, and carries myriad meanings.
In the hands of artists like Reyes and Peinador, we get dozens of stories for the price of one. By turns hypnotic, sensual, and heartbreaking, “Technicolor Beat” is a seamless, moving objet d’art that requires neither context nor wardrobe.
Producer: Miguel Angel
Thanks to the magic of algorithms, TikiKiti attracts a whopping number of international student videos, most of which are meditations on the mundane aspects of adolescent existence.
I personally have watched several dozen short films that include scenes of students waking up, brushing their teeth, and gathering their backpacks for school.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with verisimilitude. After all, we tell what we know, right? But you have to ask yourself at some point in the process: is this a story worth telling? Does my ambivalence about reality transcend the form and actually resonate on some level?
Director Miguel Angel pulls off a rare feat by ingeniously parodying the typical student video of kids goofing their way through some badass hip-hop tune to mostly comic effect. This is just the setup before the rug gets yanked out from under us.
Angel, whose man-crush on director Quentin Tarantino is apparent from the opening credits, ramps up the danger level significantly and soon we’re not sure what we’re watching. Our silly teen protagonists have gone for a joyride and seemingly gotten themselves into a world of grownup trouble, where actions have consequences.
Angel and his actors have provided us with an apt metaphor for onset adulthood, one filtered through a cinematic filter. It’s a time when life transitions from a teen comedy into a gritty action flick.
And all too soon, we find ourselves in the month of June. Our TikiKiti Quest to catch up to the present day in pursuit of video excellence rolls on! Tickets please!
Perhaps in anticipation of hotly contested political races to come, the voting for the Barclay Trophy, our award for best Unofficial Music Video of the month, has become extremely competitive. This time around we had a tie for first place and fourth place, so we will be featuring six videos instead of the usual five. Hurray for Bonus Content!
1. Director: Román Reyes
Artist: Oh Wonder
Song: “Technicolour Beat”
One of the coolest performance videos we’ve seen. Roman Reyes has a deft eye for angular intimacy and his dancing muse brings every moment to a simmer.
1. Producer: Miguel Angel
At first glance, this would appear to be another variation on the ever-popular video theme of bad boys being bad at nighttime. Migeul Angel masterfully enhances the action with cinematic flair and drama, and gets committed performances from his youthful squad.
2. Producer: Nassift Visuals
Artist: Ft. Illenium
Extraordinary composed parkour choreography that fits the tear-jerk tune like a tailored glove. It’s a bracing mix of reckless energy and ultimate precision.
3. Producer: Szymon Wiktor
Artist: Clean Bandit
A confident, highly competent production from Szymon Wiktor that demonstrates abundant vision and finesse.
4. Producer: Yannick Walters
A taunting ghost fills him with rage. And just like that, he’s lost the game. A tightly wound and surprisingly effective narrative by Yannick Walters and his team.
4. Producer: Luke Covert
Artist: The Wild Wild
Song: “Wake Up”
Sound and solid performance editing by Luke Covert, but the real star of the show is the ruined school location and the bittersweet memories it inspires.
Coming up: A deep-dive feature on the winning videos from May and June. What was it about these shorts that added up to a winning formula? It’s not always always the flashiest extravaganza with the trickiest camera angels. Until then, keep ’em coming!
Is it May already? Wow, this year is just flying by! Let’s synchronize those calendars, shall we?
This brings us to the latest Top Five, which includes some seriously cinematic efforts in the Narrative category.
You know the drill: Five artists are honored, and the monthly high scorer may select the coveted Barclay trophy or a gift card as a testament to their vision and skill. More about the awards.
And to our five May creatives, we’re just doggone thrilled to showcase your incredible work. Encore!
1. Director: Roma Kong
Artist: Lady Gaga
Song: “Bloody Mary”
Possibly the most sophisticated video we’ve seen in terms of production values and high-stakes concepts, Roma Kong has the visual sensibility to be a big name in any number of fields.
2. Producer: Sarah Maggic
Song: “Play Me Like A Violin”
Domination, submission, and identity are some of the thematic forces at play in Sarah Maggic’s well-executed short.
3. Producer: Anna Hicks
We dug this strobe-soaked club-thumper that reduces the mating dance to its most essential impulses, some of which may be in direct conflict.
4. Producer: Yap Manloong
Artist: Paperplane Pursuit
Song: “Who’s Gonna To Stop Me”
Evolving, growing, and reshaping itself before our wide eyes, Yap Manloong’s video is a wonder to behold. Uncanny animation and a playful spirit permeate every frame.
5. Producer: Maya Cooper
Artist: Baz Luhrmann
Song: “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen”
Words to live by. A fascinating deconstruction of a graduation speech loaded with intuitive narrative imagery.
Let’s make a pact: You keep sending videos and we’ll do our best to give them the attention they so richly deserve. Aloha!
Narrative — a video that has a story element usually based on the lyrics of the song.
It’s safe to say that we TikiKitis pay particular attention to Unofficial Music Videos with a narrative structure. Because our backgrounds are closely tied to independent filmmaking we understand how challenging it can be to tell an actual story with limited resources.
For this installment, we’re cueing up a trio of student videos, each with a different approach to narrative.
Jaye is another promising video artist from the UK stretching her creative legs in a Media Studies class. The storyline for the song “Youth” by English pop band Daughter, is nonlinear and episodic, depicting a turbulent romantic relationship between two schoolgirls. Happy times give way to conflict and apparent dissolution, followed by a sorrowful interlude. The ending suggests that the protagonist perseveres despite learning a rough life lesson. Cynics may rightly point out that this structure has been done to death, but Jaye’s viewpoint is nonetheless clear and sincere.
In “Four Walls” by Bastille, artist Rachel Marsh turns even further inward with her own personal horror movie that bears a passing resemblance to The Exorcist. The video teeters between benign footage of a seemingly “normal” teenage girl to unsettling scenes of the same girl in a nightmare insane asylum. With a song that was written about Perry Smith, one of the real-life killers profiled in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Marsh uses the brittle lyrics as a jumping-off point for an icy plunge into madness that is both frightening and heartbreaking, thanks to deft execution and editing.
Finally, Lucia Timberlake’s take on The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” provides a playful tweak on our expectations, by seemingly sabotaging a song that celebrates rushing out the door to face another workweek. Here, she focuses on a nameless adolescent boy getting ready for school.
Instead of the breathless frenzy the song describes, the kid takes his sweet time, prepares breakfast, washes the dishes, and brushes his teeth. It’s 100 percent mundane, but there is movement as the story is shot from different angles and flowing easily with the music, effectively subverting our anticipation of significant action taking place. Well played Lucia!
It’s noteworthy that all three narratives are set in plain ol’ reality (though Rachel’s video turns darkly inward), with action seemingly derived from everyday routine. It shows pragmatic minds at work. Chaos is easy. Imposing order on the universe is far more difficult.