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.
Or is it? We’re still in the Dog Days here at TikiKiti HQ, sorting out the latest crop of UMVs (Unofficial Music Videos) that we’ve been carefully drying in the sun until we can harvest a full spectrum of delicious, nutritious ART.
Behold, our Top Five for August.
1. Director: Eva Berbel
Artist: Cardi B + Bad Bunny + J Balvin
Song: “I Like It”
Supertight choreography, a healthy wardrobe budget, and spot-on direction from Eva Berbel, who serves up a densely layered hip-hop Busby-Berkeley swimming pool fantasy.
2. Producer: Johnny Copter
Artist: Morgan Page
Song: “Running Wild”
Johnny Copter’s vibrant photography makes “Running Wild” a soaring visual odyssey that plays like Wes Anderson’s audition reel for Nike. Moving pictures, indeed!
3. Producer: Yardley Estiverne
Artist: Amy Vachal
Song: “Field Sense”
This black-and-white tone poem features a veiled woman with mountain goat horns meandering through a church, and it breathes with a confessional intimacy.
4. Producer: Marty Rait + Angelina Lobanova
Artist: 100 Monkeys
An attractive couple moodily explore the boundaries of their relationship, again in glorious black and white.
5. Producer: Perpetual Goose
Artist: Aphex Twin
Song: “54 Cymru Beats”
This near seizure-inducing driving collage could probably reprogram an entire cult of brainwashed acolytes into functional citizens. Or send them off the deep end.
You folks are killing it. Every day we see things that we’ve never imagined. Curious dreams, romantic vignettes, nervous puzzles, cathartic explosions… an ever-widening continuum of aspirational wonder and experience from all corners of the planet.
This is our jam. Welcome.
Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lie, welcome to the month of July!
The margins continue to get narrower in our TikiKiti judge jams. In the latest round of tabulations we came up with a three-way tie for fourth place, which means this is another Bonus Content post! Six videos! Can you believe it? Keep feeling fascination, everybody!
1. Director: TheArtElaquare
Artist: Marina & The Diamonds
Song: “Teen Idle”
Is that cat real? We’d be lion if we said we were unimpressed by the presence of the King of Beasts. Photoshop or Rent-A-Critter? In addition to Simba, the judges were fairly floored by the seamless editing and sumptuous visual choices.
2. Producer: Smith Video Productions
Song: “Weight In Gold”
Powerhouse choreography and nimble camerawork are all you need to make a statement. Dancer Chaos Omnivox has enough power to light up a small country.
3. Producer: Anders Overgaard
Artist: Alan Walker
Love is a silly game… Until it isn’t. A surprisingly enjoyable romantic drama deftly rendered.
4. Producer: Ilker Toy
Song: “Down To The Cellar”
There’s definitely a vibrant international flavor this month, and Turkish scenarist Ilker Toy has no problem imagining a world of possibilities.
4. Producer: The Gurung Group
Song: “Know This Time”
Genuine poignancy is hard to pull off, but the Gurung Family (siblings?) makes it look easy in an artfully moving short from Nepal.
4. Producer: Silens Films/Oshin
Identity and familial conflict are prevalent themes in Unofficial Music Videos from anywhere on the planet. Figuring out how and where to put your best foot forward can take time.
Questions? Comments? Clarification? Send ’em our way! Nothing makes our day more than original correspondence from actual people. Call us crazy, but sorting out spam is a lonely business.
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!
Here we go, a fresh batch of UMV’s piping hot, straight from the oven.
We’re not April Fooling you, we’re still a little behind the times. These five videos came up tops for the month of April.
To briefly recap, five artists are honored, and the monthly high scorer may select a unique trophy or gift card as a testament to their skill and creativity. More about the awards.
And to our quintet of April video artists, well done!
1. Producer: Andrey Gorlachev
Song: “Sleep With My Enemies”
Wow! This cyber-surveillance creeper from Andrey Gorlachev eerily captures the times we live in, as mounting paranoia and a lack of privacy inspire outbreaks of desperate dance. Rich in detail and masterfully presented.
2. Producer: Jonathan Brent
Artist: Jai Paul
A near sensory overload as modern man, depicted here as a featureless mannequin, attempts to reboot the system. Moments of clarity are rudely jarred away.
3. Producer: Paula Averkamp
Artist: Patrick Watson
Memories or just a Virginia Woolf dream? Paula Averkamp’s cinematic Day at the Beach reverie is radiant and ravishing, with a bittersweet undercurrent of innocence lost.
4. Producer: Leon Falon
Artist: Aphex Twin
Song: “We Have Arrived”
Call it a barrage collage. A short circus, maybe. Anyone suffering from Seizure Disorder should look the other way.
5. Producer: Ginie’O
Song: “Skin and Bones”
A beautiful cache of Paris travelogue footage in the hands of Ginie’O tells a thousand stories at a thousand different tempos.
Thanks again on behalf of TikiKiti for the amazing gallimaufry of musical shorts. It is the wind beneath our wings.
Keep the videos flying!
As the quantity and complexity of Unofficial Music Videos continue to evolve right before our blinking eyes, the cats at TikiKiti want to ensure that proper attention is paid to the burgeoning ranks of creative artists that manage to blow us away on a daily basis.
Joseph Hyrkas directed the most recent video to take home the coveted TikiKiti Award for Excellence. Set to the song “Falls” by Odesza, Hyrkas has conjured an absorbing black-and-white reverie about love and loss.
The winning filmmaker was kind enough to answer a barrage of questions about his production, process, and past.
Can you tell us about your film and production background? Are you a pro, student, hobbyist?
Definitely not a hobbyist, not quite a pro, but certainly always a student.
I’m 30 years old and currently operate an independent videography/post production business out of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Most of my work affords me the opportunity to travel making music videos, promotionals, and commercials.
Describe your conceptual process in regards to the Odesza “Falls” video.
I start by creating a rule set with limitations, which I then cling to like a religious fanatic! The goal was to keep it simple, intimate, sincere, and emotional. In every single case I start with asking how and why.
How do I visually represent a character’s emotional state of mind that is cyclical, divisive, and potentially self-destructive? How do I interpret that through framing, movement, perspective, and editing patterns? What is dictating that cut?
If we do cut, whose perspective is it? The character’s or the viewer’s? When is it objective? When is it subjective and why? If any creative decision that follows can’t answer or support these questions, then it’s not worth pursuing.
Doing something “cool” for the sake of it often leads to dead ends. In my experience, having that crucial foundation in place helps free up an actor and helps them cross a chasm of confidence to lay their soul on display for all to view. At the end of the day, the question really should be, “did you feel anything watching it?”
I love the stark tones you get in the video. What inspired you to shoot in black and white?
I could say, “Well, color is emotion. Anyone that far down the emotional rabbit hole clearly wouldn’t see the world in color!” But in all honesty, the tight shooting schedule didn’t afford us the luxury of proper lighting and production uniformity.
These constraints backed us into B&W photography for simplicity’s sake. Deciding on that tranquil hue of B&W early in the process eliminated a whole slew of problems from the production.
What was your gear setup?
Another self-imposed limitation was to use very little gear for this project. No dolly, drones, toys or gadgets. Just a single BMC (rarely two for safety). Breaking out the occasional ND, LOW CON filter, tripod and available light. If we couldn’t make this work emotionally with one camera than we weren’t doing the job correctly.
I love the discipline of committing to a particular frame size and focal length. For post-production we used the always reliably buggy, but equally efficient ADOBE PREMIERE. The goal in post? Manipulate time, action and emotion like a rubber band. Compress when it’s convenient and contract when it’s necessary.
Who are some artists (any discipline) you admire or are inspired by and why?
I’m sure recently obsessing over [French-Canadian filmmaker] Denis Villeneuve [Sicario, Blade Runner 2049], and his devastating masterpiece Incendies (2011) didn’t dissuade me at all. If you haven’t seen it I insist you drop everything and watch it now.
In this case, I was certainly taking my marching orders from storytellers who are not afraid to squeeze mileage out of seemingly mundane situations. Reynolds Woodcock ordering that absurd breakfast in Phantom Thread, anyone?
Do you have any sage advice for the young and hopeful?
I can only preach what has worked for me. All I can say is maintain vigilance, persistence, and patience, followed by more patience. Make every single mistake you can imagine, you’ll still be alive at the end of the day. Tell a story only you can tell. And while you’re at it stick to your intuition.
If you find yourself having conversations about what other people may think, just know deep down that it if means something emotionally to you it will mean something for others. Creative Darwinism will win out. Chic and fashionable will not. Never ever chase trends because something is in vogue. It’s not about world domination, start by making people “feel” first.