Theoretically, it’s Christmas. Now that’s a great song title.
Icebergs are melting, the waters are rising, and there’s a nasty bug going around the office. So let’s bundle up with a hot drink and watch this month’s pageant of Unofficial Music Videos, lovingly created by creative types just like you.
TikiKiti is the place where we rate, curate, and bloviate over videos on a monthly basis, and present the Barclay Trophy to the amateur visual artist with the most promise.
Let’s unwrap our Top Five toys for December.
1. Producer: Tanya Kostadinova
Artist: Boney M
Song: “Daddy Cool”
Bright lights, big city, and girls having naughty fun at a peep show and psychedelic carnival. Tanya Kostadinova conveys megawatts of sustainable energy with editing that writhes like a second skin to an insidiously bouncy pop tune.
2. Producer: Jeff Scher
Artist: Inventing Fire
Utilizing an assortment of animation techniques and effects, producer Jeff Scher explores the allure of the open road, and captures the joy of leaving wreckage (emotional and otherwise) in the rearview.
3. Producer: Vipul Devrani
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
One of the symptoms of being a hardcore Billie Eilish fan is the overwhelming desire to dance in a haunted house. Exorcise the creeps right out of your life and take control.
4. Producer: Corban Phillips
Artist: Tenth Avenue North
When you’re in high school, the need for peer approval can be a necessary evil that seemingly dogs your every step. And everywhere you go—there you are.
5. Producer: Laura Shi & John Huang
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
More friends are buried. The Eilish song acts as a banishment incantation to our own worst tendencies. Spoiler alert: The devil whispering in your ear is you.
This month, it seems the common ground we’re finding is ourselves. Who are we, and do we always have our own best interests at heart? Should we drive away temptation or simply recognize that we occasionally seek the darkness, despite advice from the better angels of our nature?
Getting to the heart of the artist can be a bumpy ride, so buckle up. There be monsters.
“But one lesson I have learned/It’s not to trust you when my back is turned/So don’t be phonin’ tellin’ me you’re blue/cos’ baby I suffer, too/When the night falls/When the night falls.”
Traditionally, this is the time of year that we give thanks for still being here, fogging the mirrors on Planet Earth, the only home we’ve ever known.
It’s a place where visionaries, sullen teens, posh private school kids, and emerging artists from all over the map send us Unofficial Music Videos for perusal and possible praise.
That’s basically it. On a monthly basis, usually rooted in the recent past, we award the Barclay Trophy to the budding auteur whose work knocks our collective socks off.
So without further ado, our Top Five for November.
1. Producer: Ross Reinier
Artist: Gary Clark Jr
Song: “Come Together”
Now this is editing you can dance to! Precision cuts combined with a gnarly rock ‘n’ roll insurrection demonstrates the power of attitude over authoritarianism. We see an emboldened youth culture given a glam makeover by director Ross Reinier. If the kids are united, we will never be divided.
2. Producer: Sean Corbin
Artist: The Struts
Song: “Body Talks”
Great casual choreography and loads of editing flair! It’s a credit to producer Sean Corbin that the video flows like water, never once pausing for breath. This, kids, is showbiz with all the requisite snap, crackle, and pop.
3. Producer: Megan Lang
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “You Should See Me In A Crown”
Our heroine uses secret mystic woman powers to cast off her oppressors—lousy boyfriends, mansplainers, dirty old men—and takes a victory lap. Billie Eilish continues to serve as the patron saint of the Emerging Young Female Empowerment genre.
4. Producer: Kazuhiko Hiromaki
Song: “Namu Amitibul”
Managing to be both austere and vibrant isn’t easy but this one pulls it off. The mood and sound shifts gracefully from surface world sensations to inner turmoil freakout, and it really builds exquisitely.
5. Producer: Latymer Media
Artist: Oli Orson
Song: “Dance With Me Tonight”
Hey kids, let’s put on a show! Can we call this “adorkable” and leave it at that?
More than ever, our video offerings are reflecting the tension and stress that’s become the new normal. And when you can no longer deal with all the hate, corruption, and lies that rain down like a manure typhoon?
You take action and “come together” as we see in the first video. Or dance like there’s no tomorrow—because there may not be.
“Fashion, their vampire/drapes itself across your back/as you fall from style/it waits rebirth on its rack.”
Boo! Did I scare you? It’s Halloween month on the ol’ TikiKiti blog site, but in reality, Christmas is fast approaching. The only solution to this nonlinear dilemma is to drop what you’re doing and watch Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas as soon as possible.
Since it’s theoretically October, it only makes sense that this month’s slate of Unofficial Music Videos are bookended by horror-themed projects.
As always, hopeful contestants from every nation are recognized for outstanding achievement in video artistry with the presentation of the Barclay Trophy to our top vote-getter each month.
1. Producer: Bhai Log/Team Transformerz
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
Ubiquitous Yankee pop star Billie Eilish provides the accompaniment to this delirious dancing zombie vignette from India. A simple story about three pals exploring a haunted house can be interpreted any number of ways, mostly as variations on “Curiosity Killed the Cat” or the danger of wandering too far from “the path.” Supernatural naturalism?
2. Producer: Pezhmann Mokary
Artist: Federico Truzzi
A nameless female protagonist shuffles through another dehumanizing, black-and-white commute only to end up at the sea, screaming her lungs out. Then the scene shifts to a more positive outlook, shot in color, that has a surreal, dreamlike quality. Never abandon those dreams; they might be the only thing keeping you sane.
3. Producer: Andrii Gusarov
Song: “L’aérogramme de Los Angeles”
The dazzling choreography, thoughtful art direction, and dexterous camera work combine to paint a picture of how daily distractions and commitments can not only keep us apart geographically from those we love, but also preoccupied when we’re supposed to be present.
4. Producer: Morgan Oliver-Allen
This assemblage of footage is fairly inspired, tracking the conception and evolution of the Burning Man festival, interspersed with loving, longing looks from its participants. Lightning bolts of creativity are palpable and bright.
5. Producer: Jack Harriss/Michael Cox
Song: “Dance With Me”
Another retelling of Frankenstein, this one set to an EDM soundtrack. Once again, a Narcissistic doctor is done in by his own creation. Full of hubris and the desire to play God, Dr. F doesn’t realize he’s created a being that has no desire to serve—only dance.
This month’s videos definitely have a cinematic quality to them, with the focus on a “bigger” story than time or budget allows. We encourage everyone to reach for the stars, but at the same time, be careful not to create a monster you can’t control.
“The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold/
I see your lips, the summer kisses/The sun-burned hands I used to hold.
Since you went away the days grow long/And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song/But I miss you most of all, my darling/When autumn leaves start to fall.”
I’m reminded of the REM song “Fall On Me” as I gaze out the window at the autumn foliage burning nuclear bright on a chilly day. The radiance is searing a hole in my skull, but I won’t let that little challenge get in the way of unveiling September’s collection of Unofficial Music Videos.
1. Producer: Kevin Bodin
Song: “Rue D’la Soif”
Much like the Beastie Boys declaring their rights to party, these hard-drinking French bohemians are prepared to throw down in a major way. With a utopian eye to the future, in which all cultures can come together and get equally hammered, Parisian filmmaker Kevin Bodin takes us on a sumptuous safari to where the people make merry. I’m thinking this is why we need a four-day work week in America.
2. Producer: Ido Fruchter
Artist: Asaf Avidan & The Mojos
Song: “The Ghost of a Thousand Little Lies”
Director Ido Fruchter, a student from Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, has successfully fashioned a marvelous miniature dystopian drama that depicts learning and knowledge as a painful process. This is especially true when your world view expands to the point of including other people.
3. Producer: RaveHad
Artist: Brad Head
Song: “In My Head”
I assumed the filmmaker was trying to evoke a noir, Lou Reed/Tom Waits street action vibe, but then I noticed that RaveHad hails from Russia, so that makes it even more menacing and cool.
4. Producer: PK Humble
Artist: Rag’N’Bone Man
Somewhere in Thailand, another anguished teen sorts out his feelings by walking around at night. As a coping device it’s recognized the world over as an effective remedy. Again, we have moody black and white imagery revealing a world without love or pity. You had to find out eventually, son.
5. Producer: Phoebe Gibson
Song: “Every Other Freckle”
It’s possible these English kids are taking acid for the first time, but a more likely theory is that they are extra-terrestrials trying on their human suits and getting in touch with the flesh. Blood and guts, we’ve all got ’em. What a concept!
So this month we’ve heard from France, England, the Russian Federation, Israel, and Thailand. At TikiKiti we’re spanning the globe to bring you the best in music video entertainment, in an effort to share our similarities, rather than fear our differences.
“Walk out of any doorway/Feel your way like the day before/Maybe you’ll find direction/Around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you.”
As the world gets stranger than fiction every single day, we’re reporting to you from a nearby timeline where things have stabilized considerably. The turbulence in the rest of the universe is pretty severe at the moment, probably having something to do with the Age of Aquarius rising at the same time as the lost continent of Atlantis.
In less cataclysmic news, we have a dandy new collection of Unofficial (though no less compelling) Music Videos made by folks remarkably like yourself, hailing from all points Rand-McNally, and competing for the hotly contested Barclay Award for Excellence in Independent Video Arts. Here now, are August’s Top Five videos.
1. Producer: Derek Newman
Artist: Françoise Hardy
Song: “Comment Te Dire, Adieu?”
Not much to say here, other than “Bravo.” Derek Newman deliciously blends cheek, horror, and lampoonery to sensational effect. Ladies, these savage self-improvement steps are the ticket to a better, more beautiful you. Available now, at the low introductory price of your mortal soul!
2. Producer: Living Legends Productions
Song: “Hillbilly Man”
It’s a Close Encounter of the Doll Kind! This Toytown take on alien abduction appealed to our appreciation of low-budget filmmaking, alá Ed Wood and Todd Haynes.
You know, the lamestream media never reports this stuff. Ken and Barbie dolls go missing all the time. Remember when they were everywhere? So where did they all go?
3. Producer: Macstermix
Artist: Flora Cash
Song: “You’re Somebody Else”
A beautifully assembled sequence of iPhone footage that paints a deeply intimate emotional landscape. Remember: The way we see the world is our most important piece of technology.
4. Producer: Hedyy
Song: “Your Own Company”
The commute home from work is the best time of day to relax and enjoy the abstraction. Is it magic realism or simply the cumulative fatigue of being overworked and underpaid? Let’s go with the more benign option, shall we?
5. Producer: Trevor Black
Artist: Lewis Capaldi
Song: “Someone You Loved”
A dude murders his wife with a kitchen knife and is subsequently haunted by bloody visions. Considering the conscience of a killer is a bold choice, but I would have preferred the original ending in which the protagonist is stung to death by hornets over the course of several hours.
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? The only way things get better is if enough people are inspired to take positive action. So let’s get busy and inspire!
“I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine/I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine/We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.”
In the real world, summer has zenithed and is now packing its bags, while the rain can’t wait to get us wet. Inevitably, warmth gives way to autumn’s chill and selecting a wardrobe becomes a daily challenge. Wear a hat, because you lose most of your body heat from an uncovered noggin.
Once again we come bearing a bounty of Unofficial Music Videos from the far reaches of the globe, all competing for the highly coveted Barclay Award for Excellence in Independent Video Arts.
1. Producer: Toey PPS
Artist: Arianna Grande
Thai teen turns typical trauma into an astounding array of color-coded visuals. Supple editing, a committed performance, and imaginative art direction carry this video to the July winner’s circle.
2. Producer: Melanie Murcie
Artist: Soul Kitchen
Song: “L’ombre De Ton Amour”
Female empowerment saves the day, as an angry activist slaps down a pimp, steals his roll, and liberates women from the sex trade. It’s kind of like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” but with booze, cigarettes, and violence.
3. Producer: Stephany Valdivia + Mathew Huerta
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
A thoughtful collage approach works wonders with the words and worlds of Billie Eilish, an artist with a lot on her mind. Can introverts be popular?
4. Producer: Noedesu
Sometimes we can’t trust our senses and running a self-inventory check can be pure torture. It’s a simple concept, but painted with raw, honest colors.
5. Producer: Entropique
Artist: Zero 7
Song: “Morning Song”
The apocalypse is on everyone’s mind these days. What will you wear? Can you make yourself useful in a survival situation? A scavenger rifles through remnants of societal detritus, searching for substance and meaning. Hey, we’re all in the same boat!
Global concerns weigh heavy on each of us, and it’s imperative that we sort through our own emotions, keeping whatever’s necessary, and jettisoning the baggage. Your videos are like messages in a bottle, hope and community kept alive despite trying circumstances. Creation is the key—and it will set you free.
“When Miss Moon lays down/And Sir Sun stands up/Me I’m found floating round and round/Like a bug in brandy/In this big bronze cup/Drowning here in summer’s cauldron.”
Summer vay-kay is here, and, much as it pains us to crawl from the hammock, making sure not to spill a precariously perched Bloody Mary, we have indeed returned to share nectar from our voluminous video flower patch.
How’s the weather where you are? Here at TikiKiti HQ (let me just bring up the satellite view) the forecast is topical with a chance of pain, followed by darkness when the sun goes down.
You may have noticed two months worth of awards in this post. Since we tend to get fewer submissions during these balmy summer days, we’re really doing our best to keep our inventory fresh and up to date. So while the boss is paragliding in Paraguay, it’s up to you and me to separate the wheat from the chaff.
For this installment, we have two winning videos, the first is for May and the second for June. Congratulations to both artists for superior work. Keep your eyes peeled for the arrival of the mailman bearing your Barclay Trophy.
1. Producer: Will Lucas
Artist: Arianna Grande
We were fooled along with everyone else! What opens as a simple meet-cute bit of romantic fluff, evolves into cloak-and-dagger escapades and intrigue. Very robust visual storytelling and sensible use of metaphor imagery, e.g., mousetraps, fishing lures, board games.
2. Producer: Kathryn Jankowski
Artist: Solomon Wilbur
Song: “Show Me Love”
More suppressed female rage is unleashed as a trio of overworked paper-pushers try to smash through the glass ceiling while simultaneously realizing their jobs pretty much suck. That’s a powerfully unsettling message.
3. Producer: RaymondisLazy
Artist: Mac Miller
Mesmerizing and provocative travel imagery of Bangkok set to Mac Miller’s moody beats and subdued soul crooning. Both big pictures and little pictures are worth equal time.
4. Producer: Ryuuzaki NL
Artist: Billie Eilish
Song: “Bury A Friend”
You didn’t really think we’d get through an entire round of videos without hearing from Billie Eilish, did you? She’s everywhere! The choreography bristles with vitality despite the obvious lack of precision.
5. Producer: Mikel Arraiz
Artist: Neon Palms
Song: “Kiss Me Malibu”
And finally, how about a gorgeously filmed but feverishly grotesque examination of mating rituals and the cultures that foster them as a necessary evil. Like we don’t have enough to worry about!
Until next time, campers! Keep those creative candles burning.
“Voilà voilà, c’est finalement fini!”
Who knew we were so big in France? Paris filmmaker Kevin Bodin is the most recent Barclay Trophy winner for his superb video, “Les Cours Des Lycées” by Saez. So let’s meet him.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Kevin Bodin. I have been an independent video maker for five years.
I studied video editing. I am fond of music and cinema, since my youngest age. I am a self-taught director. I come from the South of France but I have been living in Paris for seven years now.
Are you a professional?
I am doing my best to be as professional as possible! My particularity is to be versatile and to hold several positions during the making of my movies.
A small crew accompanies me on a few projects that require artificial lights or big labour. But I am by myself most of the time from the writing of the screenplay to the post-production. It is obsessional, I like to keep a tight rein on my work from start to finish.
What gear do you use?
I generally shoot with a Panasonic GH5 and fixed focal-length lenses. I like light equipment. I usually do the editing on DaVinci Resolve.
We get videos from all over the planet, and it seems as if troubled, sullen teens are universal. Are music videos an effective forum for experiencing the lives of people from different cultures?
Uneasiness is universal, and I think cinema and video play an essential part to change things in depths… Or at least to better understand the world around us… Or simply to feel less lonely.
Can you share some of your notes on the production of “Les Cours Des Lycées” in terms of theme and narrative?
I have very few notes. I prepare a lot beforehand and then I improvise a lot during the shooting.
What sort of feeling were you hoping to evoke?
Melancholia is the feeling that inspires me the most… The dark side of things… It represents a part of the truth of the existence. A part into which I like to look deeper… I also want to denounce and defend in my movies. I like to make other people feel the emotions that I feel myself every day. It gives me the impression that I am sharing a little bit of myself, of my way to communicate.
Do you have any near-future production projects or plans?
Yes! Surprise! Two radically different clips! One will be out in September and the other should be out in November.
Kevin was kind enough to send us some of his other video creations. And we look forward to much more!
“I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/For the crime of having no dough/Now here I am back out on the street/For the crime of having nowhere to go.”
Glad to have you back for another trip around the video Mulberry Bush with our five top-shelf entries from April. Did you get your taxes done? I tried to tell the IRS that no one was interested in seeing my taxes, but we’re still miles apart on that subject.
This month’s Top Five includes impressive work from France, Thailand, and Indonesia, proving once again that teen angst transcends all borders and timelines.
As you are no doubt aware, the top finisher for the month will collect the esteemed Barclay Award for Excellence in Video Arts. If you’re a past winner, why don’t you send us a snap of the trophy perched majestically on the mantle in your lovely home? Besides, we hardly ever hear from you except for Christmas and birthdays!
1. Producer: Kevin Bodin Films
Song: “Les Cours Des Lycées”
Oh, thank heavens it was all just a dream. The denim-vest wearing French protagonist is executed by a disappointed girlfriend for the crime of being lame. The assured craftsmanship exhibited in Kevin Bodin Films’ provocative production is faultless and hypnotic.
2. Producer: Unlocked Films
Song: “In Cold Blood”
Another stylistic knock-out from Barclay Award winner Jesse Locke and the Unlocked Films team. A true Battle of the Titans plays out before our unbelieving eyes, somehow combining Tarantino, Italian opera, and big-time wrassling to full blooming effect.
3. Producer: Dino Squirrel
Artist: New York Dolls
Song: “Stranded in the Jungle”
Superb animation welded to a tasty tune. Pro-level moves from Dino Squirrel, and we look forward to more.
4. Producer: Pond TR
Song: “Be There”
What begins as pop video confection turns apocalyptic and deeply personal—a father worries that he can’t keep his daughter safe in this touching tale from Thailand.
5. Producer: Riki Sodikin
Song: “Caught In The Middle”
Deceptively and sweetly simple, this Indonesian entry radiates the unbridled joy of creativity. Finding your joy is the key to unlocking it all.
My apologies to Marie Kondo, but she’s definitely on to something.
Oh man, are you a sight for sore eyes. Hope springs eternal and with winter safely in the rearview mirror, we salute the return of the sun with another batch of Grandma’s delicious, homemade Unofficial Music Videos. There’s milk in the fridge.
The Top Five entires for the month of March are currently six in number, with a tie for fifth between equally deserving artists. Some may call it Bonus Content, but we prefer to think of it as Added Value. In any case, the online branding course is clearly paying off, big time.
Reminder: The top finisher for the month will receive the fabled Barclay Award for Excellence in Video Arts. Because trophies make it official!
1. Producer: Nicole Adams
Artist: Quinn XCII & Kailee Morgue
Song: “What The Hell Happened To Us?”
From the opening credits to the last shot, it’s a flawless narrative continuum. The lip-synch is tight as a drum and every detail is correctly styled and executed.
2. Producer: Tae Ahn
Artist: Faye Wong
Song: “Chu Lu”
Needless to say, it’s very difficult to take random footage and visualize it into a larger context. Quite often, this sort of thing is a jumble of images that never come together. Tae Ahn’s Vérité video feels charming, intimate, and fun.
3. Producer: Mahir Saeed
Song: “Way Down We Go”
A sharply rendered crisis of culture and conscience by Mahir Saeed. The idea of having to live with the choices we’ve made can be rough sledding for some.
4. Producer: Redstone Army
Male sports fantasies never die and they exist seemingly regardless of cultural differences. Sometimes we need to be a hero, even in our own minds.
5. Producer: Guernsey Media
Another mercurial teenage girl wonders about her identity and romantic prospects in this fanciful bit of video introspection. Always remember, there is a diva inside every cocoon.
5. Producer: Peter Ghaly
Song: “Way Back Home”
A cinematic exercise filmed in both color and black and white, as the young protagonist faces a choice between moving forward into the unknown or death by stagnation.
Therein lies a lesson for all of us: It’s better to move forward and discover something new, rather then rest in your own nest and wait for the hate. And with that final challenge, we leave you.