• Oliver $ & Jimi Jules, Pushing On directed by Ian Robertson

Thursday 31st Jul

Pushing on pushing up

Director Ian Robertson's fastidious animation work won awards, now he turns up the heat with this simple, street-cast film shot out of LA

Simple and stunning… Was this an idea on the back burner?

No, the idea was written bespoke for the track. The lyrical content meant the video had to be about endurance so I imagined a man spending a lifetime dancing on the spot. I loved the simplicity and repetition in the track so I wanted to capture this in the video. I’ve never made something so simple, so this project was scary uncharted territory for me, but I’m thrilled with the results.

What were the most challenging aspects of the production?

Casting was tricky. We shot in LA so we had access to an abundance of acting talent but we had to street cast our oldest man. We found him in McDonalds with friends the day before the shoot. He agreed and said “pick me up from McDonalds tomorrow”. To our relief he appeared on set the next day and we said “Quentin, so pleased you’re here!” and he said “To be honest, I totally forgot about the shoot. I’m 92, I have no memory”. Luckily for us he goes to McDonalds every day!

I always seem to write treatments featuring children and animals (there was meant to be a stray dog do in this video) and they NEVER perform the way you want and they certainly didn’t in this, mainly because of the heat.

Please don’t tell me it was shot green screened in a studio. So where was the location?

We shot near Palmdale about an hour from Los Angeles. It looks stunning but it was unbearably hot – near 40°C – at times I wished we were in a green screen studio! The cast and crew were incredible, the conditions didn’t phase them. This was my second job in LA – I absolutely love the way people work over there; there’s so much enthusiasm and talent.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Interestingly the whole video was meant to be a single wide frame. For a number of reasons this didn’t work out so we had to use close-ups we shot as back-up. I’ve grown to really like this version now.

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