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18th May 2015
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Title of film: Tristesse Contemporaine, Hitchhiker
Director: Ada Bligaard Søby
Production Company: Bacon
How Ada Bligaard Søby's film became a music video that captured the heart and spirit of being on the road in California

How did your film Hitchhiker evolve?

I wanted to explore wanderlust in a semi-post-apocalyptic landscape, and along the way hit hints of hedonism in regards to our wasteful relationships towards everything, plus, abandoned erotica found its way in there as well.

I had shot similar scenes of young kids hitchhiking on volcano fields on Iceland and on the hills of Denmark previously to the Los Angeles part, but in the editing room the LA material took on its own life together with the brilliant track, I Didn’t Know, by Parisian trio Tristesse Contemporaine.

Hitchhiker was shot over three days in Los Angeles and near the Salton Sea, California during August last year.

Interesting cast, how did you go about finding them?

The cast was more or less friends, or were found on the street.

Andrew – one of the cast members – was a 20-year old ex-Marine whom my producer found at the skatepark in Venice Beach who had just returned from the war in Afghanistan.

Alexandru was an 18-year old drifter who came down from San Diego, and we found Angel on a website called something like Amputee Actors.

Angel was way too pretty for the part, but her elevated spirit – and her half missing arm – merged into the concept of a story of the elegant disaster that is a one-armed hitchhiker. It made it impossible to shoot Hitchhiker without her and made everything else irrelevant.

Aaron Frankel, the man making out / fighting with the mysterious woman was my hardest hang in LA that summer. He was a master at clearing locations and finding the best illegal freeway entrance spots. We more than once picked him up to go location scouting and brain storming ideas from his job redesigning the garden in the house where Charles Manson had killed Sharon Tate.

Aaron also introduced me to Ivory – the woman doing gardening in the video – at a pool party in Hollywood a week before the shoot. She is a clairvoyant with a high profile clientele and offered kindly to help me on the video, and we later became friends and I have also been enlightened by her vision of the future. Yet, I have to say that we were involved in a crash in our rental van with an 18-wheeler that she did not see coming.

The styling was divided between San Francisco stylist Leah Martin who owns the vintage shop, NO – and LA stylist Natasha Newman-Thomas who took me to the AMC studios wardrobe warehouse the size of a hangar and together we binged in the homeless hobo section.

Did you collaborate with a familiar crew?

We ran the production out of my best friend Brian Lee Hughes’ house in Silverlake, he owns Castleface Records and the newly opened gallery SADE in Los Angeles, and is an expert in hospitality, and giggling. It was produced by Ryan Curtis and shot by DOP Jeremy Peele – both bright new comers in the LA movie business from the state of Georgia.

Credits

Director: Ada Bligaard Søby

Production company: Bacon

Producer:  Ryan Curtis

DOP: Jeremy Peele