Do you shoot spontaneously? How do you decide where you’re going to film – do you travel around looking for locations or are these part of the fabric of your everyday life?
I rarely shoot spontaneously. I don’t do well when I shoot spontaneously. It’s mostly after location scouting (via Google maps/earth), meticulous trip planning and weather watching that I’ll go out to shoot.
I look for settings that are rich with detail and am usually drawn towards those that aren’t so aseptic or where I otherwise might find interesting lighting. I’ve filmed in and around the area I live in on the south side of Chicago but I’ve also ventured into areas of the city that I was wholly unfamiliar with. Filming gave me a reason to explore the city in a way I hadn’t before and usually I will return to locations until I’ve captured the right impression of that location.
The filming feels organic as if you just came across this scene while walking around the city – and yet the atmosphere suits the stillness of Hammock’s music perfectly. Please tell us how the filming came about, where was it shot, what it was shot on. It’s capsulated the past harsh winter perfectly.
I really like Hammock’s music and James Covill at Hungryman in London asked me who I’d like to shoot a video for and before I knew it I was confirmed to shoot their next video for Tornado Warning.
I began filming late last fall, shooting throughout the winter all over the city. I initially set out to explore neglected areas of the city but as time went on and I filmed for weeks on end, I struggled to capture the theme I had in mind and decided to reset and start over.
Soon after, a large fire erupted in a vacant warehouse not far from where I live. For two days, I filmed the action, as firefighters battled to control the fire that in the process created a thick layer of ice over the brick facade of the building, from as many angles as I could access before being told to leave.
The scene was, apart from impressive, somewhat melancholic as here was one building of many in a row of long vacant, anonymous, and undisturbed relics of an economically buoyant era and there it was naked and exposed in the throws of utter destruction by both fire and ice in the dead of winter. It instantly became the centerpiece of the video.
I shot with a 5D2 in natural light. Initially, I met Carlos Lowenstein at the Whitehouse Editors here in Chicago who offered key advice regarding the pace and style of the edit and between us we created the structure of the edit.
Hammock, Tornado Warning
Director: Ivan Villafuerte
Production company: Hungry Man
Editor: Carlos Lowenstein, Whitehouse, Chicago