What was behind your decision to shoot The Libertine with Patrick Wolf considering that the track was released several years ago?
This is actually a new rendition of the old track he did for a recent album that revisits his work of the past 10 years. It was always one of my favourites, so it was such a gift to be able to go back in time and revisit this one with him.
Did you make the film in reaction to Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws?
This video was actually developed around November of 2012 when there was some heavy shit going on against the LGBT community in Uganda. The majority of the coverage on what’s been going on in Russia hadn’t really broken yet, but there was definitely a buzz of evil as per usual.
I was recently in Russia and am working on a short doc video on gay Russian youth at the moment. Patrick has also had a strong presence and connection with his Russian audience. This felt like the right time to release it. With the support of Madonna and her Art For Freedom project, it seemed like the opportune time to have it seen by as many as possible for greatest impact.
Having come from the commercials world, I’ve been outspoken about my boycott of any projects connected to the Olympics and working with brands on spots specific to Sochi. Hopefully projects like this and a few others I’ve got ready for the coming weeks will slightly offset those directors and production companies who casually produce without conscience.
Did you collaborate closely with the musician in developing the narrative and style of the film?
It was a very close and ongoing collaboration! My boyfriend, Jannis Birsner, and freqeunt producer of my more left-field work, was in the midst of developing a film and photography series called VITIUM CONTRA NATURAM. Most of it is still unreleased for a future book project and film series, but at the time we had actually just shot this: https://cargocollective.com/dielamb/Vitium-Contra-Naturam
When I linked up with Patrick, he had been exploring ideas of youth militancy and martyrdom and what one must go through to convince themselves to give up their lives for something they believe in. This added a heavy layer that could sit beneath visual ideas we were really excited about.
Patrick then brought on his long-time collaborator, art director and stylist, David Motta, to develop a world deep with subtle subtexts. The goal was to keep the narrative as simple as possible, but load it with visual symbolism. Even the flag was designed by Patrick Wolf and Chris Bianchi of Bare Bones / LeGun.
There’s a richness in tone and sensuality – where did you shoot it, and on what? Did you use natural lighting as much as possible?
I worked with one of my regular Berlin collaborators, DOP Cezary Zacharewicz. He’s been my partner on most of my projects for the past year and we’ve learned how to work with low and available light due to logistical and budgetary restraints. We shot in a small bar/hang out space in Neukölln, Berlin called The Zone. This one was shot on the Canon C300 with just a couple Kinos for the performance section. Big thanks to Greg at The Mill LA for bringing out the best in our footage as well!
1.4: See also Mike Buonaiuto’s video for the Lovealwayswins campaign