• Loading...
  • Loading...
7th July 2020
Queer Pressure
Title of film: Rodney Chrome, Pulpit
Director: Zachary Dov Wiesel
They’re still students and they’re brilliant. Just take a look at musician Rodney Chrome and filmmaker Zachary Dov Wiesel’s videos that explore the experience of growing up as a queer black man in America. Crafted on a shoestring with heaps of collaborative imagination. We like a lot. Here, we catch up with the New York-based Australian director

Credit: Rhianydd Hylton

What were the initial conversations like between you and the artist?

Before we even knew what songs we were going to make a video for Rodney and I would have long discussions about exactly who is Rodney Chrome. We spent a lot of time just talking about specifically Rodney’s experience as a queer black man growing up in America. I really wanted to spend especially the early stages of creating these music videos listening. Rodney put so much heart and care into the album and I felt a responsibility to do the same.

 

Credit: Eric Hart jr.

Was there something in your portfolio that led Rodney Chrome to you? Or have you collaborated beforehand?

We actually both go to NYU but are in different degrees. Last year by chance we took the same general education class without knowing each other. Around halfway through the semester, we started talking for the first time and we ended up getting lunch right after class together. We just really connected and by the end of the week, I would be in the studio with Rodney listening to his album that he was working on at that time, Queer Pressure. 

Back then I only had one other music video out then. There was something really genuine and special with how we first connected. You would have to ask Rodney what he saw in me though because I’m not quite sure…

 

Credit: Rhianydd Hylton

Both films are classy, styley, and packed full of crazy ass ideas. What was the creative process like?

Rodney and I used a lot of references throughout the whole creative process. We had hundreds of texts between us of just sharing music videos, photos, and Pinterest boards. We were very lucky that we had a couple of months where we could just develop ideas and I could let the songs simmer in my mind. It was a very collaborative process.

 

Credit: Eric Hart jr.

 

Did you detail everything in pre-production or was it more a matter of shooting scenarios and the narratives coming together in the edit?

Yeah, I had very specific lookbooks for both songs that broke the videos down to a second by second play. The sequence where I think I had the most freedom in the edit would have to be the opening in Pulpit, other than that I already had a pretty strong idea about where I was going to cut everything together.

What were the most challenging aspects of the productions?

The limited resources. We had to shoot both music videos on a very small budget and over one weekend. Really thankful for having an amazing team behind the project including the producer Shuni Chopra Dhar and the production designer Lauren Nicola who really made these two videos come together. It was a lot of Ubering equipment from one location to another.

The limited budget did really force us to be more creative though. We decided to shoot the opening scenes in Pulpit with flashlights due to time and budget restraints and I love how that turned out.

 

Credit: Eric Hart jr.

Where have you been based during the pandemic? Has it been a frustrating or inspiring time for you?

I am currently back home in Australia. I think frustrating is a good word to describe this time. I’ve been focusing on watching a lot and finding inspiration. Although creating is hard right now. It’s a good excuse to watch a lot of movies.

 

Zachary Dov Wiesel on set in New York                                            Credit: Eric Hart jr.

Anything surprising you’ve learnt about yourself?

I’m full of surprises.

What was your background that led you to directing?

It was the only thing I felt I was good at a young age. Then it grew into an obsession or coping mechanism; either way it works for me.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yeah. Keep an eye out for Rodney Chrome. He is about to make some big waves in the world. And stream Queer Pressure.

 

Credit: Rhianydd Hylton 

Links:

Zachary Dov Weisel

Instagram:

Stills photography:

Eric Hart jr. @erichhartjr

Rhianydd Hylton @rrrhia

Credits

Rodney Chrome, Pulpit

 

Concept: Zachary Dov Wiesel & Rodney Chrome

Director: Zachary Dov Wiesel
DoP: Shane Bagwell
Producer: Shuni Chopra Dhar
Co-Producer/Line Producer: Adrian Sobrado
Assistant Director: Gabby Zhong
Production Designer: Lauren Nicola
Art Assistant: Cara Griffin
Gaffer: Joel Kaswan
Key Grip: Crispin Tan
Grip: Daniel Wilson
1st AC: Hrishi Bardhan
Hair: Ms. Angel T
Costume Designer: Ece Ecranli
Make-up: Aria Grasso
Titles: Ariel Kader
Foley: Sam Clegg
Editor: Zachary Dov Wiesel
Colorist: Dayle Chen

ENSEMBLE:

Markelle Jones
Noble Zahairagunn
Humayun ‘Sulliefacts’ Choudhury
Somatrist
Elijah Ryder
Tymothee Harrell
Devin LaShawn
Trajen Lee Johnson
Adham McGuire
Isaac Boateng
Mathew Manswell
Ojobayo Lyons

Mom: Kim Anderson
Young Rodney: Klaus Vallie

Choreography: Rodney Chrome
Dancers: Brandon Trent & Gregg Sainvilus

Special Thanks: Grace Winters & Josh Sheehan

 

Rodney Chrome, 5 Starz

Story By: Zachary Dov Wiesel & Rodney Chrome

Director: Zachary Dov Wiesel
DoP: Shane Bagwell
Producer: Shuni Chopra Dhar
Co-Producer/Line Producer: Adrian Sobrado
Assistant Director: Gabby Zhong
Production Designer: Lauren Nicola
Art Assistant: Cara Griffin
Gaffer: Josh Sheehan
Key Grip: Nathan Ginter
Grip: Daniel Wilson
1st AC: Hrishi Bardhan
Hair: Ms. Angel T
Costume Designer: Ece Ecranli
Make-up: Aria Grasso
Titles: Ariel Kader
Foley: Sam Clegg
Colorist: Dayle Chen

Cast:

Butler: Bill Mcandrews
Guest: Justice Jamal Jones
Rodney As Himself
Friend 1: Agasha Irving
Friend 2: Tymothee Harell
Friend 3: Daniel Wilson
Friend 4: Shuni Dhar
Friend 5: Alyse Leah
Friend 6: Robert Tenenbaum