We absolutely love the video for Besides April – it’s like stepping into a psychedelic fever dream! The brief from the band sounds quite vague – ‘they wanted to do something around horses and equestrians’ – how did you work together to flesh that out into a creative concept?
Thank you! So happy that you liked it. The brief was fairly open, yes (like all the best ones). BADBADNOTGOOD wanted to do something with horse dressage. Which was where this begun. As I looked into it, I found horse dressage very formal. The horses felt really disciplined and controlled which I honestly struggled to fit with all the track. So that’s where I chose to explore the horse in many forms. And really wanted to build this feeling of the horse being the protagonist. Something that everyone was chasing. A really beautiful horse that wants to get away from us horrible humans…
The first-ever film footage from 1878, Horse in Motion, was a strong source of inspiration for the video, but we’re also reminded of Edvard Munch’s horses. Tell us more about the visual and filmic references you drew on?
Yes, as a kid I had a toy, a metal wheel which you could spin. Through a small frame you would see the Horse in Motion. I was fascinated with it. I love it because the history and the visual potential for metamorphosis of a character – layers and layers that can morph into something else.
The stories and mythical characters of horses in Greek Mythology were a huge inspiration.
I wanted the horse to become something surreal, intangible like they do in many myths and legends.
Harold Eggerton photos were an inspiration.
Duplication being a theme, I also looked at tiktok challenges. There is this one where people will duplicate themselves while they dance which I found so entertaining to watch. It’s great.
You’ve admitted to being terrified of horses, but there’s no sense of that in the final film, it’s an incredible tribute to a horse’s power and beauty. How did you deal with your fear during production? Was that the most challenging aspect of the shoot for you?
As a child I was thrown of a horse quite violently and ended up in hospital for a while. I do remember that, as I was driven off in an ambulance, that the horse in question looked incredible sad and apologetic. I can remember the look in its eye.
I didn’t get back on the horse, as you are meant to, so alas I don’t love being super close to them.
But I didn’t really need to. Max Pittner, the DP did. I kept a safe distance.
The most challenging aspect was the prep. The cuts in the film where all completely planned out and carefully timed with the track, so there was very little margin for error on the shooting days. But our great local AD, Sopo Parjiani was really on it with timings.
You’ve talked before about how your work is extremely image-led, and the way you piece images together is instinctive rather than theoretical – was that very much the process here?
This one was slightly different. The track, Beside April, is really emotive. And varies a lot. There is melancholy, there is tension, violence, tranquility. I was very much responding to the music when coming up with the creative.
The range of filmic techniques you’ve used is impressive and really adds to the dreamlike quality of the video, particularly the kaleidoscopic shots of the horse and rider. Was this an opportunity to explore any new techniques or push your filmcraft in a new direction?
Yeah, it really was. And I am so grateful to Monumental FX, the Paris-based post house, who put so much great work into this. I have always wanted to dabble in VFX and the team at Monumental were so collaborative and didn’t mind trying stuff in different ways.
It’s a new skill, for sure, but I won’t be making Avatar 3 anytime soon.
What are your favourite aspects of the finished film?
The casting is a big one. Shooting in Georgia we had access to some amazing actors and incredible faces and personalities.
The dog chasing the camera. That was a tricky shot. We only managed to get one good take out of about 20 because the dog kept getting distracted by other things. And the trick duplication in there which connects to the duplicating horse sequence.
I also love the mother character, Baia Kereselidze, screaming at camera. That was a goosebumps moment.
Interview by Selena Schleh
Director: Camille Summers-Valli
Exec Producer: Emory Ruegg
Producer: Maddy Perkins
DOP: Max Pittner
Costume Designer: Tati Cotliar
Costume supplied by: Chopova Lowena
Music Video Rep: Andre Reid-McKinley
Production Company: Somesuch & Co
Co-Production Company: Division
Post-Producer: Germain Robin
Editor: Antonin Bronès
Assistant Editor: Simon Tristant
VFX Supervisor: Colin Journée
VFX Coordinator: Mathieu Jussreandot
2D artists: Isabelle Tchoungang, Adrien Avenel, Romain Bedouet
Colourist: Nicke Cantarelli
Colourist-producer: Therése Misgena
Producer: Masho Tevdorashvilli
1st AD: Sopo Parjiani
Production Company: Metro Production
Executive Producer: Sandro Gabilaia
Head of Production: Maia Gurabanidze
Producer: Masho Tevdorashvili
1st AD: Sopo Parjiani
Production Manager: Tato Pantsulaia
Casting Director: Tina Khizanishvili
Commissioner: Caroline Waxse