Flying High, Longlist - Music Video

Hold The Girl

Ali Kurr


Ali Kurr and Rina Sawayama are back together for another high-concept promo - a cinematic sci-fi drama with a twist, for Hold The Girl. This has Rina on a Westworld-type world - on a ranch in the Old Wild West. And her repeated attempts to escape the place are blocked by an unseen, magnetic force - she is caught mid-air after falling from the roof, or pulled 50 metres across the scorched grass - and brought back to her starting point in the house. But when the walls start to crack and the earth moves, she discovers an alternate universe: herself, dancing in a high-energy studio setup with fellow dancers, celebrating an unabashed freedom. This Dogville-style studio set-up eventually fuses with the strange period world, and Rina breaks free. But there is one more twist in the tale. Filmed in Bulgaria, shot by Diego Rosenblatt, and with choreography by Josh Pillmore, the video is the latest and arguably the most successful example of a superbly creative collaboration between the artist and director, which has always tested boundaries. Once again they have gone for something new, and leave the viewer marvelling at Sawayama's virtuosity. "It was all about capturing the feeling of having the strength to leave a situation and then when that initial adrenaline rush leaves you," says Kurr. "All you are left with is the memory that can often leave you feeling even more alone." This is the latest in a collaboration that goes back to the start of both Kurr and Sawayama's careers. "We've been making videos together for over a decade now," reveals the director. "I constantly pinch myself on set when I think about how far we have come. From making videos in our flats with £50 art budgets to now getting to play with zip lines and stunt coordinators... we push ourselves each time to make something that's even more exciting and unexpected for her fans." This follows the acclaimed video for This Hell, the first video released from the forthcoming Sawayama album, also called Hold The Girl. Kurr adds: "This drive and love for what we create, alongside her insane artistry as a musician, has resulted in Hold The Girl being one of my favourites to date and I can't wait to get back on set and start shooting something nuts again soon."

While writing her thesis at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Ali began making immersive videos to support her writing. Upon the completion of her degree she swapped academia for music videos. Her promos for artists including Loyle Carner, Poppy Ajudha and Connie Constance saw her work recognised at the UK MVAs and Kurr named VEVO’s ‘One To Watch’. Since then, she has directed commercials for the BBC, Nike, Samsonite and Corona, while her narrative debut ‘Sparrow’, made alongside BAFTA nominated producer Sorcha Bacon, opened BFI Flare’s ‘Calm Before the Storm’ showcase. In 2019, Kurr was named an ‘Emerging Brit’.