Video Chats: Allie Avital Tsypin on "Global Girlfriend" by Solar Year
Posted by Doug Klinger on June 28, 2013 in Interviews
In "Global Girlfriend" by Solar Year, director Allie Avital Tsypin (of BANGS) follows actress Tania Asnes through an otherworldly spa as she relaxes under water, sips tea, and gets a head massage. The dreamlike video matches the mood of the song perfectly, and this is clearly an example of a video where there band and directors styles really seem to click. We talked to Allie about the video, getting inspiration from Tilda Swinton, and making her dream video.
Doug: Where did the concept for this videos come from?
Allie: What was most appealing about this project to me was that when I first met Ben and David of Solar Year, I could tell right away that we had a very similar aesthetic and that they were really going to let me make my "dream video," essentially. The ideas developed gradually through a series of meetings with the band as well as the creative team. We talked about films we loved, Ben showed me a minimalist 80s Scandinavian craft book, David sent me some thoughts about the song lyrics, and Tania (the lead) showed me a Tilda Swinton fashion spread that inspired her. Eventually, this "otherworldly spa" image developed, and every member of the team had something to offer. It was really fun to talk about palm trees, and cucumbers, and death rituals with the group in a circle while eating Thai food. My friend, the amazing artist Ashley May, actually painted us that paradise mural from scratch for the project! Even some of Tania's personal experiences ended up inspiring certain scenes in the video.
Doug: What does the treatment for this video look like?
Allie: The treatment actually looks a lot like the video itself. It's filled with tons of reference images: Tarkovsky stills, stock photos of children jumping in the air, cheesy "paradise" murals in people's living rooms, mormon tabernacles, churches, Asian sci-fi film stills, exfoliation mask commercials, images of dead people in coffins covered by flowers and artifacts, and salt/sand art installations. Owen (the cinematographer) was able to impeccably recreate some of the framing and lighting of these references. I was really lucky to work with a band that was so trusting.
Doug: What were your goals tonally for the video? What mood were you trying to establish?
Allie: We were really trying to match the reflective, spiritual, very expansive qualities in the song. Part of why we chose to build a miniature model is because I kept imagining very vast architectural spaces: spaces that either don't exist or were way beyond our location budget. I wanted to play with the relationship between these fictional landscapes and the protagonist's psychological journey. Above all, I wanted to convey the mood of self-reflection, and eventually, the feeling of deep relaxation.
Doug: The location is very unique, where was it shot? What were you looking for in a location?
Allie: The majority of the video was shot at Greenpoint Terminal, which is this really sick historic warehouse complex in Brooklyn. We were looking for a location that had multiple windows and doorways that we could blast light through to create these surreal passageways. Additional scenes (the model landscape and face covered in salt) were shot in my bedroom. My floor is still salty and crunchy under my feet - it's pretty gross.
Doug: What were you looking for in the lead? Was Tania's hair part of what you were looking for when casting her?
Allie: The band wanted someone who was unconventional and mentioned Tilda Swinton as a reference. I had met with Tania about another video a year ago, and ended up getting a glass of wine with her and telling her about this project. Immediately, I knew she was right for the role. Not only did she mention that Tilda is her favorite actress of all time and a huge inspiration, she also completely "got" the concepts of the video, even though they were early stages of incubation and at that point were very challenging to articulate. And yeah, her hair is amazing.
Doug: Had you seen her with braids? And were the braids done on site or did you shoot over multiple days?
Allie: The braids were done on set about halfway through the shoot. I hadn't seen her with braids before but they looked dope! It's amazing how a hairstyle can completely transform you like that. Hoping to start a Caribbean braids trend this summer.
allie avital tsypin, bangs, global girlfriend, solar year, video chats
Doug Klinger is the co-founder/content director of IMVDb and watches more music videos than anyone on earth. You can find him on twitter at @doug_klinger.
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