2015 LAMVF Recap

Posted by Caleb Jackson on November 10, 2015 in Event Coverage

Contributor Post

Among the music video scene, few institutions stand out from the mainstream VMA world and foster growth at a community level more than the Los Angeles Music Video Festival, which has been a household name in the professional music video industry since 2011. Sami Kriegstein and Colleen Curlin started LAMVF five years ago, and this year definitely brought together a festival worth attending, showing the work of 27 finalists in various categories.

The first night saw some well-established faces, including Daniels, Isaac Ravishankara, Eli Stonberg, and Hannah Lux Davis serving on the panel called the “Music Video Launchpad," followed by a screening of the “Student” and “Unofficial” category finalists for the festival.

Saturday held an amazing sequence of events, starting off with a panel entitled “Art and Commerce.” Sami and Colleen moderated the discussion, featuring a few label reps, commissioners, and producers. The discussion covered several topics, including the importance of product placement, social media, and how to break into the industry. One of the panelists, Devin Sarno, (a commissioner for Warner Brothers) admitted to sometimes finding the director of an artist’s video by scrolling Vimeo (Keep chasing those Staff Pick's, guys!). 

The night strolled into the finalists’ screening for the “Narrative” and “Non-Narrative” categories, including, but not limited to Thugli “Run This" directed by Amos LeBlanc, Benjamin Booker "The Future is Slow Coming” directed by James Lees, and Clipping “Summertime” directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada. Seeing these videos on the big screen was so enthralling; I had seen many of them before, but on the big screen, you can pick up so much more detail. I picked up on a lot more than I'd seen before in the Childish Gambino video for “Sober," directed by Hiro Murai. 

Following that section was the final event of the evening: pop artist Kimbra and two of her video directors held a small panel, following the viewing of 4 of their videos. I was blown away at the strength of the videos, especially “Come Into My Head” directed by Guy Franklin. Especially for pop videos, Kimbra’s content stood out to me for having a great combination between exciting performances and content that amplifies the tone of each song. Kimbra, Guy Franklin, and Adam Sager took the stage and discussed the videos from the conceptual side all the way into post-production. I was particularly amused at the way Kimbra pokes fun at her directors, she seems like a humble entertainer who would be easy to work with.

Night three wrapped up the festival with a “victory lap” of the winners in each aforementioned category. One that particularly stood out to me was the unofficial winner for Son Lux’s "Ransom" directed by Jing Shao and Jess Zo. It tells a tale of a female boxer who was abused as a child, and explores the conflicted relationship she has with her father. After the victory lap, we got a feature film length block of classic music videos, all in their original 35mm format, complete with film scratches, awkward 1980’s motion graphics, and Tim Curry’s expired music career. It was really awesome to experience these videos this way, because they would play before movies in earlier decades. I was not aware of this, as I’m sure most other millenials also were not.

Overall, it was a really fun event where I got to talk with a lot of music video creators, often ones who had pieces in the screenings at the festival - that alone was worth it. It was also really cool to see directors like NORTON attend the event, who got his start at LAMVF a few years earlier. This is a great event to submit to, it's a community effort put on by a lot of hard working individuals who are hustling to make the music video world truly awesome. Follow them on instagram, facebook, and/or twitter for updates! And see a full list of videos and winners here.


Caleb Jackson is a Tucson native, Los Angeles based writer and director who spends his time pretending he lives in any decade besides this one. He tends to enjoy music videos with a little bit of narrative and a lot of bright colorful lights.

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