Sean Pecknold's ninth video for Fleet Foxes maintains the aura and mystique that has surrounded more or less all his work his brother Robin's band.
This is a surreal narrative, involving a man's relationship with a large floating red cube, that repeatedly sends him on a journey into the desert, when he touches it. Created for the suite of songs I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar from Fleet Foxes' 2016 album Crack-Up, it's a prequel (or possibly sequel) to last year's video for Fool's Errand, which also explored a natural landscape through human interaction and choreography. The result is equally mesmerizing.
As always with Pecknold's work, the innovations in how the video was created, on a very challenging budget, have played a big part in contributing to that aura and mystique. In this case, he and his partner Adi Goodrich created all the props themselves, including the red cube, in their own studio, and he prepped and acted out every moment of the video before he shot an inch of footage - and this was shot on Kodak 35mm film.
The video was co-produced by WeTransfer and there is a long interview with Sean Peckinold about his work with Fleet Foxes on the brand website WePresent, featuring contributions from brother Robin and sister Aja (she manages Fleet Foxes). And Sean also sent us this Director's Statement, specifically about the making of the video for I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar.
From the director
"For me, the song encapsulates the themes and feelings of the whole record like an overture; the darkness / lightness, the fast / slow, the tension between two competing voices, and the unpredictable dynamic shifts of tempo and voice.
"I wanted to create a striking visual allegory that felt both intimate and lonely, grand and triumphant. I wanted to visualize the struggle within the song through the story of a fictional character trying to escape from his house and reach an ever elusive mythical place.
"When I shoot on film I do extensive pre-planning so we aren’t wasting any time. There were several weeks of storyboarding and creating an embarrasing videomatic where i acted out the whole video shot for shot to help guide the production. My background in stop-motion animation has led me to become fairly obsessed with pre-planning and timing everything before shooting a frame of film.
"We shot this video for Fleet Foxes on Kodak 35mm film, using an Arri 435 camera from Panavision in Los Angeles. We made the video in California over a four day period in july. It was a small but dedicated crew, some of whom worked with us on the prior Fleet Foxes video, Fool’s Errand, last year.
"Adi Goodrich, my partner and collaborator at our studio Sing-Sing, worked on developing the color palette, glass cube, and in-studio totem forest. We wanted to create a look that felt like an old Technicolor movie. Everything hand-made, everything in-camera."
"Steve Reker my frequent collaborator for choreography, who also worked on Fool’s Errand, came on board, and though the movements are fairly simple, we worked for several days making sure each beat of the story were timed out with a motivated action or emotional movement. He understood exactly what movement language this story needed.
"The actor’s name is Jean Charles, and it took many weeks to find him. I wanted someone who had a fierce and focused personality, but with a mystery to their eyes. Someone who could play opposite as the co-star to Jade Lorna from Fool’s Errand. Jean brought a heart and spirit to the difficult production. And climbed mountain after mountain with us.
"Keon Javanshir was our DP, Kat Rumford on wardrobe, and Sarah Haber who produced Fool’s Errand made magic happen to pull this off."
- Sean Pecknold
- Sarah Haber
- Production Company
- Executive Producer
- Harry Calbom
- Production Manager
- Director of Photography
- Keon Javanshir
- Focus Puller
- Travis Waddell
- 2nd AC
- Mason Harrelson
- Brody Anderson
- Art Director
- Adi Goodrich
- Kat Rumford
- Sean Pecknold
- Kaitlyn Battistelli
- Grading company
- Electric Theatre Collective