David Knight - 29th June 2021

Ben Strebel makes a stunning return to music videos with his wonderful video for Skrillex, Starrah and Four Tet’s new track Butterflies - an impressionistic portrait on the impact of a year of Covid crisis upon a generation, which builds to a simply transcendent climax.

With some hugely talented collaborators, including choreographer Holly Blakey, DoP Ben Todd, and the VFX team at Electric Theatre Collective, Strebel channels the frustrations of a generation of youth, whose relationships and opportunies have all been curtailed by the successive lockdowns, into a very contemporary work of visual art.

On a London estate, an edgy teenager is a ball of energy as they sit in their room, and when a group of youths gather, the group immediately combine to performing Blakey's intricate, physically demanding choreography. Sheets float in the air, at the Chinese takeaway the youths also play ghosts, covered in sheets - and then the path from gritty reality to heightened sensibility spins into outright fantasy, all within the same concrete world.

The climax of the video is wonderful - and that is partly because you do not see it coming. The kids have now become real ghosts, soaring into the air above the concrete, freed to cavort to the strains of this epic electronic collaboration between Sonny John Moore (aka Skrillex), Keiran Hebden (Four Tet), and Brittany Talia Hazzard (Starrah). This is a brilliantly conceived ballet - created with an ingenious execution of VFX work and camera movement.  

Strebel has created a wonderful visual for Butterflies, the result of not only his own skill and vision, but the ambition and support of Skrillex. The artist and director had been talking for a long time about working together, and Skrillex took a hands-on approach throughout the process, sanctioning the lengthy period in post production required to make it happen.

It was well worth the wait.  

PRO Credits


DirectorBen Strebel
ProducerAdam Farley
Production CompanyBiscuit Filmworks
Executive ProducerAndrew Law
Executive ProducerRupert Reynolds-MacLean
Head Of ProductionSamantha Chitty
Production ManagerRoma Nesi Pio
1st ADEd Bellamy
2nd ADChristopher Mears
Location ManagerTitus Penate
Director of PhotographyBen Todd
Focus PullerSean Lomax
2nd ACDan Jenner
SteadicamSimon Wood
Key GripWolf Wasserman
GafferBen Manwaring
Production designerOliver Hogan
Costume designerKate Forbes
Hair & Make-upAnna Wild
ChoreographerHolly Blakey
Casting directorKharmel Cochrane
EditorMatt Nee
Editing companyMetal House Edit
Post production companyElectric Theatre Collective
VFX DirectorJames Sindle
ColouristLuke Morrison
Post ProducerAntonia Vlasto
Edit ProducerHannah Clark @ Metal Edit
Other creditsDirector’s Assistant: James Murray Casting Assistant: Virgina Kerr Cast: Ben Todd-Jones, Holly Brennan, Tyrese McKenzie, Maddie Miller, Devonte Sackitey, Zirihi Zadi, Aden Dzuda, Jamie Bell, Lauryn Bryan Production Runner: Dalia Saeed Runners: Kwesi Mcloed, Sonny McMillan Drone: Stem Studios Camera Car: Box Van DIT: Ashley Hicks Rigger: Pat Daley Video Playback: John Joe O’Driscoll Boom Op: Patrick Calvert Electrician: Jamie Chatz, Dimitris Mavrogianns, Jazz Balla Art Department Assistant: James Early, Tom Gullum Props Transport: Leo Topalov Wardrobe Assistant: John Revell HMU Assistant: Ruthie Mannion-Palmer Medic: John Greenwood, Dave Ogden Covid Supervisor: Stephen McLaughin Mini Bus: Lee Righleato, Dean Levy Security: Wayne Green, Darren Rosiore, Steve Smith Facilities: Robert Sheldrake Camera Equipment: Panavision Lighting Equipment: Panalux Locations Equipment: Get Set Hire Location Catering: Honey & Thyme, Luluz Catering 3D Lead: Tobin Brett 2D Lead: James Belch 3D Artists: Luis Fos, Tom Di Stasio, Nikolai Maderthoner, Julien Fradin, Gareth Bell, Robert Kolbeins, Robert Reinschedl, Jack Powell, James Waterhouse, Jordan Dunstall 2D Artists: Sarah Crux, Alberto Pizzocherro

David Knight - 29th June 2021

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