Entrevista al Director de "Don't Believe in Love" del Proyecto SafeTripHome

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Entrevista al Director de "Don't Believe in Love" del Proyecto SafeTripHome

Mensaje  HonestlyOK el Miér Abr 01, 2009 10:25 am

Continuando con las entrevistas de los directores detrás de los cortos que acompañan cada canción del último disco de Dido, didomusic.com habló con Ben Unwin para saber más acerca del video para Don't Believe In Love del proyecto SafeTripHome:

Hi Ben. How did you get involved with the Safe Trip Home project?
Well, they were shopping around for directors and I'd made a full-length documentary about 7 or 8 years ago about Chumbawamba, who I'd made quite a few videos for. So it was suggested that I put an idea into Sony for the Safe Trip Home project and they bit. Originally it was meant to be set in LA; that's where they wanted the film of that song to be filmed. The idea could've certainly worked there; you could still show that huge breadth between poor kids and rich kids. Then they came back and said they were filming the real Don't Believe In Love video in LA and asked if it would be possible to do it in London, which actually worked better for me anyway, as that's where I live.

Where did the idea of the teenage bedrooms come from?
It was a cumulative thing really. I have a daughter who isn't quite a teenager yet, but she's started to create her own space in her bedroom. You watch someone trying to make their own identity. So that was obviously curious to me. And there's a great book called Londoners In Their Homes, which is really nice, and a few other photographic projects by people like Martin Parr about people's environments, which I've always been interested in. But the main thing was that I sometimes go down my local pub in London at and there's quite a lot of people that drink in there who don't have children and I realised that their perception of teenagers was very negative, to the point at which they seemed to think my ten-year-old would already be doing crack, ram-raiding and having gang bangs. It made me think that we lump all teenagers together in a way that you would never do with adults. You would never say, "all adults are aggressive" or "all adults are argumentative". But we make teenagers into one group and I thought that couldn't possibly be the case. And also I just like poking my nose in other people's houses!

You certainly got access to some private spaces.
Yeah. I think we were very lucky. There was a crew of three of us doing it, and we were all blokes, so it could be construed as being slightly dodgy to have three men in their thirties wandering into 14-year-old girls' bedrooms. But I think we were so honest and upfront about our plans that it was OK. We asked them loads of questions on camera and I showed them exactly what I'd be asking them beforehand. And we obviously spoke to the parents and tried to make it quite clear that we weren't trying to set anybody up or make anybody look stupid.

Were the teenagers as you expected them to be?
Well, I went in with the idea that we couldn't judge all teenagers as exactly the same, but at the same time I didn't know how I would feel after meeting them. But I came out of the whole process feeling remarkably optimistic. There were some things that made me pessimistic, but generally their confidence and their feeling of "let's just get on with it" left me feeling quite uplifted. I asked them various questions and one of them was, "Can you tell me a time when you felt really sad?" Some of the things that these kids had been through were astonishing. One guy has to go into hospital once a year for an operation on his head, another guy's mother had died and one girl's father had run off with a younger woman and wouldn't have anything to do with her, but sent her brother Christmas presents. Then another girl was worried about the fact that My Chemical Romance's tourbus had caught fire and that maybe she wouldn't get to see them at Wembley. But they were all still like, "Oh well, let's get on with it".

It's clear that they're from very different backgrounds.
Totally. You see kids living two or three to a bedroom who are obviously very poor. One thing that struck me, which I couldn't really get across in the film, was that the people living in the poorer places are paying their electricity on those electricity key things where they have to pay upfront, and their electricity is actually more expensive than what anybody on account pays. So if you walk into those houses in the evening, they don't turn a light on unless they f*****g well need it. We walked into one guy's house and every light was off apart from the light in the room. I think of myself as being quite green, but I don't live like that. But it's a necessity for them, and they just seemed used to it.

Whereas some of the kids have got enormous palatial bedrooms.
Yeah, but they still suffer the same confusions and emotional issues that they all do. In fact, one of the problems with some of the wealthier kids is that they almost think about stuff too much. Like some of the poorer kids were just like, "Hell, we've just got to get on with this shit, what will be will be". Whereas some of the richer kids looked almost more tormented by the future and possibly the weight of expectations on them.

Did you film interviews with all of the kids?
Yes, absolutely.

But we only get brief snippets at the beginning and the end of the film.
That's right. I thought I might use some sound throughout, but I changed my mind about that as we went along. But this filming was actually part of another project that I'm working on anyway, so maybe it'll be something which I might sit down and string together a half hour version of, at some point. The hardest part of making the film was cutting stuff out. There's about another 10-12 kids that don't even make it in.

How many kids did you film in total?
It was 30. We were doing very long days. But although it was hard work, we really enjoyed ourselves. I met up with the cameraman and producer the other week and we were saying what a great job it was. You saw things that you wouldn't normally see. For instance, the guy who's sitting in the very dark room playing Playstation at one point, when we turned up, it was the night of Eid and the house was full of people! We were like, "Are you sure it's OK for us to be here?" But they were incredibly friendly and invited us in, saying everyone was welcome. And one girl was a mixture of Iranian and Swiss and her family absolutely insisted that we had this Iranian drink with them, which was a non-alcoholic fruit concoction. There was no way we were getting out of the door without having it! It was quite a heart-warming experience.

How did you find the kids?
A real mixture of ways. Some were people we grabbed on the street, some answered a thing on the website and some were friends of friends.

You see each bedroom for no more than about 10 or 15 seconds, but you do get a real feel for each character, from looking at their surroundings.
I hope so, yeah. I suppose your environment does reflect you. I think especially at that age, you're struggling for your identity and you establish it through your room.

How much did you try to tie your film to the song? You do, for instance, have a violin player appear when the string part starts...
That was a total coincidence. She just had a violin and I asked if she fancied doing a bit. I obviously knew the basic rhythm of the track, so I knew it would suit some fairly long camera moves, where the camera revolves around the room. But I didn't really think about the song while I was doing it.

So you were really using the song as a soundtrack to the film?
Effectively, yeah. I did ask all the kids what they thought love was and what they would look for in a partner, things like that. I asked them all the same questions and a lot of the bits I used were where they're thinking about their answers, because if you ask a 13-year-old what they think love is, they obviously have to stop and think about it. But after the second day of filming I did drop a few shots over the top of the track to see how it was working and it looked really good. I knew we were onto a winner at that point.

It sounds like a longer version of the film, with the interviews, would be fascinating.
I think so, yeah. And I'd like to film a couple more things for it too. We'll see. Some people had asked why I didn't film people from gangs, but I don't believe the vast majority of teenagers are actually out there knifing people, that's just what comes across in the news. Actually, the angriest that most of the kids got when I spoke to them, was about how they were perceived in the media. One girl said she gets on the bus with her mates and she can see people sort of flinching, as if teenagers on the bus will obviously mug them. I do find that really sad.

Did doing the film change what you feel about teenagers?
It made me more positive. I still find it really annoying when one of them plays some dreadful track out loud on the bus on their mobile phone, but I tend to be a little bit more obliging now. I have to think back to what I did as a teenager. I think people forget what they were like. I'm sure when I was a teenager I could potentially be quite scary to an old woman!

So was this a rewarding project to work on?
Oh God, yeah. It was one of the most fun things I've ever done. It was really good to meet all the kids; we laughed and we joked and we chatted. I always like doing music videos, but it was nice not to have to worry about how many times I had to cut the drummer in! And it was an adventure. Most music videos, everything has to be totally planned, because you haven't got the time to change things. Whereas in this case, we just got in the car and went off to shoot stuff, which felt very liberating.

And you're pleased with the finished film?
Very much so, yeah. It's one of my favourite things that I've done.

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