Great Sho(r)t of the Week
Two Weeks (2009)
Dir. Gabe Askew
Music: Grizzly Bear
To return from minor hiatus, I would like to discuss an intriguing development in film-making, one that elicits admittedly mostly negative feelings from myself, but as there are exceptions to anything, generates great possibility as well; the democratization of film and media. The subject in question this week is a fan video done by a filmmaker named Gabe Askew, using the popular Grizzly Bear track “Two Weeks” as a ground for his own vision. It is in fact a music video, but this does not come from a tool to sell albums; that was in fact already done by Patrick Daughters, a traditional music video artist.
However, while this version can’t be doing the band any harm, its intent is not as promotion or even an extension of the album itself; it comes unsolicited from a film-maker using music in a way that, say, Martin Scorsese uses the Rolling Stones. (Yeah, probably a pretty lame example, but you get the idea.) The fan video is certainly nothing new… It’s been around my entire lifetime, as anyone with a video camera has probably done one of their own (guilty as charged). However, this seems to usher in a new approach – the artist existing completely outside the realm of rights and publishing, while having the avenue to be seen in as wide an arena as possible without fear of punishment. If there isn’t anything to sell, there is no problem.
The video itself (oh yeah, that…) is positively gorgeous; a clever bit of homemade CGI that certainly has its myriad of influences, but never feels overly stale. To say this video blasts its “official” compatriot out of the water is an understatement; it complements the song’s soaring melodies in a much more affecting way. This is throw-back pop music, after all. From a standpoint of DIY film-making, this video is remarkably refined and professional, with more than enough room from improvement in the future. But as a document in the ever-widening chasm of what film-making is and is to become, in my eyes, it’s practically a revelation. Enjoy.