Promonews - 15th July 2020

Baloji, the musician and director who's music video-short film Zombies has won several awards, including Best Styling In A Video at the UKMVAs last year, has now signed to Academy Films for music videos and commercials.

A multi-disciplinary artist who was born in in Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is based in Belgium, he began as a musician, releasing Hotel Impala in 2008 - an album conceived as a reply to a letter he received from his mother after a 25-year absence. Then he started his directorial career by making videos for his own music - where he not only directs, but also creates the costumes and set design.

Baloji made films for Peau de Chagrin / Bleu de Nuit - a musical trip that explores Congolese pygmy wedding traditions. With his first short fiction film Kaniama Show, he made a satire on African propaganda TV shows. Then he opened up the skin bleaching debate with Never Look At the Sun, his visual ode to black beauty, a film he made for Nowness.

In Zombies, his most recent short film, he brings together tribal motifs and digital culture to explore the stupefying effects of mobile technology. The film created a furore within the short film festivals where Baloji won numerous awards, including the Prinzipal Prize at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, the Prix Festivals Connexion Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes at the Festival International du Court-Métrage de Clermont-Ferrand and official selection at the London Film Festival.

In 2019, Zombies was picked as Short of the Year by MUBI and won Best Styling in a Video at the UK Music Video Awards. And as an artist Baloji was selected as Creative of the Year by Nowness. He’s currently developing his first feature film, a hybrid VR experience and another short film.

Academy’s Head of Music, Maurizio Von Trapp says he is delighted to bring Baloji to the company, for music videos and commercials. "We are incredibly excited to add Baloji’s voice to our roster," he says. "His work is both exuberant and timely, and much needed in today’s political climate.

"He makes films for the future, he asks questions that aren’t being posed, and he does it with dexterity and poetry. Academy is very lucky to have him."

• Watch Baloji's showreel at Academy Films here

Promonews - 15th July 2020

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