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David Knight - 21st Mar 2012

Keaton Henson has made lovely, devastatingly sad visual accompaniments to his achingly melancholic music before - and that's exactly the case with his video for Small Hands. It just happens that Joseph Mann has picked up the baton from David Wilson to become Keaton's new collaborator, and has created something stunning with his first ever music video: the cruelty of nature (and man) told via a meticulously recreated version of the natural world...

Joseph has handcrafted a forest inhabited by a range of puppet creatures, with the help of master puppeteers Jonny Sabbagh & Will Harper, and Keaton himself. Jonny designed the puppet animals with Keaton - who was working as an illustrator before his music career took off. Then Joseph has brought them to life - before many of them suffer a terrible Keaton Henson-style fate.

Joseph, who graduated from the Glasgow School of Art, has worked on several projects with David Wilson, including sequences of the Skream video for Listenin To The Records On My Wall a couple of years ago. Now directing in his own right, he recently completed an eight month project for The International Exchange. And now this outstanding debut video: it's beautiful - and heartbreaking. After all, it is Keaton Henson.

"As soon as I heard the track I was sold on the idea of making the video," says Joseph. "And working with Keaton was very collaborative from the word go. We bounced a few things around and agreed on creating something set in the woods. He did a few drawings and we set off on our way into the forest. From there I came up with the idea to 'make, then break' three animal couples relationships in half. It felt right for the song and I have all ways loved owls and underground burrows so it felt good.

"I had just over two weeks to design and build six sets - cobbled together from a mixture of whatever I could get my hands on - with a lovely team of people. Jonny & Will had the same amount of time to build all the puppets. They are two of the most talented people I have ever met - in fact they blow my mind.

"We shot for three days breathing in way too much fake smoke. We had a great time making a huge amount of mess whilst Jonny and Will had all sorts of things falling into their laps under the set: water, baby oil and plenty of soil. They didn't complain once. Making this video was seriously good fun. I hope it shows."

Credits

DirectorJoseph Mann
Production CompanyBlinkart
Executive ProducerBart Y
ProducerJoseph Mann, Tamsin Glasson, James Bretton
Director of PhotographyM
Camera operatorTo
GafferMax Halstead
StudioClapham Road Studios
Art DirectorJoely Brammer, Rose Popham, Emma Den
EditorSimone Ghilardotti
Post ProducerSimone Ghilardotti & Josh Hine
ColouristSteve G

David Knight - 21st Mar 2012

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