David Knight - 28th Sept 2012

In the vein of Sigur Ros's music, the 10 minute film - in which the voice of the snail is provided by iconic British folk singer Shirley Collins - is peaceful and evocative. But it also has a chilling, quite stomach-churning flipside too - the stop-motion decomposition of the now-dead fox. And it's definitely not faked.

It's a notable return to music video for Nick Abrahams. Over a decade ago, he was half of iconoclastic directing duo Trash 2000, making videos for the likes of Huggy Bear, Cornershop and Stereolab. He's also worked with Sigur Ros on several occasions, but more recently he has been working with artist and filmmaker Jeremy Deller on two acclaimed documentaries: The Posters Came From The Walls (about Depeche Mode fans) and this year's superb doc, The Bruce Lacey Experience.

Here's what Nick has to say about making his video for Ekki Múkk for the Valtari Mystery Film Experiment:

"Sigur Ros's management gave me a completely open brief - which was quite brave of them! I've been working on a feature script for a little while, and it struck me that some of the imagery and themes I am working with would complement the Sigur Ros track perfectly, so that was the direction I went in. Their music is so epic and intimate at the same time, and i wanted to reflect this in a story which in some terms is very small, and also huge.

"I had an idea that the British countryside could be the most alien landscape, more amazing than any special effects, and wanted to capture that feeling of amazement you get when watching a great wildlife documentary, whilst also telling a small fable. This involved working with two units, one helmed by DOP Ole Birkeland (whose work on the films 'The Arbor' and 'Helen' I am a huge fan of) to film the human elements of the story, and the other by wildlife cameraman Martin Dohrn of Ammonite Films to capture the macro world of the snail. We shot it over two days in a field in Amersham found for us by Becky Bazzard at Missenden Valley Locations, and Amazing Animals came up trumps by bringing along Tod, a most patient fox, who literally fell asleep in Aidan's arms while we were filming.

"The decaying fox sequence was there in the script from the start. First of all we had to source a dead fox - which entailed some rather odd posts by me on Facebook etc requesting anyone seeing dead foxes to contact me. Finally one was found in a field, and I picked it up and drove it down to Bristol where it was shot decomposing on 3 cameras by Martin over a period of about a month in a carefully controlled environment. Later in post, the kind people at Rain in Soho removed a whole heap of flies to make it more of a beautiful sequence - and we added the camera moves in the edit to give it a more poetic feel.

"The casting was mainly down to synchronicity. I had met Aidan Gillen at a Sigur Ros concert a few years before, through photographer Eva Vermandel, and was keen to work with him. I also saw his work in 'Treacle Jr' recently, which demonstrated just how versatile he is. And I made contact with folk icon Shirley Collins to play the snail. For me her voice sums up for me another England, a forgotten Albion - this might sound pretentious, but i dare you to listen to her recordings from the 60s and not agree with me!

"I confess I'm quite pleased and proud of the result. Now I'm back to work on the feature script, as I feel it's time to make that happen." With its 5.1 sound mix Ekki Mukk will now be screened ay Art Basel Miami, the London Film Festival and several other art institutions and festivals.


DirectorNick Abrahams
ProducerDhiraj Mahey
Director of PhotographyMartin Dohrn
EditorAdam Biskupski
Production AssistantK
PhotographerEva Vermandel
Focus PullerJason Walker
Clapper LoaderJulian Sharma
GripKevin Foy
Camera operatorHoward Bourne, Elliot Lowndes
Production ManagerFiona Mackenzie
Post ProducerRain Ltd
ColouristJohn Claude
RunnerEllie Gray

David Knight - 28th Sept 2012

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