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Mykki Blanco 'The Initiation' by Ninian Doff

David Knight - 7th June 2013

Ninian Doff could have been forgiven for thinking that New York rapper and poet Mykki Blanco would want a video to show off her feminine side. Mykki is, after all, the female incarnation of the multi-faceted artist Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. But instead, the video for The Initiation goes in a completely different direction, with Mykki revealing a completely new side of him/herself thanks to Ninian's amazing visual effects work: Mykki gets a second face.

If these spine-chilling, brilliantly achieved FX weren't enough, Ninian wraps them into a gritty, urban sci-fi storyline of mutation and state repression, with a violent Fight Club climax. And all for a highly unusual hip-hop track where the artist raps in Latin. 

Ninian Doff: "I've got to give huge credit to Mykki as a performer right away. She showed so much trust in me and the idea and fully committed to the performance on the day. Not many artists would happily crawl through streets covered in dust and still manage to look insanely cool at the same time! The track and video also work together really well - the visuals are already really creepy but it's the fact that beat with Latin incantations being rapped over it that makes it really unsettling!

"We shot the majority of it in one long, exhausting day in London when Mykki was on tour. It was my usual balance of meticulously storyboarding and planning, but then also trying to allow as much freedom as possible. So for instance with the fight I just let the camera and the cast go wherever they wanted and then cut it fast and loose so I could pick out the right moments from the takes for the second face to line up well in post. That's how I love approaching post production - in a way that doesn't hinder or restrict the creative side during the shoot.

"The crew and cast on this were incredible at every stage: pre-production, the shoot itself and right up to the final grade. So many people worked really hard and lent their talents to make this very strange idea a reality!"

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David Knight - 7th June 2013


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Ninian Doff
Tamara Harel-Cohen
Production Company
Executive Producer
Laura Tunstall
Production Manager
Tarquin Glass


Director of Photography
Patrick Meller
Camera operator
Adam Vardy
Jonathan Iles


Art Director
Anna Rhodes


Alex Day
Krystle Gohel


Director's Representation
Joceline Gabriel


Assistant Art Director
Helen Mearns

David Knight - 7th June 2013

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