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David Knight - 29th May 2017

Sean Pecknold has collaborated with production designer Adi Goodrich and choreographer Steven Reker on the Fleet Foxes video for Fool's Errand - the band's first since 2011 – and it's an appropriately beautiful piece to join the impressive body of work he has previously created for his brother Robin's band.

Shot in the spectacular setting of Montana di Oro state park in the Californian coast, with the charismatic Lorna-May Sullivan as the video's dark central figure, and a squad of other dancers divided into colour coded smaller groups, this is an absorbing visual exercise in enhancing the beauty of the natural world through choreography, wardrobe and art direction.

As he explains below, it gave Pecknold the opportunity to shoot 35mm film for the first time, with his regular DoP collaborator Zia Mohajerjasbi. And as with much of Pecknold's work, the visuals match the music in a way that can be appreciated more with every successive viewing. Richly rewarding.

SEAN PECKNOLD:

"Iʼd been wanting to shoot a video on 35mm for a long time. I felt like given the stop-motion animation videos weʼve done and the rich sonic quality of the Foxes music that 35mm would compliment the song better than crystal clean video. Iʼve done some dance music videos before, but this one had to be different and bigger. And I kept imagining a strange dark figure on the edge of the ocean going through a mythic transformation.

"Iʼve been working with Adi Goodrich for the last 2 years on animation, live-action, and photography projects, and this offered a way to expand out of the studio and get her eye for colour in an epic setting. Her and Kat Rumford, my frequent wardrobe designer, did an amazing job finding a unique and striking look for the costumes in the film.

"So in a very tight three week period, we had to plan, cast, prep, shoot and edit. It forced us to make quick decisions, and be smart about every part of the process. And for most animations and now live-action shoots I use a very detailed animatic, though my drawings arenʼt great, it was the only way to make sure we had every shot planned out, and werenʼt going to waste much film.

"Iʼve been shooting live-action with my DP and super-bud Zia Mohajerjasbi, and we had been waiting for the right opportunity to shoot 35mm. He hadnʼt ever shot motion film before, but did a thorough camera test and had a good support crew. Itʼs a leap of faith when you donʼt really know what youʼve shot until you get it back from the lab, but luckily most of what we shot turned out. Itʼs gonna be hard to go back to digital after this I think.

"We had worked with Steven Reker the choreographer before and brought him on board to work out the strange moves for the lead and the back-up dancers. They needed to be rhythmic, strange, and mesmerizing. Heʼs the best. We had also worked with Jade-Lorna Sullivan the lead actress before, her movements and emotion were so important. I think we would do only about two takes for each shot, and she brought the intensity every time.

"It was hard to find such a location in Southern California, so we had to drive north of LA about 4 hours to the central coast and luckily Montana De Oro state park offered all the different looks we needed in one place. Forest, desert, mountains, ocean. I had visited the park years ago and had always wanted to film something there. This is the first part of a series of films we are doing for the new record, so stay tuned for more!

"Special thanks to my producer Sarah Haber, and my EP at Society Harry Calbom."

 

Credits

DirectorSean Pecknold
ProducerSarah Haber
Production CompanySociety
Executive ProducerHarry Calbom
Production ManagerGrant Kirkpatrick
1st ADMitchell D. Jones
Director of PhotographyZia Mohajerjasbi
Focus PullerBryant Lemelle
2nd ACLawrence Montemayor
GafferMichael Helenek
Art DirectorAdi Goodrich
WardrobeKatrina Rumford
Hair & Make-upErin Walters
ChoreographerSteven Reker
LabelNonesuch
Other creditsCreative Direction: Sing-Sing Starring: Jade-Lorna Sullivan Dancers: Dominique Afflick, Teresa "Toogie" Barcelo Rachel Carlson, Ana Coto, Sarah Dirk, Reshma Gajjar, Bailey Hall, Leann Hillegas, Alyssa Juarez, Stacy Millard, Kelly Nakaso, Madeleine "Nellie" Salisbur Wardrobe Assistant: Yvonne Reddy Makeup Assistant: Mika Caviola PAs: Riley Donahue, Jake Torres, Paco Monge, Mady Preece Park Ranger: William Rushworth Wolf: Suzie Wolf Trainer: Sara Taylor Special Thanks: Cinelab And Robert Houllahan

David Knight - 29th May 2017

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