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alt-J 'Pleader' by Isaiah Seret

David Knight - 16th Nov 2017

From alt-J's striking original idea, Isaiah Seret has crafted an experimental epic for their song Pleader that draws on different artforms and ultimately has nearly spawned a new one. This is a music video that could also described as a short dramatic musical. 

It's set in a coal mining community in a South Welsh valley in the early 20th century, and at the heart of it is a young miner and his wife. But their fate is bound up with the decisions made by the whole community, who decide that the woman has to produce a child. In that way, they sew the seeds of their own destruction - but this is just as much about the boy with special powers who is left behind. 

In the midst there are real scenes of birth and destruction, powerful performances from Sophie Cookson and Morgan Watkins as the couple, and Ewan Hipperson as Llewelyn, their son, and a huge supporting cast. There's enough surprise and mystery here to keep you coming back looking for answers. And at its core, a breathtaking sequence: the terrible power of a volcanic cloud, destroying everything and everyone in its path.


"Alt J’s Pleader is crafted as a short film musical, drawing inspiration from the novel How Green Was My Valley, the photos of Bruce Davidson, Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, and the lyrics themselves. 

"Set in a Welsh mining village amidst the backdrop of impending doom, PLEADER is the story of a community whom, in their supernatural wisdom, believes the birth of a child could save their valley from destruction. And while the child, blessed with a magnetic force, cannot stop the machines of war, his survival preserves the institutional memory of the land.

"Shot over three days in Wales, and produced by Biscuit UK, the film stars Sophie Cookson, Morgan Watkins, Anton Saunders, and Ewan Hipperson. It was brought to life with digital magic from Time Based Arts, who spent weeks creating these digital effects, and shot by cinematographer John Lynch and production designed by Marie Lanna. ‘

"When starting into the journey, the band sent me [director Isaiah Seret] one line to describe the video they want — an elegiac supernatural love story that ends in a tidal wave of earth hurtling toward the village. And I wanted to give them this film, but to bring in the transcendent feeling the music created for me, we put the tidal wave in the middle and ended it with the Child's return."

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David Knight - 16th Nov 2017


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Isaiah Seret
Sonya Sier
Production Company
Executive Producer
Rupert Reynolds-MacLean
Production Manager
Rebecca Mason
1st AD
Louis Barron


Director of Photography
John Lynch
Focus Puller
Rupert Hornstein


Production designer
Marie Lanna


Costume designer
Mr Gammon


Casting director
Kharmel Cochrane


Stewart Reeves
Editing company
Work Editorial


Simone Grattarola


VFX Supervisor
Sheldon Gardner
Post production company
Time Based Arts


Director's Rep (UK)
Lock It In


Andrew Law

Other credits


Joe Newman & Isaiah Seret

Production Coordinator

Jana Nouskova, Elena Argiros

Production Assistant

Gabija Lauce

Executive Logistic Manager

Nick Sier

1st Assistant Director

Louis Barron

1st / 2nd Assistant Director

Tom Allan


Yasmin Seddon


Daniel Linnik-Zhuravliov


Tereza Dvorak


Munzir Quraishy

Focus Puller

Rupert Hornstein

2nd Assistant Camera

Kitt Sullivan


Leo Bund

Stills Photographer

Jake Dypka


Mike McDuffie


Benjamin Thomas


Romaine Foster


Josh Wood

Set Dresser

Andrius Vystartas

Set Dresser

Jessica Morris

Art Department Assistant

Emma Chitty

Stand-by Props

Tom Major

Art Dept Assistant

Ellie Koszak

Action Vehicle Driver

Mr Weedon

Costume Designer Assistant

Chloe Adele

Costume Designer Assistant

Bridget Phelan

Hair Make Up Assistant

Heather Pitchford

Hair Make Up Assistant

Ellie Lewis

Casting Assistant

Heather Basten

Casting Assistant

Ariane Mason

Locations Assistant

Heather O'Neil

Locations Assistant

Zoe & Michael Tootell


Joel Maslin

Choir master

Caroline Venter

Cardiff Council

Emma Coulthard

Edit Producer

Marguerite Olivelle

Music Edit

Parallax Post

Music editors

Luke Lynch & Paul Rogers

Executive Post Producer

Tom Johnson


Ben Stonehouse

Nuke Lead

Bernardo Varela


Ralph Brisco

Matte Painting

Lisa Ayla


Mike Battcock, Ben Cantor, Federico Guzzardo

Sound mix

Factory Studios

Sound Design & mix

Jon Clarke

Audio Producer

Lou Allen


Sophie Cookson – Bronwyn, Morgan Watkins – Andre, Anton Saunders – Hew (Andre’s brother), Oliver Dimech – Younger Llewelyn, Harry Tayler – Younger Llewelyn , Ewan Hipperson – Older Llewelyn, Nick Sier – Miner, Robert Liddiard – Miner, Chris Morgan – Miner, Saskia Vaigncourt – Miners wife, Liza Ludbrook – Miners wife, Penelope Wildgoose – Miners wife, Sanna Kelly

Luca Jordan, Oscar Rudolph, Will Rudolph – School boys

Birth imagery excerpt

Stan Brakhage, Window Water Baby Moving (1959, 16 mm, colour, silent, 12:11)

Volcano stock footage

James Reynolds – Earth Uncut TV

Special Thank you

Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, Thom Green, Shawn Lacy, Noam Murro.

Thank you

Bradford Young, Isabelle & Jon Albuquerque, Jessica Seret, James Allen, Mike Skrgatic, Lisette Nice, Hanna Bayatti, Samantha Chitty, Jeff & Deane @ Brownian Motion Pinewood, Craig & Hildegarde @ Prolight, Get Set Hire, Blaenavon Ironworks Staff, Sylvia & Team @ St Fagans Museum, South Wales Caving Club

David Knight - 16th Nov 2017

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