David Knight - 6th July 2018

Over the first two videos of the new album campaign Fred Rowson has explored the alternate universe that powers Years & Years' new album Palo Santo - released today (July 6th). And now, following Sanctify and If You're Over Me comes the accompanying short film - also named Palo Santo - that brings it all together.

In fact, this beautifully made short sci-fi drama, shot in Thailand, really is what the campaign is all about. It adds a new dimension to the story more broadly touched upon in the videos, of human enslavement by android masters, to provide round-the-clock entertainment. 

At the heart of it is Olly Alexander's role as entertainer-in-chief in this android world Palo Santo, and the prize property of an android apparachnik and ringmaster - a subtle and sympathetic characterisation by the Thai actor Vithaya Pansringarm.

The previous videos are abbreviated in the film to give more room to the narrative, while there are some surprising cameos - the ominiscient voice that directs life in Palo Santo is provided by none other than Dame Judy Dench; there's also an appearance by Ben Whishaw. It looks stunning, courtesy of photography by DoP Jaime Feliu Torres, and superbly edited by Sacha Szwarc at Speade. 

Written by Alexander and Rowson - who have a long association of working together - the pace of Palo Santo never drops, as it flips seamlessly between character interplay and performance set-pieces, taking in moments of humour and pathos. It becomes a genuinely emotional ride. Ultimately it shows what an accomplished director that Fred Rowson has become.   

PRO Credits


DirectorFred Rowson
ProducerCorin Taylor
Production CompanyBlink
Executive ProducerPaul Weston
Executive ProducerMartha Kinn
Production ManagerJack Bingham
Director of PhotographyJaime Feliu Torres
1st ADInthira Sawantrat
Art DirectorSiranat Ratchusanti
WardrobeNick Royal
Make-upEmma Croft
Make-up AssistantMaxine Crew
ChoreographerAaron Sillis
Production ServicesIndochina Productions
Executive ProducerSimon Nicholas
Production SupervisorMutita Na Songkla
Line ProducerAtchariya Pinitsanpirom
Post production companyElectric Theatre Collective
Post ProducerOliver Whitworth
EditorSacha Szwarc
Editing companySpeade
ColouristLewis Crossfield
Sound designAlex Bingham
CommissionerSemera Khan

David Knight - 6th July 2018

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