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Chaka Khan 'Hello Happiness' by Sam Pilling

David Knight - 15th Jan 2019

Sam Pilling's superb, cinematic video for Chaka Khan's Hello Happiness harks back to the time when this legendary soul diva was first hitting the charts with funk outfit Rufus, in the early 1970s. And it all revolves around a single phone booth outside an LA motel on a single night.

Pilling makes the phone booth the focal point for a piece with a rich cast of characters and multiple storylines: there's the lady of the night, leaving a 'tip' in the payphone change slot; the hot couple using the booth as a location for sex; the philanderer with his mistress, and more. But not everything is as it seems.

What is certain is that Chaka herself makes an appearnce in the phone booth, for what is a very enjoyable watch. It's beautfilly put together, with great widescreen cinematography by Pat Scola, wonderful editing of various story strands and performance by Thomas Grove Carter - and skilfully directed by Sam Pilling, making his first video since the brilliant DJ Shadow, Run The Jewels video for Nobody Speak.

He's also added some titles to suggest the older generation are far racier than their younger counterparts. Clearly they learned their wicked ways back in the Seventies.

SAM PILLING:

As soon as I heard the song, I knew that I wanted the video to feel like it belonged to that period

"The video is an homage to the unsung hero of 70s and 80s movies: the public phone booth.

"Chaka Khan is a musical legend, and was undoubtedly the soundtrack to that era. As soon as I heard the song, I knew that I wanted the video to feel like it belonged to that period of time, complete with classic 70s movie tropes and characters, and a strong sense of vintage Americana.

"The song has such a great fusion between old and new, and I began thinking about the ways to build mini-narratives around a phone booth that felt both true to the era, and as relevant now as they were then.

"Our video takes place over the course of one (very eventful) night in which we observe the colourful characters that come to the booth to make their call. Unfortunately for our characters, HAPPINESS is nowhere to be seen…"

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David Knight - 15th Jan 2019

Tags

  • Director's notes
  • Narrative
  • Pick of the Day
  • Performance
  • Funk
  • Soul
  • Phone booth

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Credits

Production/Creative

Director
Sam Pilling
Producer
Sarah Park
Production Company
Executive Producer
Alli Maxwell
Executive Producer
Rik Green
Production Manager
Matthew Cheaton
1st AD
Joe Suarez

Camera

Director of Photography
Pat Scola
Focus Puller
Ivan Acero
2nd AC
Taylor Gilmartin

Lighting/Grip

Gaffer
Joel Marich

Art

Production designer
Quito Cooksey

Wardrobe

Costume designer
Derica Cole Washington
Hair & Make-up
Jamie Richmond

Casting

Casting director
Good People Casting

Editorial

Editor
Thomas Grove Carter
Editing company

Grading

Colourist
Simon Bourne
Colour grade company
Framestore

Agent

Director's Representation

Commission

Commissioner
Ailsa Robertson

Other credits

Additional Casting

ESPRIT CASTING / DAVON LAVOR

Gaffer

JOEL MARICH

Best Boy Electric

JUSTIN GARCIA

Electrics

NICK STREET / ERIC FLESCH

Key Grip

EDDIE APODACA

Best Boy Grip

DERIK HOLUB

Grips

BREO FREEMAN, MICHAEL MOORE

Prop Master

ANDREW PATRICK

Costumers

ERICA HOLLOWAY / LUKE LANGSDALE / JEANNINE H

Key Makeup

ZEE GRAHAM

Key Hair

ADRIANNA PROFIT

Assistant Hair

CHANELL SMITH

Sound Mixer: JAMES ERSTED

Location Manager

JOHN DILBECK

Stunt Coordinators

JOE PEREZ / JOSEPH TESSIER / OMID ZADER

Stunt Double

JASON SENSATION

Titles

MILES BLACKET

Special Thanks

DANYI DEATS / ERIC BARRETT

David Knight - 15th Jan 2019

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