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…"

Credits

Director of PhotographyPat Scola
DirectorSam Pilling
Production CompanyPulse Films
Executive ProducerAlli Maxwell
Executive ProducerRik Green
Production ManagerMatthew Cheaton
1st ADJoe Suarez
Focus PullerIvan Acero
2nd ACTaylor Gilmartin
GafferJoel Marich
ProducerSarah Park
Production designerQuito Cooksey
Costume designerDerica Cole Washington
EditorThomas Grove Carter
Editing companyTrim Editing
ColouristSimon Bourne
Grading companyFramestore
Casting directorGood People Casting
Hair & Make-upJamie Richmond
Director's RepresentationHands London
CommissionerAilsa Robertson
Other creditsAdditional 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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