Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Behind the Lens: Angela Kendall

Feel free to geek out with me while reading this interview with the amazing Angela Kendall. She's the director behind those Tegan & Sara features we all love and an accomplished music video director. She's not any less amazing a photographer either. She has been crazy busy but took time out to answer a few questions!

How are you today? I can't see you so I just want to make sure you're in a good mood while answering these questions.

These questions are great and i am in a delightful mood (thank you for asking :)

So you just do it all: Photography, music videos, documentaries. Which do you find the most challenging?

Each have their own set of unique challenges. I would say I find music videos the most challenging because there are so many variables. First of all, you have to take someone's song and interpret it in such a way that you stay true to it while also creating something original and compelling. It's also getting increasingly difficult to be original because so many ideas have already been done. Directing the actual shoot is also very challenging. There's a lot of pressure to get the shots you want and you have to be able to think on your feet.

When you're editing footage how do you decide what to cut? For example, that teaser you made for Death Cab, it's about two minutes. You must've gotten quite a bit of behind the scenes/studio footage. How did you decide what to squeeze into the short clip?

It depends on what Im cutting. In that Death Cab Teaser I simply chose shots that I felt were my strongest, matched the mood of the song being used, and represented what you would see when you watched the full piece. In the general sense, you choose shots based on your criteria. For example, what music you're using, what story you want to tell, and what shots are your best. A lot of it, for me anyway, is instinctual; I just gravitate towards certain shots.

In An Horse's video for "Camp Out", Kate falls down a few times, which is a literal interpretation of a lyric in that song. As were the phone cords in Tegan & Sara's video for "Call It Off". Is that more of an interesting concept to you; to play with the metaphors in that way?

I like to pull some meaning out of the song, something that I can expand upon to give the video some depth and purpose. I do like metaphors because they can be so creative, and its gets you away from a literal translation.

One of my favorite videos of all time is the one you guys made for "Addiction" by Jets Overhead. It's one of those "mirror to society" pieces we so desperately need more of. How was that made? That footage didn't strike me as easy to find.

I like the way that video turned out too. The footage was not easy to find, and we spent countless hours scouring public domain archives to get suitable shots.

I just want to switch gears for a minute and talk about your photography. The nature shots on your site are beautiful, some hauntingly so. Could you tell us where some of those were shot?

It's hard to take credit for pictures of nature :) All my shots were taken in and around Vancouver with the really scenic ones coming from an alpine hiking trip I took in Keremeos last summer.

I found the "Urban" photos really sad. Not sure if they were supposed to be. Were those taken in Vancouver?

I never intended for the urban photos to be sad, but that's interesting you felt that. I wanted to focus on structural composition, so there is a starkness that comes with that. Most of them were taken in east van, where I live, so I guess there's an inherent sadness to this neighborhood that might have come through as well.

For the first time in a long time on the "News" page on the Transmission 2 site, I scrolled all the way down. The earliest update being from February 2004 and was about you guys beginning the shooting of "The Making of So Jealous". You've been working with Tegan & Sara for a long time, as well as Jets Overhead. When you bring ideas to people you've been working with for a long time does that make you nervous, I mean is there more pressure there? Or is it all just natural because you guys know each other so well?

It's all very natural by this point. We've been working together for so many years, that I don't feel pressure to give ideas. Beyond a working relationship, we're all friends, so that makes things even easier.

Speaking of Tegan & Sara, you're directing two new videos for their songs "On Directing" and "Northshore". Tegan tweeted a few pictures from the set. They're known for having some pretty quirky videos. However, the shots Tegan tweeted seemed dark in a few ways, mostly in a literal way. Without giving too much away, can you just tell us if these videos will be a bit more intense or darker than their previous ones?

I will say that these videos will be a departure from the quirkiness we usually see from Tegan and Sara. We wanted to do a couple videos that were immediate and accessible to a wide variety of people.

Do you and Brian have any projects in the works you can tell us about?

Both of us are working on two separate pilot tv shows, and I'm starting up an art project with a friend, but I can't really talk about it yet. You'll just have to wait and see :)


1 comment:

Abril said...

I can keep saying "great interview" "Amazing interview" "fucking fantastic questions", but does that get old? I hope not, because you make me want to say it every time.

Also, I was always really curious about why she took a literal approach to some of the music video stuff.