Dear Shaded Viewers,
ASVOFF is a big admirer of the work of film director Jordan Blady. A few weeks ago at ASVOFF 12, Blady won not one but two awards: Best Cinematography and Best Script and in 2018. When Rossy de Palma was the President of ASVOFF 10, Blady was the Grand Prize winner.
As ASVOFF 12’s President, Roger Avary, put it: “His work is as delicious for the ears as for the eyes.” Considering all, I was not surprised to hear that Thom Browne asked Blady to collaborate on the label’s latest collection of Animal Bags. The film was shot in Paris on 16mm film and Blady used stop motion animation to highlight the personality of the bags. There is a different shape for each animal: pig, rabbit to elephant and giraffe and we have fun exploring the city like true parisiens.
Video link: https://youtu.be/WiFJFiS4JRM
DP: You’ve just released your first commercial for Thom Browne. Can you tell us a bit more about how this collaboration came about?
J.B: My girlfriend Emma Louise Swanson does photography for Thom Browne and she introduced me to the team during fashion week in Paris last February. They needed a commercial for the new animal bags, and I was keen to make it. Et voilà!
DP: What was the main inspiration behind it? And what were you looking to achieve?
J.B: The truth is that I was just hoping to make something simple and fun. Obviously it had to look good, but also wanted it to be something to enjoy without having to focus too much. Thom Browne was looking for a way to bring the bags to life. So we just just had fun and ran around Paris setting up different scenarios, giving the bags different personalities.
DP: You work across short films, commercials and features – three very different ways of approaching filmmaking. What would you say is the one thing that makes you work recognisable across these three formats?
J.B: Ha, is it recognizable? That’s the dream I guess. I like to try and inject some humor into everything I do, even if the subject matter is serious. I’m honestly not sure if I’ve reached a recognizable style across these formats, but I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing. It may take years or decades to refine, but I will definitely let you know once I’ve gotten there.
D.P: You’ve been showing your work (and taking home awards) at ASVOFF for quite a few editions. This year you won Best Cinematography and Script. How would you say that film festivals have helped you in your career? Has their role changed, also considering the travel and production restrictions we have faced this year?
J.B: Finding work isn’t as straightforward as it appears. Showing at festivals doesn’t automatically translate into getting new work, it’s all part of a bigger puzzle where you have to constantly be present in people’s minds. Also I think it’s important to attend the festivals your work is featured in, which I know isn’t always possible. Ironically with my documentary Comfort Zone I had vowed to attend all the festivals it was going to screen at, but due to Covid that was no longer possible.
D.P: Is there anything that you are working on at the moment that we’ll be seeing at the next edition of ASVOFF?
J.B. Yes, I hope so. There are two shoots in the works before the end of the year, but it’s difficult to know how Covid will affect them. It’s been a rough year for everyone on the planet. Film production has certainly been impacted, especially for those of us who are often working independently. But I’m not giving up.
Director – Jordan Blady (@jordanblady)
DOP – Igor Smitka (@igorsmitka)
Production Company – Excuse My French (@excusemyfrench_ph)
Executive Producer – Constance Guillou (@constanceguillou)
Producer – Cyrille Panchot
Coordinator – Kenza Zerouali
Editor and Sound Design – Jordan Blady
Color – Sylvain Canaux (@sylvain_canaux)