Q&A with Filmmaker Jérémi Durand, Director of Apple Jelly: //CONTROL//

The BAFTA Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) screens over 300 films across the four-day event, spanning all genres including music video, showcasing the very best from the music and film industries being produced around the world today. We highlight Apple Jelly: //CONTROL// by Jérémi Durand, a promo for the French electro band. Petru keeps control over his daily life through his own kind of dancing ritual. In speaking to us about his film, Durand discusses his creative practice.

ASFF: What qualities do you look for in a music track or video?
JD: Something that catches you fast, real fast. It has to be efficient. The music or the pace can be slow, it doesn’t matter, but the effect it produces on the audience must be an immediate catch. And for this to happen, it must sound and look right and true to whatever direction the band or the director is taking. There is also and often a case of rhythm; you would say it’s obvious for a music track, but people seem to forget about it in videos and in editing, it must feel right there too.

ASFF: Apple Jelly: //CONTROL// presents its audience with a character dancing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Where did the idea for this come from?
JD: The band contacted me for this video a year after I met Petru (whom I saw for the first time when he was dancing like this in a night club in London with his mates – all in their 50s). Everyone around literately stopped and was staring at him, so I went to speak to him and I’ve always had him in mind since then. So in order to match the powerful aspect of the song, it quickly became obvious to me that I would ask Petru to dance on tape for this occasion. I had this idea a bit before the Olympic Games when the city was upside down with thousands of these yellow security jersey workers everywhere. Petru plays one of them (and actually is in real life).

He is simply coming back from work on an evening and tries to ‘keep control’ over his daily routine and his daily life through his own kind of dancing ritual. At some point, a girl joins him to share the moment. I think she adds some kind of sensuality and sexiness to the clip. Moreover, I like the fact that she is somehow ambiguous in the end, as she seems to ask for more, or to wait for something more, but Petru just leaves the place, keeping ‘control’ over her as well. Finally, we needed a location that sweats out the powerful aspect of this song again. Piccadilly Circus works perfectly as it has a strong meaning with the word control through its connection with the advertising world and the security over the masses.

ASFF: In your opinion, how easy is it to cater for both music fans and short film enthusiasts?
JD: It becomes more and more difficult I would say as everyone’s eyes get more and more educated in thousands of various directions. Internet streaming of HD videos + DSLR cameras that turned the music video world upside down for instance – now everyone can make a decent HD video. So as a result, people’s taste evolves and you find more and more niche targets.

However, I would say that the key is to stay true to the direction you chose and push it as far as you can while knowing when to stop before doing too much and getting into clichés.

ASFF: As a Music Video director, what is the benefit of participating in film festivals?
JD: It’s an incredible chance to be selected to festivals, for any director, for any video. It gives you recognition for a work that at the end of the day, isn’t so often rewarding regarding how hard the work actually is. And this, especially for young filmmakers such as myself, it really can give your career a good kick starter in a way.

ASFF: Do you have any upcoming projects or hidden aspirations?
JD: I share my time between directing and acting actually and I have quite exciting times ahead I must say, in both fields, but I am afraid I cannot get into details at this point. Let’s say that it’s in between music videos, commercials and feature film… My big goal as a director is feature films of course, but I guess every director says the same. Let’s just see how far I go.

Watch the making of the video for Apple Jelly: //CONTROL// here.

For more information on ASFF and to book festival passes visit www.asff.co.uk/tickets

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1. Jérémi Durand (Beast), Apple Jelly: //CONTROL//.