TNC talks to writer/director Monika Kmita on Flirtini’s Satelity, her latest music video produced by Papaya Films. The groundbreaking video features distinguished dancers (which includes the prima ballerina of the Polish National Ballet) plus lasers and digital visualizations all put together to create one of the most unique music videos there is.
What was the experience like working with Papaya Films on Satelity?
There were few attempts at producing this video, before Papaya Films showed up. But due to many reasons it wasn't possible to do it the way we wanted. So we had some elements and arrangements ready to go, some...the opposite way.
From Papaya Films I worked on this project with Ola Pudło, who was dedicated and committed to give us the best possible working conditions. Or, budget wise, even more than possible. Like it was in case of the location. We checked a few other places, before FSO (that we knew was way much more expensive than we could afford).
But after documentation (in those dark basements but with interesting architecture structure) we just knew that THIS is THE PLACE. When Ola saw (and heard) the excitement on my face she just said that we will somehow manage to do it there. And we shot in FSO. Like in every music production there were some compromises, like we didn't have additional days for dance rehearsals, just a few hours before shooting.
I knew It was a challenging assignment on so many levels so we had to compromise somewhere. But I've got most of the elements just like I wanted.
What was it about Michał Sobierajski & Suwal's track Satelity that interested you so much?
I created a previous video for Michal and Suwal so it was a tempting idea to do another one. Michal has a very interesting voice, Suwal did a good job but it was actually text that inspired me this time. While deciding if I want to shoot a music video I always listen to the text carefully and interpret it my way. Then I think about the rhythm of the music, energy of the voice and sound.
And then, after I come to the idea that I really like (that moves me, makes me really wanna see it, makes me wanna spend 2 weeks or like in this case more than a month all together on production) there is too late to back out even knowing how crazy are music video productions...
Can you tell me a little bit about Satelity, what was the inspiration for your script?
As I mentioned before, the first stimulus was the text. I had the general interpretations of the lyrics and I knew I wanted to end this video with a huge explosion in the sun. There is a theoretical possibility that an explosion on the sun may destroy all the data. After a 4 h lecture (in Centrum Nauki Kopernik) about the crone of the sun (that i attended while getting ready for the production) i know it is not exactly like that but still it is a moving idea, fantasy that gives me thrill of excitement.
The other inspirations where all the SF movies, esp. scenes with galaxy and sun but even more NASA videos of cosmos. Then lots of artistic light installations, Light Oscillation. Rosas ballet.
"Satellites are symbolic, visual stories. It is a fantasy."
Idea that goes behind the video is to tell the story of a passive person, surpassed by a life full of information. Story of a person that feels trapped in the world full of rushing news and images. Through satellites goes data. Drone and dancers are personifications of satellites. Main character is passive, apathetic. He awakes after an explosion on the sun. This explosion may bring the end of the world or end of the digital era. It may be a new beginning as well.
What was the most challenging part of making Satelity?
The logistics were tough. And the budget. For example I wanted to achieve a spinning movement of the camera, to correspond to the movement of the satellites and dancers. So we knew we had to have Adam Mendry, one of the busiest people in the industry, on board. Then Drones, which means Vadim. Then lasers. Then I wanted a huge screen for the projection of the galaxy and sun (approx 8x3m). Of course we needed the projection itself. Then cube with tulle for 3D mapping. We were experimenting with visuals, materials, which meant tests, which I did with Mikołaj Syguda, DOP.
Big thanks here goes to Tomasz from Tving Stage Design, responsible for both, galaxy and sun and all symbolic animations. He was very dedicated and did a great job. He listened to all my ideas and demands and made even more of it. We pushed him with DOP, Mikołaj Syguda to create a second sun for us, with even more details, in really short time. Big thanks goes to Mikołaj as well who always pushes me, in every project we do together, to get exactly what we believe is best for the project. Which sometimes makes us a pain in the ass for the production company, but I have to add that at the end everybody is happy and says it was worth the hard work, and what is most important it makes the difference for the final effect.
Every part was important in this project: set design, Czesiek with Waldek (Od Niechciana) another people committed to their work, Kas Kryst who sew costumes esp for the video in extremely short time and small budget, hair & make up team, Gosia Sulima, Kasia Biały; choreographer Kaya, and all dancers, Iwo, leading role. And the rest of the whole team.
Have you always had a passion for directing?
I always had passion for creating. First for stuff like creating an outer-space base on the tree in my grandparents garden etc. Then photography. Or creating images, situations, scenes that I photographed next. And sometime ago it evolved naturally to moving images. At first I was filming but I've got to the point that I understand I want to focus on directing, writing stories (lots of them are very symbolic and very visual) and working with actors.
How much has your style and your approach to your projects changed since your debut?
I think it is changing all the time. And I hope it will. I want to evolve all the time. I want to learn new stuff, new techniques. I want to feel the excitement of doing something new, something for the first time. Breaking out of my comfort zone. What will stay I guess is the sensitivity for the locations. Lots of my ideas come from concrete place, locations. It can be nature, it can be architecture. It can be futuristic or even old fashioned.
I always had quite a concrete vision of what I want to achieve in my projects. But now I listen more. I used to know everything best. Still, as a director, I have the last word but I chose my coworkers wisely and tried to leave them some space. I filter their ideas through myself and try to find best solutions this way. And I have a lot more fun from working, from the process of creating not only the result. The result is important but processes even more.
Do you have any advice for any up and coming writer/directors?
Go with your guts or intuition. Do what You believe in, even if somebody or everybody says that it makes no sense. But be open to listen to others, take what makes your ideas better, and then do it your way.
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
Generally I would like to live in the world full of people with open hearts and minds. And I would like to create images that inspire me to be this way.