It seems we never have to wait too long for a new project from New York Director Parker Hill to make an appearance online, with 2018 seeming to be a particularly prolific year for the filmmaker (as you can see in our archives). Her latest project Autumn, a music video created for indie rock five-piece No Kind of Rider’s, sees frontman Sam Alexander embark on an enchantingly crafted twilight journey of remembrance. I caught up with Parker to learn about its creation and how she manages to remain so consistently productive as a filmmaker.
Where did the idea for the Autumn come from? Were there any stipulations from the band with regards to the concept or the tone of the film?
When I first heard Autumn, I immediately felt the song’s sense of the complexity of loss and the possibility of renewal. We wanted the video to reflect that time someone experiences before they even let themselves begin grieving. The idea started to take form from where the band No Kind of Rider is based, Portland, Oregon. The band presented the concept of having Sam (the lead singer) drive from the city to the coast. I loved this because I knew the vast and almost eerie pacific northwest setting would help communicate so much of the story we wanted to tell.
We crafted the video to be about Sam’s (lead singer) journey of saying goodbye to a loved one, as he returns to a familiar place, alone for the first time. Shooting on the foggy roads leading out to the coast, flanked by looming pine trees, and having a cathartic release as he arrives at the monumental Cannon Beach, the sheer magnitude of nature that Sam is set against only further reveals the size of his loss.
The video is suffused with the blue shades of twilight which add to its unreal tone. Could you tell us more about working to capture those low light scenes and how you lit the film?
I love color, it’s such a big part of my work at the moment, and I’m fascinated by how you can communicate a feeling through it. For this video I wanted to show part of Sam’s emotional progression through color, so we carefully scheduled the shoot around the perfect times of day to capture twilight. I worked with my Cinematographer Jomo Fray closely on this, so we were able to utilize as much natural light as possible.
Keeping the crew and equipment very small, we were able to move around quite quickly. Jomo has an excellent eye for low light, especially working digitally, he’s able to keep the image dark yet incredibly complex, which I love. With the exception of the flare scene, we were able to shoot the video with entirely natural light, and shot in 2 days. I spent a lot of time scouting and photo boarding in prep, so on set we knew exactly where we wanted to shoot and what the shots were.
Online premieres are just like festivals, they require time and attention.
It seems that you’ve been on somewhat of a prolific tear as of late, putting out a new film each month. How do you ensure that you remain consistently productive as a filmmaker?
Honestly, the past few months have been a combination of carefully planning an online ‘roll out’ of most of my work while making some new projects. Some of my films that I’ve just released have been in the vault for various festival reasons. Once I knew I wanted to release everything, I spent a lot of time reaching out to online outlets and trying to maximize viewers as I put my projects online. Online premieres are just like festivals, they require time and attention.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
I’m currently in post on a short doc I just wrapped about a group of friends in a small town in Texas, co-directed with my friend Isabel Bethencourt. Hopefully, we’ll be able to release a teaser in the next month or two.