Echoing the mix of traditional and modern elements which intertwine in Chinese artist Guzz’s music, Walking in a Boundless Dream from Matt Moraz employs a handmade aesthetic, 16mm film and a considered patience not possible in the director’s advertising work. DN asked Moroz to tell us how he harnessed the hues of magic hour and different dance styles for this music video love letter to Yangon, Myanmar.
When Guzz wrote to me to collaborate on this music video I had been living in Yangon, Myanmar for two years developing a feature film based on a true story there. I started shooting scenes in Myanmar on 16mm to show a different side of the country. Most of the photographs and videos you see from Myanmar are from tourists or political content. I wanted to make a film that shows a more realistic and personal side of the country. I started shooting short films with my favorite dancer in Yangon, Yoe Yo and showed them to Guzz. I thought the music fit perfectly with what I had been shooting and that got us started on the project.
I wanted to make a film that shows a more realistic and personal side of the country.
My goal is to show people and voices onscreen you don’t normally see in a way you haven’t seen them, so I hope this shows a new side of Yangon and Myanmar. The shoot was extensive, almost 15 days shooting only at magic hour on an Aaton LTR with a Zeiss 10-100mm T3 lens on a Stedicam. Many days I went out for just a single shot at the right time of day, shooting with just my local producer May Thu Khin and a few friends.
I also work in advertising and I wanted to shoot something I never could in commercials. I wanted it to be more rough and handmade, not overly polished – it’s deliberately raw and grainy. I underexposed most of the scenes and choose to crop it widescreen so that also lowered the resolution and increased the grain and noise. Another part of working in advertising is the schedule is always very tight. You can never spend a day on a single shot – so for this, I wanted to spend more time than I could ever spend on a project previously. Also, my love of film from the 80s and 90s definitely informed the visuals.
Walking in a Boundless Dream is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.