Artist Spotlight: Fedor Prunkov

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Saturday, November 5, 2022

What comes first when making a music video — the music or the story? If you’re working for a client who has a song, the decision is easy. But if you’re making a fan-made music video or an unofficial music video, the choice is not as simple. Maybe a narrative comes to you when you hear a specific song, or maybe you develop a story and then find the music that fits it best.

Most of the time, it’s all of these. Just ask Fedor Prunkov, a filmmaker from southern Spain who lives and works in Bali. Fedor submitted two videos in the TikiKiti International Film Festival (#tkiff) this year, and you’ll see how he used the different methods. And in his work with the production label Joyful Noise Recordings, for whom he produced a video for “Manchester,” by Kishi Bashi, he demonstrates how a film producer must be flexible. (See all videos at the bottom of this article.)

Alex Varona in "Liquid Code."

In this year’s TKIFF, his videos include “Liquid Code” by Louis & Clark, and “She” by The Blaze. For the Louis & Clark song, he collaborated with Alex Varona, a martial arts instructor in Spain whom he met while doing Jiu Jitsu. Together they developed the idea for the narrative, and the choice of music came to Fedor during this process. Realizing how visually fluid Jiu Jitsu is, he choreographed the fight scene as if it were a dance. In fact, we see how Varona’s character easily breaks into dancing throughout the video, including one dark scene where his dance is a warmup to the action to follow — the fight scene. With headphones in his ears, Varona transforms into the fighter that he is — never the antagonist; always the protagonist. This is a vital tenement of all martial arts — never start a fight. Just be ready to finish it.

In this video, the narrative is upfront and draws the viewer into the action. The music helps the story flow, building to a crescendo and easing back when necessary. Cutting back to Varona moving in his apartment, we wonder if this is really a dance or part of a Jiu Jitsu routine; the two seem to be inseparable. This type of editing helps the viewer understand the nature of the martial art form and the character. Fedor understands perfectly how to make this work.

Luke Stones & Liv Lövig in "She."

In the other TKIFF submission, Fedor brings us “She” by The Blaze. Here, he said, the music inspired the visuals. The song has a melancholy feel to it and pointed him to create a sad story about a lost love. He writes about this in the description that accompanies the video: 

"They [the band] have really helped me in tougher times in my life when I was lost and felt like there’s nothing I could change, and in happy moments when I was grateful for being alive. When I drive down an empty road at 3 a.m., when I’m alone on the top of the mountain, or when I just sit down to write a script, I just turn on their music as loud as I can. Not to mention their combination of music and visual storytelling work is indescribable. It's not just music, it’s Art. It’s something you have to feel, a whole rollercoaster of emotions."

Fedor’s personal connection to the music guided him in writing the story of this video. Again, his sense of how to use dance helped him create a flow from one scene to the next. Early in the production, we see the car move around as if it were dancing. This segues into both characters actually dancing. As with all of his work, Fedor saves the close-up for the most revealing parts of his character development. Here we see that the love between them is deep and meaningful, but there also seems to be some apprehension — a sense of loss. The actors Luke Stones and Liv Lövig perform their parts flawlessly.

The temperament of the video changes when we see Luke dancing by himself with a bottle of beer. This is when we realize the scenes of the two together are a sad memory. This becomes obvious as Luke cries while lying in a puddle. As the video ends, we now know everything was just a memory. Everything….

This brings us to the final type of video development, where you have a client wanting a video to accompany a specific song. Although this would seem to be much like when you have a song in mind and create a narrative based on it, it’s different because now you’re working to please someone else. The client needs to be involved.

"Manchester" cast & crew in Bali.

In “Manchester” by Kishi Bashi, the song helps provide the narrative. The love story is being written out as we watch it happen on a beautiful beach set in Bali. As our main character continues to write his novel, the video story follows along. It is here that we see some very intimate scenes in the water. Fedor says that working in water was some of the most difficult work he has done. As this writer can attest, protection of your equipment is always in the back of your mind — along with getting the perfect shot. Something he manages here, and beautifully so.

As the song ends, we realize it was a story about a fleeting love found during a vacation. This melancholy narrative is evident in all three of Fedor’s videos, but they are not sad. His talent with the camera and in the editing room shows there is a master’s touch. As a 20-year-old filmmaker, he has already come to understand how transitory these brief encounters are in life. And also, how integral they are in who we become. 

Fedor has translated this understanding into stunning video production that leaves the viewer with a range of emotions that ensure we will never forget his work. We look forward to his next offerings, waiting for him to pull on our emotional strings.

Article edited by Rosemary Camozzi

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