While you’re devouring heaping helpings of awesome indy films at this year’s Maryland Film Fest (check out our picks for the fest HERE), drop by the Metro Gallery on Saturday to cleanse the palette with a selection of short films by local autuers. Videopolis shows chosen works for free in a non-competitive event. Held across the street from the Charles Theater during the Maryland Film Festival, we hope to feature work that doesn’t make more traditional festival formats. Videopolis hopes to juxtapose various forms of film and video, along with other mediums that comment upon or investigate the moving image, together in a relaxed environment for the enjoyment of artists, festival-goers and random passers-by.

This year, we caught up with one of the film makers, music video director Brian Morrison.
Morrison is best known for his work with local bands like Lazerbitch, Alice Anna and the hip-hop duo Claire Hux (both of the those will have videos at the event),
Morrison gave a peek into his life as a local music video director.

Gutter: Tell us about your start as a film maker. Is it true you started
with Lazerbitch’s Coquette?
Brian Morrison: Lazerbitch’s “Coquette” was my first real attempt at producing a music video and the first time I used a film crew, but I started in the realm of cheesy Baltimore area TV commercials. My first major creative endeavor was wearing about a dozen or so different hats in the production of a full length 73 minute feature length movie, One Down. Although the goals and expectations from that movie were not met, it really taught me a lot about the filmmaking technique and how much work, money and thought go into every aspect of production.

G: Obvious question alert! Can you give us some of your influences?
Which directors, both video and film, do you look at for inspiration?

BM: Haha, sure. Spike Jonze is really at the forefront of what made me excited and inspired to produce music videos. I love movies that cross genre conventions… Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is my all time favorite, for now. I love the atmosphere of Wong Kar Wai films and how David Cronenberg movies jar the shit out of you. John Carpenter movies with Kurt Russell are really high on my list at the moment too.

G: Any thoughts of branching out into feature?

BM: Yes, it’s a certainty… I am really looking forward to taking another crack at it under a more level playing field. Music videos have definitely skewed my sensibility a bit and probably made me more astute behind the lens. I have a couple treatments that I wrote last year that I would like to break out and develop a bit more this summer.

G: How much does Bmore contribute to your work,
location/inspiration wise I mean?

BM: Baltimore is so much in my work, absolutely indefensible! On location shooting is so key when you are working on super low budges and trying to stretch it visually as far as you can go. Dressing a set, lighting a stage are things that involve pre-production costs and they require tons of creative supervision. Baltimore is beautiful now. It has history and character. How can you compete with that?

G: How long have you studied filmmaking?

BM: Wanting to learn about special effects about ten years ago is when I really started. I love looking at films from a psychological standpoint, but the magic and spectacle that VFX brought to movies like Star Wars really got me hooked.

G: As a director, can you describe the atmosphere on a shoot? Are you the controlling type? Laid back? is there much improvisation?

BM: I think most of my shoots are fun and upbeat, not for me though. I usually have mulled and labored too many hours in pre-production and by the time I get to the shoot I have a pretty good idea of what will work and what won’t. Improvisation for me as a director happens a lot… for the past few videos I even stopped storyboarding.

G: how long does the average music vid take to edit? Do you edit? Or is there a team that you over see?

BM: Right now the average length is about two weeks to a month. That is mostly because I am a one man band (produce, shoot, direct, edit, VFX and color) and I try and allocate time for some breaks to keep from being to subjective. That’s really tough and I have some great friends that help me with feedback.

G: Who is your dream band to work with?

BM: Radiohead. Their music always makes my mind wander.

G: Next up? Can you tell us about upcoming projects?

BM: Nothing right yet in terms of music videos. But I am kind of looking
forward to a break so I can get back into working on some of my feature treatments… the Sci-Fi, Romance one I hope!

Here’s the rundown for Videopolis. Be sure to swing by.

Join us for an evening up music videos and a panelist discussion at Metro Gallery during our 4th annual Videopolis Film Festival!!

Music Videos
Mark Brown – Teengirl Fantasy “Dancing in Slow Motion”
Ami Dang “Where Nothing Grows”
Owen Lang – Mickey Free “Dollar Bill”
Wye Oak “Fish”
Brian Morrison – Alice Anna “standing in the Rain”
Claire Hux “Grab On”
Miranda Pfeiffer – Celebration “Honey Suckle Blue”
Soft Cat “It Won’t Be Long”

Panelist Discussion
A look into the changing face of music videos being made in Baltimore and everywhere. This panelist discussion features Mark Brown, Owen Lang, Brian Morrison and Miranda Pfeiffer, and is moderated by Guy Werner.

Videos & Cocktails