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Music Visions: Collision Films

radioCollision Films studio, founded in Bristol in 2002 and specialised in music videos, is a young structure, yet has already been capable to produce a highly respectable number of works, working both for the biggest firms of the international recording industry (EMI, Virgin, Sony, BMG, Warner) and for independent labels searching for original video productions for their artists. This enormous amount of work is what is letting the two founders, Chris Hopewell and Ben Foley, feel that they reached a turning point, taking the paradoxical decision to reduce the intake of commissioned works, to search instead funding for a stop motion feature film entirely of their own. A path in some way opposed to the one many of their colleagues do, as they reach a stable commercial production after having proved their talent with uneconomic, independent productions.

franzIn six years of hard work, with the help of just a bunch of co-worker and external directors, the two partners managed to feature the studios creations with a distinctive note, halfway between the oneiric and the frightening, where even the brightest visions, tied to the most fascinating tunes, bring some underlying dark pitch. First and main ingredient in the creation of this visual imagination has been the use of the most diverse animation techniques, traditional and experimental as well; this brought fame and commissions to the studio, as it is perfectly fitting in the musical universe of some European or American independent rock. Chris Hopewell, especially, is a virtuoso of stop motion and puppet animation and he himself is the meeting point of British animation tradition (it is good noting that Aardman have their headquarter in Bristol) and middle European, and especially Prague, one.

zutThe first great success directed by Chris Hopewell, the multi awarded video for Radiohead's There There that paved the road for further, higher level, commissions, reveals the most rooted artistic references of the director, from the stop motion surrealism of Jan Švankmajer (to which there will be more and more direct references, like in Blonde Redhead: Equus or Young Knives: She's Attracted To), to the tricky atmospheres of the Quay brothers, to an early Tim Burton.

wildFoley is instead more tied to the western and local classics, from the Fleischer's to Yellow Submarine, yet he is able to create a complex and elaborate screenplay like the one of Soulsavers: Revival, with its continuous cross references between the character inner world and the surrounding reality. The topics of the journey (Franz Ferdinand: Eleanor, The Bees: Who Cares What the Question Is?, or the two connected videos for Persephone's Bees) and of the dark place are widespread in Collisions productions; from There There onwards, they have selected the animation as a primary instrument for their production, adopting it also for the casual commercials (being the immense effort for the animated wall art in Honda Acura ad the greatest evidence), but always trying to put the creating idea on top of everything, to prove once more that something born and prospering on commissions and business can express an original, personal and coherent artistic vision.



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