music videos directed by film directors


to give some details on shinee’s music video for “tell me what to do”: michael kim (@michaeldp81) produced it while film director / video artist kim woo je (@woojeda) directed it. kim woo je is linked to etui collection, and has directed other music videos such as: grace’s “i’m fine”, ha:tfelt’s “ain’t nobody”, love x stereo’s “we love we leave”, park jimin’s “hopeless love”. he also worked heavily with wonder girls’ in the past, being a webmaster for jyp.


On this day in music history: December 2, 1983 - “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” makes its television broadcast debut on MTV. Directed by John Landis (“National Lampoon’s Animal House”, “The Blues Brothers”), the nearly fourteen minute long short film based on the title track (written by songwriter Rod Temperton) to Michael Jackson’s blockbuster album becomes an immediate phenomenon. An homage to the classic horror film genre (particularly the Michael Landon film “I Was A Teenage Werewolf”, and director Landis’ “An American Werewolf In London”), the film stars Jackson with former Playboy model and actress Ola Ray. The films’ dance sequences are choreographed by MJ and famed choreographer Michael Peters (“Beat It”, “Running With The Night”), with make up and prosthetics designed by Oscar winning make up artist Rick Baker. Jackson’s signature red leather jacket is designed by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the wife of Thriller’s director. Filmed at a cost of $500,000, the clip takes the art of the music video to another level, becoming the most celebrated and honored in the medium. MTV pays $250,000 for the exclusive rights to air the video, with Showtime paying an additional $300,000 to air it exclusively on their network for a certain period. Its impact is immediately felt, sending the album back to number one over the Christmas holiday, spending another seventeen consecutive weeks at the top of the Top 200. The “Thriller” short film is also released on home video as part of a full length documentary titled “The Making Of Michael Jackson’s Thriller”.  Originally released by Vestron Video, “The Making Of” sets video sales records (selling a total of nine million copies overall) winning a Grammy Award for Best Video Album in 1985. “Thriller” is inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2009 for its ongoing cultural and historic significance, making it the first time a music video has received an honor normally reserved for feature length films.


can we talk about 360° videos for a sec? i’ve never used any vr gear / tech before so i’m not sure how that experience correlates with the one experienced here, were the viewer can manually adjust the image’s perspective in any given direction at any time, with no one perspective in particular being the supposed “pure” or “right” one to represent the “unaltered” video. i found that added ability i was given to be quite addicting and consistently surprising and possibly a little frustrating but undeniably enticing, and i’m really starting to wonder if we’re ever gonna get a feature film that utilizes this technique. many movies have already been shot from a pov perspective, but we’ve never seen any narrative longer than a music video give each individual viewer the power to be their own director in a way to any given project. the work and creativity required to seamlessly create and perfect this method to sustain an entire feature film is probably impossible, but i wouldn’t dismiss it if it became a reality. this tool gives the viewer the possibility to truly dissect the entire onscreen (virtual) world created for any given film. i get that “film” is technically at its roots a “series of still images,” but i don’t think i’m far off in thinking that this could at least be one of many potential tech innovations implemented in various forms of onscreen media: the ability for the viewer to not only see what the filmmaker / creator intends for you to see, but what they don’t intend for you to see, at least at first glance.



NOTABLE FILMS: Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network


The video, released in 1989, was directed by noted video director and later film director David Fincher. The video was groundbreaking at the time, featuring gruesome, realistic scenes that would be utilized in subsequent videos of the 1990s. The video made even more explicit the abovementioned references to incest; early in the video, the actor playing the father is shown exiting his daughter’s room, and cuts to a shot of the girl writhing in her bed, crying.

The Gift: Music That Inspired the Film

Friedrich Nietzsche said it well, Without music, life would be a mistake. As filmmakers, we understand that music can play an important role in cinematic storytelling. It can emphasize emotions and experiences, shed light on directorial choices, and add layers to the world within a film when rightfully used. Music can even further the careers of filmmakers. Directors such as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and David Fincher are a few of the directors featured in Filmmakers Directing Music Videos whose ventures in music videos are highlights in their directing careers. Music plays a key role in The Gift (watch trailer), as well. Not only does it further the film story, it also factored in the making of the film by creating the right atmosphere for the script and the edit. From Joy Division to The Kills, here are five songs that inspired The Gift. Enjoy.

Joy Division: “New Dawn Fades” from Unknown Pleasures

Foals: “Electric Bloom” from Antidotes

Interpol: “Untitled” from Turn on the Bright Lights

The Black Angels: “Manipulation” from Passover

The Kills: “Black Balloon” from Midnight Boom


Poster from 1999 play by underground writer / director David N. Donihue

Below is a collection of works and hard to find memorabilia taken from 20 years of Donihue’s writing and directing of poems, plays, films and music videos. Below is taken from a series of articles and a couple photos from Donihue’s own private collection.

Donihue was born in rural Eastern Washington and raised near the Green River Killer in Auburn, Washington. He started writing plays that were performed for 45 cents in his back yard and local parks when he was as young as seven. His first film was made when he was eleven, utilizing a rented video camera and two borrowed VCR’s with stereo cables. His father was a pastor. His mother, a well known Christian Devotional author. 

The controversial writer got his first negative reviews at the age of 15, when he was nearly expelled from his conservative town’s high school for writing the below story -

MR. CLOWN (1990, Age 15)

Mr. Clown was a happy clown.
He loved making children happy.
And they were happy and the parents were happy.
And everyone was happy.

Until Mr. Clown realized he could no longer please children.

They wanted to be transformers and deformers and things with no form whatsoever.
And so then the children were unhappy and the parents were unhappy.

Until Mr. Clown decided to blow himself up into many little pieces and then
the children were happy and the parents were happy and Mr. Clown never had to be sad again.

The End.

Donihue handled the rejection of his early art well yet refused to take another writing course again. It should be noted, he was later nominated for a Film Fare Award for his writing on Parzania, the highest honors in India and one of the largest international awards one can receive. The film, was an anti-religious violence piece.

By his mid teens, Donihue was writing feature length plays. During these years, Donihue began to work graveyard shifts at a local college radio station, KGRG-FM, as an overnight DJ.

There, he became obsessed with experimental music and film, and directed a series of student films. These included Anthony’s Apocalypse and Inside Anthony’s World. During this era, at age 18, he wrote Hold My Hand & Tell Me I’m Not Insane, a comedy-drama about a young playwright whose scripts follow his life, yet later dictate it. The play was produced in Seattle with its premiere at the Scottish Rite Hall on Capitol Hill.

During his early twenties, Donihue wrote, directed, acted in and produced a string of independent plays within the northwest including Hey Baby Do Ya Wanna Come Back To My Place and Justify My Existence, and another pop psychology comedy Brain Aches And The Quest For Redemption Of A Telephone Psychic as well as the forty-minute short film Love Me Tender, Pay Me Well.

In 1998 Donihue began performing under the stage name Punko and released an indie album titled The Day Bob Went Electric. The comedicly performed yet earnest album garnered regional radio and Donihue continued to perform the sad and sweet parody like tunes until his final show at sxsw in 2007.


projections (1997)
you expect me to become what you project

my eyes are drifting to the clouds once again

I see the colorless planet and am ashamed

I see the vibrant vivid crashing rain

crashing down with sincerity

why does it take pain to 

transcend us a bit of honesty 

in this day and age

and all of my daydreams come crashing in

singing dum dee da lum dum dum dee lumm dum

and all of your projections threaten to transend

screaming dum de da lum dumand 

all of my daydreams function once again
run in the sunshinelike 

your drift in the daydream light

like that colorless drifting look in your eyes

I’m still the same no matter what you bring to my life

I’m still the same I can drift inside

on account (1997)
on account that your strung out and

there’s no doubt I lost my mind

I’m a tripper & a spinner & I’m stuck on overdrive

I’m a preacher and a seeker 

like watching Jimmy kiss the sky

And all about that day & how you sat me down 

& changed my life

There’s no reason to be seasoned 

if you’ve seen the world flash by

Look at what’s going on

Yet they are strong

He’s my brother like a summer like a daydream whitworth time

He’s a prisoner and I miss him wonder who he’ll be next time

He’s a liver & a giver & I’m sorta trapped inside

Look at what’s going on

Yet they are strong

I’ve seen all the young idealist turn into what they despise

I’ve seen all my daydreams take me right on through this daylight life

I’ve seen people try to heal me just so they could feel alive

Donihue during this era directed the little seen feature The Humanity Experiment.

In 2005, Donihue wrote and produced the first “non-trippy” film of his career, Parzania. It was directed by Rahul Dholakia.

The internationally acclaimed feature was nominated for the eastern hemispheres Oscars, the film fare award for Best Picture and Best Screenplay and Best Story. Leads Sarkia and Naseeruddin took home Best Actor Nominations. The film is considered by many accounts, to be one of the most controversial films in the eastern hemisphere.[8]

The English language thriller, based on the true story of the Gujarat Riots of 2002, was initially banned in India, caused a storm of protests and bomb threats, and later garnered praise from the New York Times, Variety, Indiewire and many others.[9] It was shown in New York as part of the Museum of Modern Arts’ India Now film exhibition.[10] Donihue was nominated for Filmfare Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Story for Parzania. The film won the Screen Gem Award for Best Picture.

While at the same time, he was developing something revolutionary -

In 2010 Donihue’s epic four and a half hour interactive choose your own adventure film The Weathered Underground was released by Indican starring Heroes Brea Grant. The comic book inspired picture went on to become a small cult classic and is now shown as part of curriculum at many of the worlds best film schools. Considered one of the most daring voices to come out of the independent underground film scene, 

in 2014 Donihue directed another socially driven action comedy, The Bang Brokers, which is currently headed for distribution.

Mr. Donihue’s love for music driven short films continues, having recently directed over 30 music videos / short films in the last two years for EDM acts such as Moguai, Mark Sixma, Thomas Gold and EDM legend John Dahlback.

Below is a collection of poems and stills from the music videos from the last two years.

Keep reading


One of the most interesting announcements out of this year’s Cannes is Together Now, an upcoming collection of seven short films directed by and starring women. A series of huge names are already on board to direct.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robin Wright is set to direct a short, as is Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight, Patricia Riggen, who made Chilean mining drama The 33, Melina Matsoukas, who directed the music video for Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Kátia Lund, who co-directed City of God, as well as Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska and Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour. Juliette Binoche and Freida Pinto will both star in shorts. Together, the seven films will make up a feature-length movie.

Together Now is the first film from the non-profit production company We Do It Together, which was founded to finance films, documentaries, and TV shows focused on empowering women. The film industry — not just in Hollywood, but globally — has done a horrible job of putting women at the head of movies, so a project like this is both exciting and important. “We believe that we can create a movement, with women and men, with actions behind words, that will change the utterly outdated and discriminatory paradigm that we see in media, and its marginalization of women worldwide,” We Do It Together writes on its website. [x]

No Girls Allowed

During lunch on a music video shoot, the Producer and Director asked me and three other crew members where we see ourselves in the future. The other two girls were into Art Direction and the guy wanted to be a Director. I was the youngest, and hired for my editing and videography skills.  When I said I wanted to be a Cinematographer, they both smiled at each other and and said, “That’s a boys club, sweetheart.”

Arcade Fire Seeks More Than a Rockumentary With ‘The Reflektor Tapes’

“No matter how much I love a band,” Win Butler said, “I still find concert films a little boring.”

So when Mr. Butler, the frontman and co-founder of Arcade Fire, decided that his group was going to make a documentary about the recording and touring of its 2013 album, “Reflektor,” he wanted to find an unconventional approach. The record, which marries Caribbean rhythms to a new wave-dance music feel, represented a new direction for the Montreal rock band, whose previous release, “The Suburbs” (2010), had won the Grammy for album of the year.

The band turned to Kahlil Joseph, a first-time feature director best known for his striking, abstract videos for adventurous pop stars like the rapper Kendrick Lamar, the British avant-R&B singer FKA twigs, and the electronic artist Flying Lotus — clips that create mood and texture, rather than simply illustrate song lyrics or add dance sequences. Mr. Joseph’s work has also been part of a group show curated by Kara Walker at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, while his installation “Double Conscience” recently showed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

“I was curious that they saw me fitting into their current evolution,” Mr. Joseph said in an email. “I was really impressed when I saw them perform live and realized this was totally a new process with new boundaries, and I wanted to see where the journey was going to lead.”

The resulting film, “The Reflektor Tapes,” is an impressionistic voyage through the album’s creation, with nonlinear jumps in time from Arcade Fire’s preliminary writing sessions in Jamaica in 2012 through arena shows in London and Los Angeles in 2014. Dialogue is sparse — occasional aphorisms like “People have false expectations about what love is” or “You have to combine with a new force to make a new kind of wave” float by in voice-over — and long stretches go by without the band appearing on screen.

“It might be frustrating for a fan,” Mr. Butler acknowledged, “but it feels like a truer version of getting a window into how the band works.” (The documentary will be shown first on Sept. 12 at the Toronto International Film Festival, before opening in theaters on Sept. 23.)

Over lunch in the restaurant of the Ace Hotel in Manhattan, he was soft-spoken and personable, laughing admiringly at the eccentricities of his new part-time hometown, New Orleans. He was as low-key as a 6-foot-4 rock star, wearing a gaucho-style flat-brim hat, could hope to be. He explained that the movie project wasn’t planned when the album process started but evolved as the sound and aesthetic of “Reflektor” came into focus.

In Jamaica, the band members started working in a castle, filming themselves because the location was so distinctive. They kept shooting, with no determined plan, as they continued recording in Montreal and New York, though it required some delicate negotiation. Mr. Butler cited the disastrous results of “Let It Be,” the Beatles’ 1970 movie of the band members recording an album, which essentially sealed their breakup. “They made that mistake so we don’t have to,” he said. For minimal intrusion, the group’s recording engineer ran the camera for the behind-the-scenes material.

When the album was finished, they booked some club dates under the name “The Reflektors,” including a performance at an old disco called Salsatheque in Montreal; they asked Mr. Joseph to document it.

“It kind of felt like we were a new band,” Mr. Butler said. “Starting in clubs and working our way up, burning it down and building the house back up again.”

After discussing the idea of working on a music video with Mr. Joseph, the band decided to turn the footage into an actual film while planning a concert in Haiti during Carnival. They had long wanted to shoot in Haiti — the Arcade Fire singer and multi-instrumentalist Régine Chassagne, Mr. Butler’s wife, was born to Haitian parents, and Mr. Butler described his first trip to Carnival as “life-changing.” (In 2010, they had planned to film there with the director Jonathan Demme, but a few days before their departure, the country was ravaged by an earthquake.)

“If we were going to do it, this was the time to pull it together,” Mr. Butler said. “But to commit to filming in Haiti meant that we had to make a film, because it’s logistically really complicated. We’re definitely not going to recoup what it cost to get everyone there.”

Everything was then turned over to Mr. Joseph, who is based in Los Angeles and who has worked with the visionary, enigmatic director Terrence Malick. “We wanted to see what Kahlil would do with the form,” Mr. Butler said, “because rock documentaries are pretty formulaic, and I knew that was not what he was going to do. His process is the closest I’ve seen to the process of making a record — trying to get this little spark of chemistry between players, and then everything gets built around that.”

According to Mr. Joseph, his ambition for “The Reflektor Tapes” was “for it to be a new kind of music film and not just a film about music.”

A recent boom in music documentaries has produced the Oscar winners “Searching for Sugar Man” and “Twenty Feet From Stardom” and this year’s acclaimed “Amy” and “What Happened, Miss Simone?” With “The Reflektor Tapes,” Arcade Fire is attempting something more experimental and kaleidoscopic. Mr. Butler, though, pointed to some of his favorite bands — the Clash, the Rolling Stones — and said that his own sense of their greatness had come from a collage of clips and videos over the years, from accumulated fragments rather than any single, definitive document.

“I feel like this film really isn’t for me,” he said. “I would be suspicious if I wanted to watch a film about myself. But I think watching it in 15 or 20 years will be really interesting.”

Win Butler’s Favorite Rock Documentaries

“Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” 2002 “I got really into Motown music in my early 20s, and you wonder, how did this many perfect songs come from this one place? So I loved learning about these [background] musicians that no one ever heard of.”

“Stop Making Sense,” 1984 “As concert films go, it’s pretty perfect. A band like us could only exist because a band like Talking Heads existed.”

“Sympathy for the Devil,” 1968 “Everyone pulls out the recording [of the Rolling Stones song] “Sympathy [for the Devil],” but [in] the rest of the film Godard, [the director Jean-Luc Godard] got really out there, way more out there than we got with this film.”

“Marley,” 2012 “I just really liked seeing old footage of someone you know that well [Bob Marley], someone that famous and influential where you really haven’t seen a lot of their home movies and stuff.”

“Dont Look Back,” 1967 “That was the first thing I saw that was a fly on the wall at a historic event [Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England] — you always see the event itself, but this went backstage, and it’s really boring or something weird happens, and you felt the dead time in between and the sense of atmosphere.”

Calum - i’m sorry

imagine cal is still touring with the band and you’re a director/photographer, and obviously your always directing or doing photographing in a different part of the world he is, but 5sos needs a director for their new music video and calum convinces the band to choose you, the boys reluctant, not that they don’t like you but because they’re afraid that you two will be cuddling all day, but once you step onto set for you its business, and you greet the guys and you obviously joke around but you’re not giving calum extra attention. During filming hours he’s just another musician, and he’s pouty all day but once filming is over for the day you will give him the attention he wants. After a few days you filmed everything and you showed the boys the final product and they’re all so happy with the way it turned out, and they’re all jumping excitedly giving you a group hug and they all want to take you out to celebrate but you have to break it to them that you have to catch a flight because you have to go direct a shoot, and they all get sad but are understanding but calum. He gets pouty and mad that you never told him you had to leave, and you try to explain to him that he never gave you a chance, and our couldn’t exactly tell him during film hours. So you leave to the airport with him angry and pouting in the hotel room, and you hop onto the plane saying bye to other boys, and you text calum I love you, but obviously never got a response back. A week later goes by and calum still hasn’t talked to you, and the boys are watching the news while calums still pouting in his bed. But a segment goes up on how there was a shooting on a set, only one was killed, and that one happened to be you, and the boys stopped and just stared at the tv in disbelief, and get calum tears all running down their faces, and at the funeral calum whispering the words I’m sorry and I love you over and over again

–posting part 2 tomorrow!



NOTABLE FILMS: Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas


Directed by Scorsese, the full music video for “Bad” is an 18-minute short film written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price. The video has many references to the 1961 film West Side Story - especially the “Cool” sequence. Not only does it show a street gang dancing in an urban setting, but there are also some parts of the choreography that were influenced. Choreographer Jeffrey Daniel commented, “It’s like a train coming across the screen […] and that’s the effect I was looking for and it worked”.

In the video, Jackson plays a high school student named Daryl. Daryl arrives to find his house empty , but is greeted by his old friends, led by Mini Max (Wesley Snipes) and spends an evening with them. At first relations are friendly but the situation deteriorates once the rest of the gang realize how much Daryl has changed and how uncomfortable he has become with their tendencies towards petty crime. In an attempt to show his friends he is still “bad”, Daryl takes the gang to a subway station - The Hoyt Schermerhorn Station in Brooklyn - where he attempts to mug an elderly man but changes his mind last minute. Mini Max berates Daryl and tells him  he’s no longer bad. After abuse from Mini Max, the video jumps from black & white to color and Daryl, now dressed head to foot in black leather and joined by a crowd of dancing punks, sings “Bad”. After they leave, the scene shifts back to black & white as Daryl, alone and back in his tracksuit, watches them leave.

The music video received one nomination at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards Ceremony. The video, alongside Jackson’s ’“The Way You Make Me Feel” video, was nominated for Best Choreography, but lost to Jackson’s younger sister Janet’s video “Pleasure Principle”.