VONAVI – “Sunburst”

We meet them in the streets, the homeless people. The music video “Sunburst” tells the story of a man in the streets of New York City reflecting his life. It’s a poetic and engaging film that really connects to the music. The video is directed by Daniel Uribe and produced by Picture Farm. MusicVideoMania got the chance to interview Daniel:

Can you tell me a bit about the background for the story in the video?
I met VONAVI (Andrei Ivanov) a few years ago through Vimeo. We eventually became good friends, and an opportunity to collaborate occurred when he finished his first album and asked me if I would like to direct a music video for one of his songs. I listened to the full album and found “Sunburst”, which is a powerful, beautiful, cinematic track with so many textural sounds and sections merged to craft a story. The music video was inspired by a homeless man I encountered on the streets of New York City, who was begging for spare change with his eyes closed. While encountering homeless people is a daily occurrence in NYC, the image of this man having his eyes closed piqued my curiosity as to the memories, feelings and potential life story this man was observing in his head. These curiosities inspired the storyline of “Sunburst”.

How would you describe the purpose of the video?
The purpose was to craft a story around this homeless character and place the viewer in his shoes, portraying the emotional conflict and mental images that could potentially circulate in his mind. But I also wanted to simultaneously spark a message of hope, abstracting the definition of the title “Sunburst” and using it as a metaphor for hope and the beginning of a new day.

How was the collaboration between you and VONAVI (Andrei Ivanov)?
Since we are friends, we had an easy and close communication. Andrei had a lot of trust in me, which gave me great freedom in the process of making the video, with checkpoints along the way. Since there was no demand of having him on the video, I was able to focus on the story and create this film.

How was the production process? How long were the preparation and shooting days, what were your struggles, and so on?
The discussion between Andrei and I started a year and a half ago, but the production process lasted around three weeks. We scouted for several nights, did a casting call, and had our pre-production meetings. The shoot happened over a weekend, with one night on the streets, and a day at a house. The main obstacle we faced was the weather, as we were forced to reshoot the sunrise sequence due to a cloudy day. After that, we spent a couple weeks editing and finishing. This music video had a low-budget, and so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the group effort of the entire crew. I am extremely grateful to everyone who collaborated with me on this and to VONAVI for his trust.

I noticed there was a “behind-the-scenes video” for the music video “Ultralife” that you made for the group Oh Wonder. Are there plans to make one for “Sunburst”? What do you think about “behind-the-scenes videos”?
I wasn’t involved in the making of the “behind-the-scenes video” for the video “Ultralife”; it was produced by Oh Wonder’s management and shot by the talented Tim Toda. There was no possibility in doing one for “Sunburst”, as I was fully occupied with the video itself. Otherwise, I think “behind-the-scenes videos” are great, in order to see how the films are crafted and what the production environment is like, but they usually don’t show the difficult parts of the process, like decision-making.

How important do you think a video is for the artist in general?
I think they are very important. We live in a visual world and music videos are an extension of the artists, as a part of the artist’s brand. A music video explores the track further and sometimes can have a stronger impact on people when listening to a song that is accompanied by a film. Having said that, a music video is just one visual interpretation of a song, as every single person experiences a song in different ways in their imagination.

Are you involved in any new music video projects?
For the moment, there are no new music video projects planned. I am currently working on some personal short films. It would be nice to direct a music video in the upcoming months, but I want to do it for a track that I love. We’ll see what comes up…

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