Fractures - "It's Alright" | Directed by Matthew Chuang
We love the story of how this music video came to fruition. Director Matthew Chuang turned a rejected treatment into an opportunity. Read his story below:
From Matt: Certainly never been through a music video process like this one.
This was actually a rejected treatment for the band The Presets for their track ‘Goodbye Future’. The original song had a line [‘goodbye future’] which I thought was quite compelling and that’s where the concept of shooting in Chernobyl cast to me… a place that had a bright future that was tragically taken away. They did tell us we didn’t get it, no reason why. To be honest, it worked out better for us cause the track was just okay. I knew I had a great concept I wanted to make and a part of me was hoping they wouldn’t take it so I could do my own thing with it... just would have preferred not to have used my own money but in a lot of ways that worked out better.
I decided to shoot the concept anyway paying for it with my own money. Just myself and the actor, Hugh Marchant (who was a key collaborator through the entire process) travelled to Ukraine and the only other person with us during the shoot was our Chernobyl tour guide. I think it ended up costing AUS $6K. We had a Red Epic with three Zeiss Standard Speed primes with us, all fitting in two backpacks. All natural light since there was no power in Pripyat.
Our initial concerns were the radiation but it quickly changed when we heard on the news about the situation there… we were in Kiev during the Ukraine revolution and seeing what the Ukrainians were fighting through really shaped the way we approached our filming in Chernobyl. There were similar parallels but nothing I can specifically put my finger on.
After we had the footage we ended up doing an edit to a temp track and sent it to a record label contact who loved the footage and sent it out to a whole bunch of artists… we had tracks sent to us from artists who wanted to use the footage/concept but none of them quite fit… we’d re-edit the material to make sure but they didn’t quite work. Our temp track was Sigur Ros and we even managed to get it to their manager who liked it but we never heard anything back. We definitely were interested in another track that suited better but we were also thinking of other possibilities like possibly turning it into a short or maybe a art piece. It wasn’t till my friend Debra Liang put me in touch with Fractures did something come through… not the initial track but I looked up their other tracks and came across ‘It’s Alright’ and conceptually it captured everything we were hoping to say. Very different to what we were looking at previously. After another re-edit it simply felt right. Took us about 6 months from shooting to get to this point.
The music video turned out to be a better route cause it was quite abstract and being a music video it did allow it to be seen... I was hoping for Vimeo staff picks so there would be an audience and thankfully that came to fruition... what was a pleasant surprise was being a part of the music video competition at Camerimage. The experience of being a part of that festival and that group of filmmakers who were finalists really shaped my career.
I certainly always tell people who feel stagnant in their career to make something on their own that is more personal and true to themselves and their point of view. In my experience it’s necessary to find yourself again and to really give yourself a chance to push yourself to where you want to go and to grow as a filmmaker... You can really learn from that experience and to create your own opportunities. I’m only where I am today because of this clip and I had to go all the way to Chernobyl to do it. I’m grateful it turned out the way it did but I also took that chance where as most people might not have kept pushing once they got rejected.
Below is the original treatment I pitched as well as an article I did for Australian Cinematographer that goes into it further.
Article for Australian Cinematographer
Watch the final video here: